Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crash Update

It's been almost two weeks since my crash and burn at Midtown Alley and I'm doing surprising well.  As of today, I'm down to one Tough Pad (right elbow), some bruising, and lots of new pink skin.  While none of my injuries were that severe, there were plentiful:  right arm--two inches of road rash and softball size bruise.  left arm--road rash from my shoulder to mid forearm, with two deep divets at my elbow.  right leg--small road rash and bruise at my knee.  left leg--road rash from my hip bone to mid-shine with a deep spot on my knee and a nasty bruise on the inside of my knew.  Bonus: bruise on the tip of my left pelvis.  UGH!

Sleeping was rough for the first few days.  I couldn't get comfortable.  I was worried about oozing on the sheets.  And everytime I rolled over, I woke up.  Showering also sucked during that time.  I was in and out quickly, doing only what I needed to do so that I wouldn't offend anyone.

The first Monday I afterwards I went to see the wonderful Dr. Matt for an adjustment and stim.  He popped me back into place and taped my pelvis to help the bruise dissapate.  I felt instant release.  I also ruined one of my favorite skirts on Monday because my knee and hip were draining terribly.  I had to cover my Tegaderm with gauze and compression bandages to try to control it.

By Tuesday I took my first good shower.  I actually felt clean for the first time since Friday morning.  I also started using the Tough Pads on a few of my wounds.  Those things are awesome--much better than Tegaderm. 

I actually ran on Wednesday.  It hurt when I began, but by ten minutes in I was able to find my stride and enjoy the workout.

I saw Dr. Matt again on Thursday for another adjustment and got my left knee taped.  On Friday I was able to remove my compression bandage on my knee because I was able to switch from the Tegaderm to the Tough Pad. 

I raced on Saturday.  It gave me a chance to see how much ooze mixed with sweat the bandages would hold.  My race was a less than stellar performance.  Although my legs felt fine, I could hang with the attacks.  My heart rate was out of control.  I'm not sure if it was because of my injuries or because the pack was small or something else.  I ended up with great tan lines from my bandages.

This Monday's run was much better than the one on the prior Wednesday.  I had no pain and good splits on my miles.

I had one more trip to Dr. Matt on Wednesday.  My back had bothered me a bit on my Tuesday ride and that's unusual for me.  He was amazed by my healing.

I changed my bandages today and am pleased with my progress.  My elbow will take a little more TLC because of the depth of the wounds.  The only other lingering problem is my weight.  I gained seven pounds within four days of the crash.  I've dropped three of those, but am still working on the last four.  I don't know if I'm holding weight because of the bruises and lingering swelling or because I'm not going hard enough on my workouts because of recovery.  I'll get rid of it soon though.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Race Report: O'Fallon Gold Cup

Well, I could spin the story really well and tell you I finished 6th, but that result doesn't really tell the full story.

It was beautiful weather, sunny, low 80s, some humidity and wind.  The course started on a hill and was constantly rolling, with the majority of the uphill on the front side and the backside being primarily downhill.  There was only one true turn with the course being more of a loop.  There were six of us in the race, all local (Carrie, Chris, Emily, Jamie, Teresa and me).  We got instructions and the whistle and I couldn't get clipped in.  I think I freak myself on uphill starts worrying about this situation, thus causing it to happen.  I chased half of the first lap to get back on with the group.  Less than a minute later, Carrie attacked and off we went.  We came back together as a group at the start/finish and another attack went.  It took me till the turn, but I got back on with the group.  We got the prime bell at the end of lap three and the pace immediately accelerated.  We slowed a bit on the back side, but as we headed to the hill on the finish, the sprint took off.  I knew I didn't have it in me to contest the prime, but I tried to hang with the group to no avail.  I was gapped.  Teresa was with me.  We rode together for two laps before admitting we weren't going to catch them.  She and I began trading pulls each lap.  About 23 minutes in the pace moto was behind us at the start/finish and I heard the announcer say that Jamie had gotten dropped on the last attack, so she was off the back as well.  If I have one regret from this race, it's that Teresa and I didn't pick up the pace then to go after her.  On the beginning of the next lap, we got lapped by the three leaders.  We jumped in with them.  The next time around there was another prime.  We held with them until the sprint and they were off and out of site again.  The next time around was five to go.  Teresa and I continued to take turns pulling and agreed to not sprint each other for 5th and 6th. 

