This is the third year for this particular stage. Last year, I put a suspension fork on for the day. The very first year, I flatted on the third enduro segment (of five) and had to run the rest of the way down to the bottom. Spent the rest of the day on a tubed 25psi+ front tire on a rigid fork. Decision made easy for me this year.
mostly because I became aware of all these things as the day progressed. I did take a fair amount of shit from some of my fellow single speeders for swapping bikes, but I wasn't alone in my decision to swap or modify my bike selection for one day of downhill-oriented racing action. Besides, I was gonna have fun riding the some of the best gnar gnar of the week on a bike that was built for it... and if you divide 150mm of travel over seven days you get 21.4mm of suspension a day average. Whatever. Guess I don't have to justify my decision. Like Jon Bon Jovi said, "it's my life," although we all woulda been better off without that song ever existing.
So, show up for enduro day and head up the hill with all the other single speeders... aside from Bill Nye, Chris and Karen who are doing things in their own particular.... hmmmmm... idiom.
photo cred: Trans-Sylvania Epic media teamWe filter ourselves into the first segment in some kinda self-regulating order, I get down to the particularly rocky and no longer downhill part, start catching Maggs and Shoogs... and it's over. Safe.
Enduro segment #2. I can't even remember it at this point. I get down... safe.
Aid station. I panic a little. Rain drops are randomly falling. If my glasses get wet or the sun starts hiding, I'm screwed. I leave the other single speeders and head to the next descent alone.
Enduro segment #3. A rip shit descent with plenty of speed. My rear brake issue is now becoming evident. Heated brakes and air bubbles... lever coming back to the bar. Shoulda fixed that. Yeah. Still make it to the bottom. Safe.
Aid station. Pizza. Not skipping that for nothing.
Enduro segment #4. Wildcat Gap. The one I always remember. I put my fork in Pedal mode for the slower and way bigger hits. All I can remember is big rocks and steep chutes. I get to the bottom, which is before the Chunder Pocket this year, happy... safe.
final segment. Must not be too bad, I guess. Trbl guess.
I jump in before Russell. Fork in full Open mode. I quickly regret that decision. The big hits start coming. Way more rocks than I ever remembered. Scree fields and rocks slides and death. Eeeegads. I get into a chundery section and my line choice is bad. I get knocked to the far left, the downslope side. The fork compresses hard, I stall, the fork comes back up, and I teeter sideways. I fall down the side of the hill and land in a pile of rocks because there is nothing else softer available.
I see it coming... slow mo. My hip headed for a rock the size of a four slice toaster. I hit... and wow.
It's a new pain for me. Not a dull thud wah wah pain. Sharp. Edgy. I get up, and my first thought is to sit back down. Since I'm mostly accustomed to "owww, I better get back on the bike before this gets stiff" pains, I twist my brake lever back in place and decide to get to the bottom and figure things out there. Russell comes along, and I wave him on. My problem, not someone else's right now.
I ride the rest of the way down. Sharp pains on the top of my hip near the middle of my back. It feels like my skin is being scraped against a sharp object from the inside.
Jesus. This descent is way longer than I don't remember. I get to the bottom, soft pedal back to the parking lot, start hunting for ice... steal a baggie, steal some ice, start the sads.
I really don't want to talk to people. I'm in a kind of pain I don't understand. Thom comes over to interview me. I decline and we talk like normal people about my situation.
photo cred: Trans-Sylvania Epic media teamWe've been friends quite awhile. He feels my sads. Nobody likes sad Dicky.
I can skip over the next stuff pretty quickly. Back to Eagle Lodge, lots of ice, time on my back, hard times doing normal things, just getting in and out of bed is interesting to say the least. I go over for the nightly podiums, thinking I'd still be on the GC. I cry outside the dining hall by myself. Apparently, this race means a lot to me. I've quit races over the past many years because I chose to do so. Boredom, avoiding aggravating my back, beer... whatever. This doesn't feel like it's going to be up to me.
Fall asleep in the back waiting for the awards. Get woken up by my little friends trying to cheer me up.
I wake up, and I can't get out of bed like a normal person. I have to pull myself up with the rails of the bunk above me, lift my legs and set them on the floor, hobble to the bathroom. I'm pathetic. I got my bike ready to race the night before, but I can barely walk. Just trying to take a shit hurt. I fail at that. I'm out.
I head over to watch the start. More crying. Apologies to Selene and Jeff and Shoogs and whoever else who asked me how I was doing and was answered with sobs and sads. The race takes off, and I look around to find out how to get to a doctor.
What follows is boring. Rich Straub's mom (Vivian) takes me to the doctor. She was wonderful. The doctor orders x-rays, looks at them, more x-rays, tells me I have either "something fractured something sacrum" or "something stressed something..."
I can't recall. The only thing I wanted to hear was that I didn't break my hip, and that's what I heard. Unless I got an MRI, that was all there is to know. Even if it turns out to be either thing, the only option is rest and medicate and wait.
So Chainsaw Don scoops me up. Fish tacos. Beer.
photo cred: Chainsaw DonPick up my prescriptions. And more beer.
I guess I should add this... I don't usually go to the doctor. I assume things will work out. That said, ever since I did that bad thing to my ankle a few years ago, ignored it, had my leg turn black and blue (and green and yellow) all the way up to my knee, suffered with ankle pain for... I don't even know. More than a year? Two? And now I have some lumpy bits that don't like being touched? I decided that if I ever felt that bad again, I was going to go ahead and use my health insurance and not be a dumb ass. I have no regrets about seeing a doctor and getting x-rays this time, and I won't the next time either (although I'd rather avoid this situation altogether).
The rest tomorrow.