Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Probably one of the craziest things that could happen happened.

I woke up today unable to rotate my arm and with a pounding pounding headache. I feel like I got beat up. When I leaned my head back to take some Advil (maybe the 3rd time in the last 10 years), I then realized how much my neck hurt too. Man.

Rewind to 940ish yesterday morning. Im a few hours into my workday.

I ride into the brewery like I usually would, past the first parking garage, up to the second one in order to get to the second floor of the building. I lean my bike up against the wall that I usually do when I felt uneasy. Before I knew what had happened, I was on the ground moaning. Apparently somebody working on area above me (maybe 15 - 20 feet) threw a brick off the edge and of course it hit me straight on the head. I had a helmet on because I pedal around on a bike for work, so it only crushed my helmet and scraped my shoulder and arm, bruising them both. If I hadn't had a helmet on I would be straight up dead. So I am laying there on the cement trying to understand what happened, just kind of moaning for about 5 minutes when I heard the guys around me talking about how they had just looked and nobody was there. Apparently I pulled up when they decided to throw the brick, and by brick I mean large cement block, not a little brick, over the ledge. I laid there on the ground, trying unsuccessfully to hold back tears while people ran around assessing how bad it all was.

I later made the comparison of it being like you stepping out of bed in the morning and the ground just isn't there. Imagine altering your reality like that. You don't expect stuff to just literally drop out of the sky onto your head, it just shouldn't happen.

1 phone call later I am experiencing a bunch of firsts. First time in an ambulance. First backboard. First time crying in front of a group of people, not sure why, it just seemed like the right thing to do. First cat scan, first mri first, taxi ride home from the hospital.

My brother and Harmony somehow found out I was there, despite me not wanting to call anybody. It was nice of them. I didn't want anybody to call them cause they would have assumed I got hit by a car or something super gnarly happened, and I wasn't worst case scenario.

So to sum up.
-don't throw bricks over ledges when people are probably going to be under them.

-don't go to AGH cause that hospital totally sucks, they didn't give me water or something for my headache and I was there for about 4 hours, and they don't have a pharmacy there where I could buy something or fill my prescription for whatever it was they gave me to take.

Sometimes I get stressed out by all the little stuff, but I guess I am pretty lucky it hit my head and not my shoulder. I guess I am lucky that I didn't look up and have it crush my skull or crack all my teeth that I have been dumping money into. I guess I am lucky that it wasn't one of the people working in the building who go out there to smoke and having them die and having me wonder constantly what would have happened had it been me?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Totally blown apart: aka Mount Joy RR.

Cut out of work at high noon on Friday. Sweet. Mike nearly lost his hand at work this week, and couldn't ride or race. Not sweet. Me and Jared headed out Friday to his friend Bart's house in Lancaster. Jared ate more cookies on the way to the race than I have eaten in the last 2 years. For real. The line at the Breezewood subway was less than 4 people for the first time ever, and Jared was stoked.
We got to Bart's house and chilled for an hour or so before crashing hard.
Bart lives 2 exits away from Mount Joy, which was a lot easier than leaving Pittsburgh at 530 am. Totally awesome of him to let us crash.
The race: 70 degrees and sunny. Should make for the perfect race right?

There were 3 teams with 5 or 6 guys. All major players. The day looked up when I saw Hebe riding toward me! Totally surprised, it was a relief to have another teammate there. We started into a headwind, turned into a crosswind, climbed into a crosswind and finished into a headwind. Get it? The first lap had an attack that I tried to cover and got into the middle and just couldn't bridge it. Then Ramon blew up the lead group anyway and we all came back. Bad move pushing it so hard with so little of a warmup. Mental note.

From there all the teams took turns launching their guys and trying to make stuff stick. I was hanging out towards the back just trying to stay on and maybe recover some. There was a crazy gnarly crash that somehow I managed to miss most of. I had to chase on with a few dudes to catch the main field again. Hebe missed the crash only to flat out a lap later. I would have given him my wheel due to the world of pain that I was in, but it was 10 speed and the downhill and wind were so fast, it would have just given him a ride to the car.