I'm not sure why I wasn't able to race a stronger race.  My heart rate felt really high when I was reacting to the attacks.  And I know having such a small field really increases the work load.  My legs felt fine through the race and on my ride Saturday. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Race Report: Tour de Grove

I had been looking forward to the Grove since last season.  The courses are fun, the fields were great sizes, and this year it was earlier, meaning cooler weather.  This was definitely a case of be careful what you wish for.

Midtown Alley
It all started Friday night . . . 

It was in the low 70s, windy and overcast at race time. I got a good warm up in and my legs felt ok. The course was a long rectangle, wide streets on the sides, short one block and narrow on the ends. The pavement was rough in spots, with manhole covers and holes, especially in the corners. I'm guessing we had about 20 in our 3/4 field. Most of the race was pretty uneventful. We'd speed through the front side of the course, slow down on the top end and the backside due to the wind, and gain momentum through turn three and four to the finish. There were two primes. I couldn't get good positioning for either one. A break went off after the first, but it was brought back within a lap. At some point in turn one, I hit a hole or crack and my front wheel seemed to wobble a bit.  It was very windy, so at that point, I attributed the wobble to the wind and high profile wheels. 

The race all came down to the finish. I knew I needed to focus on positioning going into the third turn because that was what would make the sprint. I was fine for three, but I got pinched out in turn four. We came onto the finishing straight and the sprint was on. I was up and gaining, sitting about fourth. I think I hit a hole because the next thing I knew my front wheel was wobbling. I tried to ride it out, but couldn't hold it. I remember feeling my bike fly out from under me and wondering if I'd ever stop sliding. The only other thought I had was “at least I didn’t hit my head.”  The next thing I remember is seeing Steph running towards.  Richard helped me up, and Walker was snapping photos like crazy.  I tried to smile through it all be because I didn’t want anyone to worry about me.  My left side is pretty raw, shoulder to ankle and I have a little damage on the right side.  After the fall Lee took a look at my bike and my front wheel was barely held in.  I’m assuming that the holes I hit knocked my skewer/wheel loose, causing the wonkiness.  I’ll never know for sure, but I’m happy nothing is broken on me or the bike.  It’s also of note that this was my first, and hopefully, last DNF in a race.

The Grove
Saturday was better because I finished, but that’s about the only good thing I can say. It was a cold, rainy race...about 52 at start. I prerode the course and ended up with a flat, got that changed and decided to warm up on the trainer. We had about 24 women on the line. I took the lead the first half lap and then settled in the pack. The course was a technical one with about six or seven turns. My goal was just to sit in and be in a good spot for the sprint. All was fine until four to go. We were around turn four when a girl slid out. I moved to avoid her, but she took out Jamie who landed square in front of me and I hit her and went down. I got up, grabbed my bike and hauled it to the pit. Steven straightened my bars and I waited for the pack.  I asked multiple times if we got our free lap. There were six of us in the crash. We jumped in, went through the start/finished and got two to go.

We headed into turn one and another girl slid out. I moved left to avoid her. That put me in line for the curb. Gotta love cx skills cause I hopped it, cut through the grass, and hopped back on the back of the pack. We got around the course, got the bell. Everything was great until the final turns. The pack had been skiddish there all race so I was concerned. I saw the first girl go down slide across so I moved right. She hit someone else who came straight towards me. As I tried to move further right, I slid out. I got up and finished the race but have no clue how I actually finished. I was pretty discouraged. A few bumps/bruises and the bike is fine.  However what really soured me was that we (the six of us in the first crash) were not given our free lap.  We were technically a lap down when we jumped back on the group.  I would have chased and not been involved in the other two incidents had we been told that at the pit.  Frustrating!!!

