Sunday, May 02, 2010

Sylvan Island

Unlike last years race through mud and oil slicks, this years edition of the Stampede served up some close to perfect weather and dry conditions. As we were lining up for the start of the race, I did my usual scan of all of the cats near the front and noticed the Eppenator, 2007 Chequamegon champ Jesse Lalonde, Aaron Robnett and Padawan Gammell. There may have been a few others that I didn’t recognize, however the field was strong enough with who I did recognize.
So the race started and Eppen grabbed the hole shot. I was sitting 2nd wheel going into the woods, which is exactly where I wanted to be. I was feeling really good, riding well and had no trouble hanging onto to Eppen’s wheel as we negotiated the serpentine trails of Sylvan Island….until my handlebar clipped a tree. The ends of my handlebars are always pretty beat up from grazing trees through tight singletrack, however the graze is never enough to knock me off course. I must have had some bad karma owed to me, because this time was a little different. I was knocked askew enough to hit something else, whatever it was, it was big enough that I got bucked over the bars. By the time I had realized what had happened, I was lying on my side in the weeds with my bike spooning me from behind.

Maria is yellin' at me because I crashed.

I jumped up and straightened my handlebars, all the while getting passed by what seemed to be the entire field of 50-ish racers. It only ended up being 10 or 15. I ‘took’ my place in line and regained my rhythm pretty quickly. It took about a half a lap before I could finally pass some of the slower traffic ahead of me. At the first open section, I was finally able to get by all that had passed me, with the exception of Lalonde. By that time, Jesse and Brian were long gone.
I tried pretty hard to reel them back in over the course of 5 laps and in looking at the lap times, I was within a few seconds of their lap times, but never faster. By the end of lap 5, the effects of my altercation with Mother Nature were starting to catch up with me. My lower back was killing me and when you have no lower back, you have very little leverage with which to transfer the power to the pedals. My lap times dropped dramatically over lap 6 and 7, however I managed to salvage a 3rd place in the end.

My Mom is in her happy place.

Brian is hairy, kinda looks like he should be in a Geico commercial.

Julie had a pretty stellar race, and ended up 4th overall in a stacked field of 25 women that included the other half of the Eppenator, Robin Williams, Brittany McConnell and a few others. We’ve been exchanging coaching services, strength training for me and cycling for her. She’s been working her tail off this winter and spring and it’s starting to show through her results. I’m pretty anxious to see how the rest of the season goes for her!

Julie is in her happy place too.

Julie's killin' it and scoring some style points in the rocks.

If it hadn't been for a flat tire, Padawan Gammell might have crushed me.

I was pretty happy with the result. Despite the mishap, I rode pretty well and felt pretty good until by back checked out on me. I didn’t realize the extent of the bodily damage until a day or two after the race. A bruised tail bone, which was most likely the reason for the excessive back fatigue. A deep bruise behind my upper calf muscle, which had me walking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame for a few days and forced a three day hiatus from the bike. My calf got the point where it seemed to be getting worse rather than better, so on Thursday I made a phone call to my buddy Dave Freesman of Rock Valley Physical Therapy and was able to get in the next morning. The short version of the story, I walked into Rock Valley Friday morning dragging my left leg behind me. After running some electricity through my calf and an ultrasound treatment, I was walking normally and riding relatively pain free by Friday night. I owe a huge thanks to Dave for taking care of me so quickly, not to mention his expertise in the field of physical therapy. He’s an accomplished athlete and has an intimate understanding of sports related physical therapy.

So I’m a little behind on the race reports, life’s been a little on the busy side lately. I ended up doing the Bone Bender 6 hour down in Missouri the following weekend, some road ragin’ in Iowa City the next weekend, and the Psycowpath race at Swanson last weekend…no crashes, no bashin’ into trees and no spooning with my bike in the weeds…so far so good.

Thanks for reading,


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