Things are going well. I was able to eat some solid food yesterday. I have to make everything small bites, but our turkey will not have to be juiced and that’s awesome.
Some random thoughts for the day:
I don’t know how else to get in touch with those folks who lent a helping hand picking pieces of me up off the ground following the finish of the race this past week. It’s truly an amazing community – husbands, wives, racers, officials, kids… I was a bit out of it, but I recall countless folks being involved. I am mostly okay (gory details at http://www.iammike.org/2015/11/23/all-i-want-for-christmas/) and am thankful from the bottom of my heart to those folks who came to my aid. I’ve yet to hear from the fellow who tried to occupy my space, but from asking and snooping around it sounds like he’s doing pretty well too.
I didn’t get a chance to climb the podium this weekend (I won the race) so I’d like to use this opportunity at the metaphorical one to remind everyone that we are amateurs; we all have regular lives to return to when the racing is done and fun is the ENTIRE name of the game. If you’re like me, you race for fractions of a penny on the dollar (my ratio went way down after this weekend). Knowing when to back off is a lesson I luckily learned early in my racing career and without involving anyone else (broken wrist trying to force room where there wasn’t any). It’s an invaluable one and one that doesn’t require trip to the ER to learn. Please, please, please ride safely out there.
Without further ado, TWO pictures for your viewing pleasure. One is the daily (sorry about the ooze – we’re doing a wet healing here) and the other is my tooth X-ray. Kind of difficult to see the full effect of the damage from the X-ray, but that is how my teeth look from the front. On the backside, the fracture goes all the way to the gum line.
Yesterday was rough. It’s really hard to sleep sitting up and when your face feels like it was hit by a grenade. Between dozing off doing regular things and trying to get a full day’s work in, we managed to get out to the dentist and a couple of stores. I contemplated riding the trainer, but thought better of it as the stitches still felt pretty fresh.
The dental news was about as good as it could get. My teeth broke “perfectly” and it doesn’t appear the nerves were affected at all. A [large] filling on each should do the trick. No onlays, no implants, just some porcelain. One possibility, however, is that the teeth die. It’s unlikely, but possible. That’d be a bummer because it’d mean a much more serious repair. Currently waiting for the swelling and pain to abate before tackling this so it’ll be a few weeks with these busted chops.
At the store we bought ALL THINGS LIQUID. Soups, puddings, and fancy juices galore. Was good to get out and feel the fresh autumn air on my face despite the feeling that everyone was doing a double-take when they saw me.
Last night I was able to get more or less a full night’s sleep and today my swelling has reduced a ton. I’m even able to use a straw pretty properly (it was previously an air-bubble filled slurp more than anything else)! I was already able to chew very small pieces of food and today’s progress leads me to believe Thanksgiving isn’t going to be a horrible experience. I’m probably going to hop back on the bike in the basement this evening too.
I’ll continue to post progress here, but the text will become less and less because as with most things, it’s really all about the pics.
Final race of the year yesterday at Kruger’s Farm on Sauvie Island. A cold one so I stayed in bed an extra hour and skipped the preride – it’s usually a pretty nontechnical course. That cost me about 10 seconds due to a bad line through a bog on the first lap, but the extra sleep was probably worth it. Of note, I had my best finish here last year (4th) so despite not breaking into the top 10 prior to this this year, the pressure was on.
Following the first lap, I found myself in the top 5 and feeling good. Shortly into the second, I was up to 3rd. By the end of the second, I was into 2nd with a nice gap back to 3rd. From there, the battle was on with the race leader.
I scratched away at the his gap through the third lap and finally reeled him in and overtook him about halfway into it. Assuming he was fully gassed from the early lead he blistered out to, I figured a steady pace would make the race mine… He had other ideas.
He closed the gap back up in the fourth lap, passed me, and powered away in the fifth. Fortunately, he spent himself a little early, I recognized this, and was able to take the lead back and put a little distance on him in the final lap. A bobble nearing the end (me looking back to check on him in a technical section) brought him within striking distance with roughly a minute to race. I put the hammer down from there and held on for the win.
Unfortunately, he got closer at the finish than I anticipated and was able to sprint to the line for me. He didn’t make it, but clipped me at the finish line (a guy winning a race shouldn’t be ejected from his bike by someone coming up from behind – I was ahead of him and finished ahead of him so it’s entirely his responsibility to not put his bike where I am or am going – basic racing and riding rule of thumb, but mistakes happen and I’d happily grab a beer with him if it were to come up). My lip met the ground first, then my nose, and finally the front of my helmet. At 25mph, a face doesn’t get along with pavement very well. Why the race finishes on pavement is beyond me and hopefully something that is addressed in the future (already contacted the organizer), but I digress.