Dutchtown Classic
Our weather was much the same Sunday as it was on Saturday, chilly and rainy. The course/event was a new one. It started on an uphill and went directly into a right turn and an immediate left. Next was a quarter mile straight with a soft s-turn into the wind. That went into a right turn to a false flat and a long gradual downhill that ended with a sharp right. Another right led to the finishing straight. It was about 400 meters to the start/finish with about half of it uphill. The pavement was beautiful. I think we took 12 to the line, and thankfully they were all women who knew how to ride a bike in rain. There were a few surges early in the race, but nothing got away. I'm not sure when we started shedding people, but about 15 minutes in I realized we were down to nine. We got the first prime bell and I was feeling good. The sprint started at the bottom of the hill. I crossed the line third, but no where near the girl who took it. We came back together as a group. I think it was the next lap that a girl wiped out in the last turn. I was just happy to avoid her. That split the pack even more and Britta and Jamie got off on a break. I had Skyler (Tibco), Tulsa Tough, and Ashley with me. We organized our chase and went after them. Everyone but the Tulsa girl was giving her all. At that point I wasn't sure whether she was doing all she could or sandbagging. After two laps of chasing they rang the prime bell. I knew Jamie and Britta would cat and mouse and possibly slow so it was time to make our move. I took the lead going into the downhill turn and caught Jamie at the line. Britta pulled away.
Catching Jamie at the prime. Had to wear lots of gear to keep all my bandages in place. *Photo credit: Mike Dawson
We spent the next few laps trying to chase Britta down, but the Tulsa girl would take 10-20 second pulls and slide out. By this point we had dropped Skylar. At about three to go we couldn't catch Britta. I concentrated on placement and riding smart for the finish. Jamie went on the downhill on our last lap. Ashley reacted and went after her and I stayed on Ashley's wheel. We hit the hill and I was out of my saddle. Ashley pulled in front of Jamie and away from me. I pulled past Jamie and took third. The Tulsa girl had enough in her to go for the sprint and take Jamie as well.

Overall I felt good in the race. I was timid in the last two corners every lap. If the others had been smart, they could have taken me there. I also think we should have worked hard to shell the Tulsa girl because she was content to let us work for her. This was also a race I really had to talk myself through. After two laps, I was second guessing myself. When we narrowed the field, I knew if I stayed in I would get upgrade points and payout. That kept me going. The more women we dropped, the more I got into the race. When we got it down to five, all I could think was podium and ending on a great note.
Finally, a good result!  *Photo credit:  Mike Dawson

Monday, May 9, 2011

Imperviousness versus Strength

Foreword: I put this on entry ice after I wrote it because I am afraid that people in my life will take it personally when it's not meant that way.  I hate girl drama and I think it's immature and unacceptable to call anyone out in my blog.  While I am shy, I will buck up and voice my feelings when I feel someone is wronging me . . . just ask Klucker.  I wrote this on a day that I needed a pity party, but in accordance with my typical m.o. I sucked it up and dealt with it, only straying from my normal behavior by gorging on mozzarella sticks and diet coke at lunch.  So I fully admit that often times I'm at fault because I am a pleaser who won't tell people what I need or want.  Instead I'll smile and say "sure chocolate cake is fine" when I truly, truly prefer white.

I watch television.  And I like to watch television.  So everyone out there who thinks that means I'm weak-minded, lacking intellectual capability, or just plain fluffy can stop reading now.  I don't get to sit down and watch my favorite shows very often, so I am a frequent DVR user.  That also means I am weeks upon weeks behind in watching one of my favorite shows, one of which is Bones.  The episode I watched last night probably aired six to eight weeks ago.  In the closing scene, Booth and Brennan are talking about the possibility that they may eventually date.  Brennan tells Booth that she is becoming strong.  She goes on to say she used to be impervious, meaning she was unable to be hurt, but now she is becoming strong because she is losing her imperviousness.