With a few laps to go, Jared attacked to bridge up to a guy and managed to hold it for the rest of the race. This was such a relief to me, cause it gave me every right to just suck wheels and sit in. Jared is seriously ever impressive. I hung in until the climb on the last lap and managed to get into a small group of three which got caught on the fast descent. I got dropped on the descent a few times, I don't know what is wrong with me, but my terminal velocity is seriously like 40mph then I am spun out and hurting. I need to work on that.
Jared ends up with 8th (they paid up to 7th). I think I managed 15th. 60 or so starters 16 finishers. I wish I had a bit more to give, but I guess I am happy just to avoid the crashes and finish. Wish Hebe wouldn't have flatted.

On the way home Jared and I were talking and I said that I think that if I punched
Hacker in the face as hard as I could, it wouldn't phase him. Jared called him and asked and he said "probably not, definitely not during a race." Gnarly tough, reminds me of my Dad who I once saw put a butter knife through his hand.

I think that this was a good workout and a lesson in the pain to come this year. Hopefully I can fix a few things with myself to be a bit more competitive and help out a bit more. Maybe Ill even learn how to bridge a gap!

After the long drive home I went to an easter egg hung organized for my Somali Bantu refugee neighbors/friends. It was really cute. Haji and Muya were really upset that I keep not winning these bike races that I go to. Someday. haha

Monday, April 10, 2006

Philly 2 day day 2: aka "grey skies are going to clear up"

I was up at 615am for some reason. Maybe cause I knew there was only 8 pancakes in the fridge, or maybe cause there was sweet coffee to drink, or actually cause I had to clean my whole bike after the grime fest of yesterday's race.

We ate and rolled out in kind of a rush. I didn't realize we were leaving so soon and got totally frazzled about my missing glove. It had velcro on it and I know somebody is going to find it in their chamois or something. Whatever.

Bike path ride to the race in time to watch the women finish. It was still kind of chilly when they were racing. Jared showed up and proceeded to have a bunch of stuff go really wrong. Like: flatting on his tubular, actually it just totally blowing out. Then Fred was like "yeah dude borrow my new carbon wheel" but the freehub was kind of gnarled and we couldn't get a cassette onto it. Jared had to race with his training back wheel.

We had mad dudes in the race, ill try alphabetical by last name: babik, billet, graff, hacker,hebe, kincaid, martin, stubna, ... I really think that is it, sorry if I forgot. Good thing Dave Mitchell rode down to watch or else Fatty wouldn't have had shoes to wear (my worst nightmare come true!)...

The race started fast, and was pretty fast in the middle and then ended really fast. I felt pretty good. Its weird racing out there where I don't know who a single person is. I'm sure in a few more races Ill get to know some of the key players or whatever, but I only know a few dudes and they are on my team.. haha. There were a few promising moves. I felt good, but for some reason I was really hesitant to go with anything or try to bury myself bridging up to anything. Maybe next time. I nailed it a few times on the hill to close gaps or chase dudes down, and man do those freaking wheels go fast. Like really fast. I have like 3 memories from the race:
- being happy my hands worked well enough to drink a bottle
- realizing the one dude we were supposed to watch was off the front and burying myself to get up to the front to chase him down, but I guess everybody wanted to be on his wheel, so they chased him down first.
- geronimo saying "stay up here" when I was going backwards after said effort. Then Im like "oh my god there are only 5 laps left!!!"
- having a good spot with 1 to go until some huge dude leaned on me and scared me away

Oh well. Good times were had, I thought maybe I would sneak into the top 20 overall. I doubt it though, well see.
Jared won overall, Hacker snuck into the break and ended up with 3rd overall, Geronimo not trying on Saturday and getting 5 overall, and stubna with the 10th! Pretty freaking sweet.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Philly 2 day, day 1

After riding for 2 hours in pouring rainon Friday, the sun came out and we left in 65 degree sun for the 5 hour trip to Colin's house. I didn't even think to bring shorts. 3 Cannondales on the roof rack looked pretty P-R-O.

Saturday AM had gourmet pancakes. For real, Colin's reputation for being a chef was spot on. Totally awesome. Also some "Caffeinated Cyclist" coffee... Cant go wrong there right?

Oh the race?
What hell! I could end it there.
41 degrees and pouring rain. Not like in Ohio where it was only pouring rain for the first half, but the whole thing was pouring rain. There was a pond on the course that some guys were asking if they needed a permit to fish in! Seriously though, this was as awful as it can get. 4 degrees colder and there would have been ice, so it would have been cancelled.