My face… I layed on the ground in shock as the medics on-site and EMTs that arrived took care of me. Didn’t seem like a concussion, but apparently I had split my lip and lost some teeth. Ugh. The ER was the order of the day. I was able to save a handsome chunk of change by having an awesome friend and teammate take me in. He also arranged for my car to get home too so I can’t thank him enough. I’m either on the hook to watch his kids for a night or take the whole crew out to something fun. I chose to go to the hospital closest to our home and Heather walked to meet us there.
The hospital stay was a lengthy one. We arrived around 11:15 and didn’t get home until 8 or so. My lip (probably about as gnarly a “split lip” can get) required a plastic surgeon to be called in for some trimming and a dozen stitches – I don’t anticipate my modeling career to take off after this. I also suck at growing a mustache so that’s not much of an option either. Two front teeth are busted in half, I’ve got a pretty sweet puncture in my shin from who knows what, and abrasions all over my face.
But… I won probably one of the most epic Category C races in history. Time for an upgrade?
It’s not going to be an easy recovery (liquid diet!), but my legs are still good, my trainer setup is amazing, and Heather has been incredibly caring and helpful so I couldn’t ask for much more.
As far as material damages go, my wallet hurts a bit from the ER, the dentist will probably dent it some more, my helmet is toast, the lenses in my brand new glasses are scratched, and I’ve yet to see my bike, but as I woozily recall my face really saved it and it appeared to be in good order. If not, it needed an overhaul and for the wheels to be rebuilt so hopefully the frame is alright. Haven’t seen my kit yet, but we’re due for a new sponsor next year anyway.
With a 10-mile virtual ride in the basement yesterday afternoon, I have now ridden more miles than any other year. Added bonus? It’s still October. The key was a strong offseason, which was mostly made possible by a combination of regular morning meetings coupled with a nice trainer, and no major interruptions (sickness, injury, family stuff, etc.). The ultimate goal is to hit 5000 for the year. Sounds like a lot, but I have friends who are already past that, but baby steps… There’s 67 days (including today) left in the year and I’ve got 1086 miles to ride = 16.2 miles per day. I’ve only averaged 13.1 for the year, but the difference between 13 and 16 is negligible so I’m pretty confident I’ve got this.
I was hoping to go for a run today and also announce that I’d run more miles than last year (199), but my knee is a bit tight, I have a pair of races out of town this weekend, and I know better. Besides, I have 67 days to run 3 miles. I won’t get that given my run rate of the past month, but I’m pretty sure I can fit it in.
If you’re looking to track your mileage, there’s a few tools of the trade. I’m a huge data geek and love competition so I’ve found Strava pushing data to Veloviewer to be for me. If you’re not looking to virtually compete, Mapmyride and Mapmyrun are what I tell people.
Where do I go from 5000 miles assuming I get it? 100 miles a week (5200)? 15 miles a day (5475)? 6000? 20 miles a day (7300)? 7500? 10,000? On my side this coming offseason and year is Zwift and my fancy new trainer, which makes indoor riding (beat the weather and save time) far more palatable and worthwhile thanks to the electronically adjustable resistance and power meter. I’m thinking I’ll just get into a rhythm and see what happens; 5000 this year wasn’t a goal I kind of fell into, and after years of this stuff I think that’s the healthiest way to approach things.
Well, at least for now. The second in as many months – thank goodness for frequent flier miles. This one was for Geordie, the world’s biggest hater of marriage. He met this girl named Sam in recent times and she made him see the light. Really happy for them/that. The trip served as a good excuse to see the family too; stayed with the my bro-in-law and crew and got to know my two year old nephew quite a bit better since he was born right when we moved. He likes growling, watching this video, Elmo, and “Pinkalicious.”
The wedding was short, sweet, and coooollllld. Brrr! Fortunately Geordie is a party planning extraordinaire and got a photo booth. There are some group photos that have already been seen on Facebook, but this one has escaped public view… until now. Surprisingly, I think only one of the people in this is drunk.