The scene got me thinking about how we (the ubiquitous we) treat people.  Is strength sometimes confused for imperviousness?  I think about my relationships, what do I take for granted?  Do I extol bad behavior because I assume it doesn't bother the receiver?  Is that person really just incredibly strong, so they use resolve to power through the hurtfulness?

Several years ago I made a conscious decision to have more friends.  I was at a point in my life where I was a new mother, working 60-80 hours a week, and one crisis away from therapy and Zoloft.  I had (have) a supportive family, but sometimes a body just needs girlfriends.  As someone who is painfully shy--I know that's hard to believe--I put myself out there.  I interjected myself into uncomfortable situations and tried new things so that I could meet new people and hopefully make friends.  For the most part, my risks have paid off.  I can't say the trip has been tailwinds and sunshine the whole way.

A couple of months ago, a friend referred to me as a "bootstrap girl."  What she meant was that I'm someone who doesn't wallow in my problems, instead I pull myself up and attack them.  That can be a good or bad thing.  It's good in the fact that I get things accomplished.  I don't sit around and wait for three boats to rescue me while I sit on the roof of my flooded house; I build my own raft and set sail for dry ground.  One of the bad things though, I think, is that people around me don't realize how fragile I sometimes am.  They're unaware that my feelings are easily hurt when they don't return calls or emails.  They don't know that I need them to defend me when I'm attacked by mean girls.  They didn't see the stress I was under as I job-hunted and looked for ways to maintain my family's normalcy.  I think, to some degree, they think me impervious. 

While there are days I wish I was impervious, I think feeling sadness or stress or grief is good.  Without knowing how bad it can be, I would never enjoy the good times I typically have.  That being said, I sometimes long for acknowledgement that some days my life sucks too.  I sometimes need to have a pity party without feeling that someone is going to "one up" my tribulation.  I sometimes need chocolate chip cookie dough, a spoon, and a hug.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Race Report: Belleville VeloForce Criterium

This race was a lot of fun.  It's a course I really love, six turn crit with a small descent with two quick turns immediately following and a little climb.  It was sunny, breezy and about 60 at race time.  Nine ladies were in my field.  Of the nine of us, four were Big Shark ladies!  We had agreed to take it easy the first lap or two because it was Amy's first race back following knee surgery.  As we crossed the start/finish at the end of lap 2, the prime bell rang and all agreements were off.  A little manuvering went on on the backside of the course but it was calm until we hit the hill.  Vanessa and Emily took off.  Britta and Ashley were right on them.  I moved to the front and controlled the rest of the field to let Vanessa get away.  The break stuck.  The five of us left all had riders in the break.  Three laps later, our field got another prime bell.  I decided to repeat Vanessa's move and go on the hill.  I had about three hundred yards on the field when I took the prime.  I got within visual distance of the break on the backside, but they were working together well and I couldn't gain anymore ground.  Two laps later, Alice caught me.  The next lap Amy and Soli rejoined us.  Somewhere in there we lost Teresa.  The four of us traded work, but didn't work to close down the gap.  At five to go, the break lapped us.  I jumped in with them and made sure to answer any attacks so that I could stay with them.  The final two laps had a lot of action.  We came around the corner to the finishing straight and the sprint was on.  I went hard, but did my best not to interfere with the sprint for 1/2/3/4.  I took 5th.   
Just after the field prime.  *Photo credit:  Mike Dawson
 My legs and aerobic fitness felt great.  Never did I feel like I was distressed.  I like racing the Open field because it's much more about tactic than the 4s races.  I am still questioning my decision of slowing down the pack versus trying to make the jump with Vanessa.  I feel like I would have been able to go with them, but I had two girls on my wheel who I probably would have brought along.  I'll never know what could have been, but it gives me experience to take with me into my next race.