I showed up to the race with the family, got checked in and waited for my buddy to arrive to pre-ride the course. We took a practice lap and I was shocked at how much harder things felt this week. Naïveté played in my favor the previous week. The hills felt steeper, the descents rougher and the the soft stuff softer.
The course was slightly changed. The second half was slightly rerouted and slowed down some of the fast rough stuff, something I thought would work to my advantage. Practice lap took about 22 mins, so the course was slightly shorter. It still included the long climbs and flats where I could shine.
My plan was to line up in the front row this time, in the thick of it. So I did. To my right, I met last weeks winner, who had passed me before the finish. Also saw some of the other contenders. The horn blew and everyone charged. I was actually surprised how hard they went. Though, after 20 seconds or so they settled into position and eased up. The pace seemed slow, so I broke right and sprinted. TdF style. Heard a couple of words of encouragement from the pack. Kept pushing to the first climb, but I heard someone with me.
Started climbing, but I was soon overtaken. The guy was on a mountain bike and climbed well. I stuck with him. When we reached the top he was gassed, not me!. I looked back and no one was close. We had dropped everyone. I told him no one was close, so let’s go. He agreed. I overtook him and we went. A few turns and we approached a long rough descent. One that has a small jump where the photographer sets up.
I approached the jump going fast. Thinking back, I should have eased off and proceeded more cautiously. I’m on a rigid bike with a good lead. Oh well. I jumped, landed and the front wheel stuck in a hole. And over the bars I went. I landed on my shoulder, rolled, looked up and saw bikes coming. I scrambled to the side of the trail into some brush. I was bloodied and shoulder hurt. Bloody elbows and knees. Felt my collarbone and it was intact.
After the course cleared enough I moved up the trail to a safer spot and sat. The photographer graciously tended to me until the medic came. The medic assisted me, I was scraped up, but the shoulder was the biggest problem. She taped my arm to my body and gave me a sling and waited for the race to finish to give me a ride down.
When I fell I was able to reach my wife by cellphone so she wasn’t completely panicked, but when she saw me, that panic returned. With help from a fellow racer we loaded up the car and headed to urgent care. They cleaned up my scrapes and x-rayed my shoulder. Proximal humerus fracture. Ouch. Basically a crack at the top of my arm below the ball that creates the shoulder joint. My shoulder had swollen to double it’s size. Every movement hurt.
On day 3 now, pain isn’t really easing yet. Saw the orthopedic doctor and the break is clean, which means surgery isn’t necessary. Need to keep it immobilized for 2 weeks in a sling which makes moving and sleeping difficult.
I am very gracious of and thankful for the help from the race photographer, medic and other racers. So many racers checked my well being and offered assistance, and I truly appreciate the camaraderie.
I’ll be back… Hopefully in time for Orangeman in September and IMAZ in November. For now, I have to heal. At least a couple of weeks until I can start pedaling on the trainer, 6 until I can think about running… As for swimming? Who knows.