As short and sweet as the trip was, always great to get home. No travel on the horizon – back to bike racing, the fireplace, drizzle, cats, and Heather
Following race #1, I was a man on a mission. Nobody was going to slow me down except for myself. In reality, I had no control of any of this, but it was my mindset and I was gonna stick to it. Following a quick pre-ride (liked the course – had a nice, long, easy grinder of a climb that suited my ability), I started in 24th, had a good start, picked off a few folks, into the velodrome the first time, and then the clusterfuck happened. Someone forgot to move some cones for our race and people ended up all over the place – turning around, skipping entire sections, and some not missing a beat. Ultimately, the race was nullified.
Being one of the last to turn around, I was one of the first back on course. That put me in roughly 10th place, which I’d hold solidly for another couple of laps until I happened. Going through a muddy and steep off-camber section, I went down and dropped my chain. Unable to remount on the hill, I lost all momentum, which had been useful in shooting riders back up the long and slow climb following it. I dropped a good 15 spots here. The rest of the race went pretty uneventfully and I pulled in relatively unscathed (Heather was in attendance and pleased with this fact) in 21st place.
I’m happy. The name of the game is to make no mistakes. I’m clearly in 10th or so shape, I just need to stay out of trouble. Considering this was my second weekend on the CX bike this season, that’ll come. I’m away for next weekend’s race and then there’s a weekend off in preparation for the Halloween doubleheader in Bend so no racing for a few weeks. I’ve got a few bumps, cuts and bruises to take care of and the few weeks to train up a bit more are welcome; still not feeling like I’m back to road season shape, but getting there.
Disclaimer: I’m about to be a whiney bitch. If you don’t have a tolerance for that sort of thing, quit reading. I wouldn’t blame you, but I need to vent and this is my best outlet.
Today began the first race of the Cross Crusade season. Crusade is the preeminent cyclocross series in the US. It’s a very big deal and I’ve been working my ass off to be ready for it after a solid road season, some mediocre time between, and a ramp up to get back into shape recently.
I race in the C class. I also raced C in mountain bike short track and won the last race I did, which led to me moving to B. Presumably, the folks in these classes are nearly identical so I’m capable of placing high this cyclocross season and was hoping to bump my category here as well.
As the fields for this are massive, there’s a thing called a “call-up,” which if you’ve been racing well in a preselected few races (I did a single one and got 10th) and did well last year (I was placing 15th or better once I pled for a call-up [more on that later]), you get to start near the front. As expected, I didn’t make the call-up list but contacted the race organizer since it’s entirely at their discretion to award these. Note: If you don’t start at the front and you’re not sandbagging your classing, you’re not going to finish at the front. I pled my case to the organizer (strong road season, was on the podium for 2 of the 3 short track races I did [similar racing to cross]), but no dice. Not a big deal; I was looking for special treatment and didn’t get it. C’est la vie. What that meant is I’d need to get some points in this first pair of races… Sounds a lot like last year…
I couldn’t get points last year because I started mid-pack for the first two races and couldn’t pick off the 30+ people required to get there. This led to me having to chase the entire season. Before driving three hours to Bend for a doubleheader weekend in the middle of the series, I pled to the organizer to grant me a call-up, he did, and top 15 placings were the flavor of the end of my season (was 3rd in the last race before a mechanical).
As luck would have it, today my random number was called to be first after the call-ups. Great! Points to be had! The starter gave us the “go” and before I even move my season unfolds before my eyes. Some guy (who had a call-up) on a single-speed botched the start (I don’t know how you do that with a single gear), caused a pile-up that tangled me and a friend with him, and there went that great starting position. Hard to say where I finally ended up starting, but it had to be way down there. I had a good race and picked people (including folks with call-ups) off the entire way to finish in 24th (points go to 15?). Comparing lap times on Strava, I should have finished between 10th and 12th had the race not began the way it did. No points for my best opportunity all season to get them. Tomorrow they reverse the order of the random numbers so I’ll start absolutely dead last. Chance for points? Zero (today I probably passed about 40 people, but tomorrow would have to be 90). Following the second race, call-ups are based on the series points, which I’ll have none of so every subsequent race will come to the crapshoot of where I start. Because of one guy goofing his start (who will continue to get to start at the front), this season is looking like a pile of crap. I’m not sure I’ll even bother racing tomorrow because as much as I enjoy racing, waking up early and spending $25 to practice my passing is not particularly enjoyable.
UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE!!! They’ve announced the call-up lists for Sunday and (if they did this last year I don’t recall it/wouldn’t have been called up anyway because I was one of the unfortunate souls [more on that]) they’re doing it based on placing today and going 35 deep. My prayers/whining have been answered. Those unfortunate souls, though, the people who might be fast but started at the back today and didn’t get into the top 35, they might be in for a cruddy season.