I have to admit, I was nervous to start racing again after my road crash, but 2 weeks ago I felt like I was recovered enough from my concussion to make the move back into the race scene.
I really hadn’t ridden my bike for more than 20 miles in 6 weeks. All of my miles had been on trails mind you (despite my neurologist saying the road was ‘safer’), so I felt confortable enough on my mountain bike to begin the racing process. I was originally supposed to race in the Whiteface 100K Leadville Qualifier in NY, but the prospect of driving 8 hours alone for my first race back was making me feel uneasy. A great conversation with Geronimo K confirmed my fears. He queried why I wanted to put myself through that stress, and suggested a better option would be to race the local Stoopid 50. I immediately felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. What a great idea!
I rode super conservatively at the start of the Stoopid 50. So conservatively, that I came to a standstill at the entry onto the first piece of single track. As Nikki T put it, ‘we could have had an egg sandwich as we waited to ride that section’! Anyway I rode the trails smoothly, paced myself on the road sections, and generally tried to have a good time and enjoy being back in the scene. That Mantra got me 3rd so I can’t complain considering it was my first race back. I must also apologize to Karen Potter for standing on the 2nd step of the podium! I blame the concussion.
|Stoopid 50 podium|
Motivated by my ability to race again, I signed up for the Hilly Billy Roubaix in good ol’ West Virginia this past weekend. I have won Iron Cross a couple of times, so I thought why the heck not go and race the Hilly Billy. Also, it would force me to do a hard 72 miles. It was HARD!
|Suffering in Hilly Billy with a mangled derailleur. Photo: Fred Jordan|
Added to the hard factor, the race played out to be a series of unlucky but humorous events. Here is how it all went down:
- Arrived at the race, realized my back brake was locked to my wheel. Panicked. Badgered Zack Adams to help me (Thanks a million Zack and Dan Repp!).
- Had another mechanical 15 mins before race start. Panicked. Badgered Nathan Annon and his friend Travis to help me. So kind! (I should have put Kenda tires on). Breathed. I was going to make it to the start of the race!
- Started race. Was extremely concerned that I could hear my back breaks squeaking (were they rubbing?), and that I was suddenly in a very fast road race. Why was this a good idea again?
- Began to settle in. Positioned my self reasonably well in the field, hoping to get in a group for a draft on the road sections. Passed a zillion people who had flatted.
- Approached a car sized pothole, front tire went into pot hole. I went over pot hole. Severely bent derailleur hanger and couldn't bend it back. Couldn’t pedal bike. Panicked. Stood at side of trail looking helpless. Nobody to badger! Kind guy stopped and helped me bend derailleur back (strength!). He didn’t want to bend it too much in case it broke. Tried to pedal. Derailleur made chain rub against spokes. Considered dropping out. Thought, I can make it!
- Rode on my own for 60 miles (only got one draft!). Remembered how much I love the dirt (here I mean the dirt roads, so much more interesting), and dislike the road.
- Went back and forth at the end with a guy who was only able to climb the hills by swerving across the road due to cramps. Eventually had to say “Dude” (not vocabulary I usually use) to be able to ride in a straight line and not follow his pattern.
- Crawled to the finish, wondered why people I normally finish around the same time as were already changed and eating pizza/drinking beer?
- Tried to escape Cycling Dirt – unsuccessful
Cycling Dirt Video here!
Funny part of this whole scenario is that all of the guys who helped me out my misfortunes were friends. A recent conversation on FB went something along the lines of…we helped Vicki do this. Oh we helped Vicki with this. I nearly knocked Vicki off her bike. Cracked. Me Up!!! Thanks to everyone for the help! I do recommend this race despite my own misfortunes. Best marshaled course I have ever raced on. However, I think at this point in the season I would race my mountain bike. Three out of the top 5 guys to finish were on mountain bikes. Also, put fresh tires on.
In over news, if you want to know what the rest of the Stan’s ladies have been up to, check out this great piece written by Shannon Gibson. I am honestly touched by the kind words from Shannon on my recovery. It means so much to me to know I have such a supportive. Great team. Great product.
Until next time…hammer on!