A little over a week ago was the Bike Line Fair Hill Spring XC down in MD, this was the first race in the MASS series here in the PA area. I'd always planned on going to the race (the Wife had it on her schedule) and even thou I love the course I was not planning on doing it. But somehow I found myself on the starting line of my age group.
Having done ZERO speed work since last year, waking up sick and just an all around feeling of not really want to do the race I lined up pretty much in the back of the group. They released the dogs and the pace is fast, real fast. After dancing around a near crash I find myself working my way threw riders...not knowing why or know. Ninety minutes and 23 miles later it was all over and strangely I felt good. I never really pushed myself really hard, just rode my own race and ended up 6th of the 22-23 riders. So for better or worse I'm rethinking things again.
Fast forward a week, Wifey and I found ourselves down in VA for the Leesburg Baker's Dozen. After meeting up with friends, pit set up it was time for an easy pre ride lap. The course was perfect, fun fast and fun. After a little more BSing with the pep's headed out for a couple beers and grub before hitting the hotel....my camping days are over.
Normal for me the night before I race I slept like crap. Ended up watching a couple Married with Children's before I got Wifey up for the morning prep. After my race morning breakfast, 3-4 pit stops, bottle/food and ball prep once again it's off to the starting line.
The several hundred riders at the line are off with the sound of the fire truck siren...really:
....and in a dust cloud we were off.
The first few laps went by in a flash, sub 30 minute laps in an endurance race are a little strange....but I felt good and was just rolling along. I was stopping every other lap for a bottle change and throw down a little grub. Things were chugging along just fine till I went out of my 6th lap. The first single track section was a flat and VERY fast section with a few slight turn here and there. Well lets just say I misjudged my speed on one of these slight turns and a tree ran out in front on me.....and by saying it ran out in front on me I mean I tried to do a power slide to miss it and it reached out and pulled me into it.
Pretty much broadsided the tree, lost some skin on the forearm, and slammed my shoulder into said running tree. But the biggie was I whacked the back of my head pretty damn hard. I must have tried to turn my head away from the impacted and most of the blow was taken by the back of my head just below my helmet. Let's say it hurt a little, but after a couple seconds away I went. The head hurt the worst until about five minutes later when I started feeling my jaw. Could not really open my mouth (which the Wife would love) without pain, so the wheels upstairs started thinking I broke my jaw.....nice, liquid diet...this may not be so bad.
An hour and two laps later I pit to see if I can eat. Was not the easiest thing in the world but I got a banana down...pretty much bite off a piece then used my tongue the smash it against the roof of my mouth. Not ideal, but it worked and back out I went. But this is when the other problems started.
Once I went back out my eyes could not really focus that well and for the first time ever the sunlight was not my eyes friend. I could see fine, but I just could not focus in on anything. Kind of felt like I was daydreaming and then would snap back into what I was doing. Needless to saying this was not ideal, one small half crash and a couple near misses I finished the next lap and week out for another knowing it was not the best idea in the world.
About a mile into the trail I tore a sidewall in the near and was on foot. I ran/walked as I debated what to do in the pits. I had a spare wheelset so I knew I could be in/out in a couple minutes. I was in the pits for less then 2-3 minutes when the Wife came running/rolling in....with the same problem in the rear. She'd heard the reports of the tree on rider abuse and turned off the racer switch and turned on the Wife/Mother questioning switch.
Ten minutes later I had beer in hand. Good, bad or indifferent everything happens for a reason. More then likely she saved me from doing something stupid....well, something stupider then normal.