Monday, March 30, 2009 the Hospital

After last weekends beating at Fayetteville, I was more than ready to get back on the dirt. Fortunately for me, the next race on the list was in Warda, TX at Bluff Creek Ranch. A short 90 minute drive. The Saturday before the race, I threw on my new warranty replacement wheel from Stan's (props to them for a quick turn around) and prepped my bike. Although I worked all day Saturday, I managed to get everything dialed in a ready to go with very little stress.

After work, I headed over to Morgan's parents house to celebrate her Dad's birthday. The food was excellent and the times were good. A few hours later, I went over to Mr. Comardo's residence since he was racing on Sunday too. We loaded up and headed to my place soon to find Marshall on the edge of his seat watching the US vs. El Salvador soccer game. Good thing I showed up, because USA tied it up shortly after my arrival. The Dynamo game was on after the USA game, but I had to pack so I missed it. Go team!

Anyway, the plan was to leave at 8am, getting us there in just enough to register, get our bike costumes on, and warm-up. All went smoothly until the warm-up. Unfortunately, Mitch's bike was acting up and eventually forced him to pull out of the race. A definite bummer because he is in great form. Now, for my race report...

I made sure I got a good warm-up beforehand because I tend to neglect this crucial pre-race ritual. I felt fresh and pretty snappy so I was in high hopes. The race started as riders began jockeying for position. As we entered the single track I was right in the mix of it. My legs felt good, I was in control of myself, and was riding at a comfortable speed. My only complaint was that I had not ridden trails in quite some time so my handling skills were not up to snuff on the first lap. Other than that, lap 1 was a success, on to lap 2. As I entered the trees for the second time, I was feeling smooth and relaxed, ready to pick up the pace. I was caught behind some guys who were struggling so I tried to pass them. Unfortunately, I was not aggressive enough and lost a few minutes riding too slow. Once we were out of the thickets, I opened it up and tried to bridge up to the riders in front of me. I was feeling great! I passed one more rider right before Gas Pass, a speedy downhill section, and was flying all the way to the 90 degree turn. I roosted the turn and began bombing down hill. Using my prior experience from BMX I began cruising over the rollers. As I approached the final and largest roller I tried to hop over it for a clean and clear landing, but as a I pulled up on the bars, they rotated in the stem and my rear wheel hit the lip of the hump sending me flying over the bars onto my head. I hit the ground hard crushing my helmet and leaving me in the fetal position. Fortunately, I crashed at the feet of one of my buddies from Bike Sport, Jack Gutweiller and he sprang into action. I took me about 10 minutes to collect myself and get my bike rideable again until I was off. I was riding on pure adrenaline trying to make up for lost time. The 3rd lap went great, but as the 4th was approaching I began to feel the aches and pains from my encounter with the dirt. I was not about to DNF so I pressed on, catching two guys in my class ahead of me. As soon as I crossed the line, I hopped off my bike and took a seat on the ground. Soon enough, I was being examined by the EMT's which eventually led to a trip to the emergency room. After getting my brain, neck, and back scanned, I was released with no signs of major injury. Thank God for helmets. All in all, I was fairly pleased with my race. My fitness was definitely there and I know I could have placed well if I hadn't nearly died.
A big thanks goes out to my family and especially Morgan for taking care of me. Morgan went above and beyond yesterday and today to make sure I was comfortable and safe, so thanks! Another thanks/congratulations goes to the big stick Andrew for checking on me during and after his race. He also ended up 6th overall in a very fast cat 1 field. Plus, he rode 45 miles off road the day prior.

This coming week will be focused on my recovery for the Ouachita Challenge. I'm pretty sure I'll be 100 percent by the time Sunday rolls around, so it should be a good time. I am also excited because I get to install my new Chris King bottom bracket. Hopefully, it will give me some extra fitness.

That's all for now, tune in next time.

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