I am finally feeling a tad better. Although there are times I can’t move or roll over. And finally I am feeling like blogging again. A lot of things piled up since the Frog Hollow Race. With it taking me all day just to get around I haven’t found extra time to write. It is true I am biking more and more again but biking has always been manageable. It is when I step off the bike or try to rest that I feel pain. That and every god damned bump I hit. Did I mention that I am getting a full suspension bike next year. Have to.
So we did make it to the 2016 Frog Hollow. And we did get off to a great start. By nightfall we both felt like we needed to investigate full suspension bikes. I forgot how rough and demanding the course could be. It was near midnight and I was starting to come into my own in the dark. I knew Mo had two more laps in her before she would unleash me to attack and do multiple laps while she slept. I couldn’t wait.
Half way around the course there is this transition section where the trail takes a hard left. Kind of a long sweeper that tightens up at the end. Previous years past I would eventually tap the brakes to avoid overshooting the turn and hitting a big rock. But this year I was elated to be able to rip the corner at full speed. Gotta love the 27.5+ bike. Again as I approached the corner I grinned and dived into it full-bore. Fade to black.
Sometimes something happens so fast that the brain must black out while it catches up. By the time my mind caught up to what was happening the face plate bolts of my stem were piercing my abs. But I was still not conscious to as what was happening. A little bit later my mind finally caught up enough to turn on some vision and all the sound.
While the sounds of gravel were scrapping across my helmet I knew that I was crashing and that I was apparently upside down. And doing a break dance move I have seen in some 80’s flicks. I became aware that there was some speed involved and that I needed to wait until the crash was over. I feared the worse.
Suddenly it all stopped with my back slamming full force into the trail. It felt like I was dropped out of a helicopter. And then everything went silent. No more crashing sounds of gravel and knobs burning flesh. All there was now was myself moaning and trying to catch my breath.
After some time I rolled over and slowly got to my feet. I tested all appendages and it all worked. I mean there was immense pain but it was working. So nothing broken, right? Just some really bad bruises maybe and some pulled muscles hopefully. So I needed to get back to the start line. But where is my bike?
I finally found it behind some sagebrush. I just followed the crash site indicators and did some quick physics to determine where my bike may have gone. I grabbed it and tried to prepare to pedal. Get leg over. Brace against the pain. Put one foot on a pedal and step down. Didn’t work. No seat.
So I did find my seat and it’s post about 90 degrees from the crash site and the final resting place of the bike. I had no time to sit and figure out how that magic trick happened. I restarted the ride strategy. Get leg over, brace, push.
I pulled over within 20 feet. The handlebars were crooked. Fixed! I was off again. It was painful. So painful the lap was actually going by fast. Just a lot of pain. I was amazed I could still ride. I knew if I got back and recovered while Mo was out … all things were still possible. But all the pain … did not know what to do with that.
On a downhill I lost control and crashed into some rocks. I really was not all there. As I hit those rocks I thought to myself and wondered why it was so hard to keep the front wheel straight. I kept leaving the trail and hitting rocks. Finally with the latest crash I stopped to assess. Well there you go! Front tire was flat. I was riding a flat tire. I just need to fix it.
Fixing the tire took time. It was like 30 minutes before I finally got it. As time wore on the more my back was getting stiff. I reached back and found my left side to be swollen and basically … well … not like a back at all. More like I swallowed a beach ball.
I got to the finish line and did my best to send Mo along on her next lap. Just when I thought she had left I slipped out of the timing tent and then realized I needed to find help. Someone was there immediately. Got me back to camp and as I waited while she prepared a place for me to try to lay down I realized it was Mo. I tried to understand why she was here and not out on her lap.
I woke up on my side and wanted to leave the tent. To go pee. When I went to move all the memories came back. But I did manage to get up and walk to the port-a-potties. On the way back I started to prepare my bike. I would never be able to ride with this pain but I could walk a lap … god damn it!
I went to the tent and asked Mo where our baton (a hand off thing that teams use) was.
“I handed it in … and told them to never give it back to you …. so just go back to bed”, she said, rolled over, and drifted back to sleep.