Lucky for me I had to ride Friday in the pouring rain, so I thought to myself "no way I am going to be unprepared for this if it rains tomorrow." I had my rain pants, cape, booties, the whole deal for my warm up. This didn't help 4 minutes into the race when I was fully saturated and totally frozen. Race of attrition anybody??

Jared took a flyer at like mile 3 and somehow it stuck (somehow = man that dude is pretty tough). This left us all just grabbing wheels on bridge attempts. I felt as good as somebody who is borderline hypothermic can feel. A group of 5 got off the front of the main pack, with Fergie, Fred, and Stubna. Fergie got popped after the bridge, and Fred flatted (Also, we rode after the race and Mike had glass in his tired, if it had been like 10 minutes longer he wouldn't have finished either!!!!). They had about 30 seconds on what was left of the field. I felt good and somehow we split it up to be in about an 8 - 10 man group. Colin, Hacker, Me and somehow kincaid came up out of nowhere. This was good. I tried to keep the pace up so what was left of the field wouldn't see us again. Hacker took a flyer with 2 to go but got caught. Stefan and I just tried to keep the pace up for the sprint, which I think Colin got 2nd in.

After the race I thought I might die. No seriously. Its good to know I can do a 50 mile race taking just 1 sip of water and 1 gu. My hands stopped working half way through, I was shifting with my pinkies. When I hit bumps I wasn't sure if I was actually holding onto my handlebars or not. Pretty scary. Fred lent me a warm jacket to ride back to Colin's house in. Man did that help. I was impressed that Colin had the dexterity to unlock his door!

The same 3 inches of exposed skin that got a weird suntan last week (above the bootie, below the knee warmer), was literally PURPLE when we got back to Colin's. Mike and I both had these weird red spots all over our hips. I thought bike racing was supposed to be healthy? jeeez.

Dinner = "buritto Loco", which was so crazy I couldn't finish it. I had a decaf Americano for dessert. We cruised around for 1:15ish after the race, because of course it stopped raining and the roads were dry.

"To outfit an army," is an expression that you hear sometimes. Colin could seriously outfit a cycling army. We were drying all our clothes and he brought out like 5 pairs of gloves, tons of booties and jackets and stuff for our cool down ride. Its funny for me to think that a 1:15 minute ride averaging 16 miles an hour was a cool down recovery ride, but I guess when you aren't in Pittsburgh anything is possible. We looked awesome all in our kits on our bikes, Ill post pics later.

- Pancakes are good
- Peanut butter and coffee
- Colin is a great host
- Jared
- MGGPOAC (Meredith Group GPOA Cannondale) rocks the 2nd,5th,9thish,11thish,13ithish,15thish
- 40+ dudes start and 20ish finish!
- Sorry for bumping into you Hebe!
- Colin is a sweet host
- Brokeback mountain was better than crash for those of us secure enough in our manhood to watch it.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Totally gnarly race weekend!!!!

Saturday April 1 2006. Tour of Richland county.
Kralldiggler totally bummed his parents blinged out car to cart our asses to Ohio for the race. SWEET. And he bought a dozen bagels too. Seriously does it get better? Car talk was a bit fuzzy on the way down, which was not so sweet. My caffeine weaning was put to use by drinking coffee the morning of the race. Man I was probably so annoying talking about nothing. Stubna showed up on his new bike finally. He test rode it the night before by going 3 miles to the Quiet Storm with me.

The race was sweet. Big hill, gnarly rollers, crazy tailwind section, then back up the big hill. 10 mile loops, 5 laps. The first time we hit the rollers there were just crazy attacks. I remember wondering what the hell was wrong with me. I went with a move and the counter move from that went. God is that painful. Stubna got in that one. It is a weird contentment you have when you are in total agony, everything hurts and you cant breath, and your teammate gets in the move. Like maybe I could have been there if he wasn't, but you get kind of complacent or something. Whatever, 6 guys off the front, Im not one of them.

Inferno, the team that totally bitch slapped us 2 weeks ago only had 2 guys and they missed the move. A few others missed it too, so there was a good chase effort on, but not nearly enough. I spent the remaining laps trying to whittle the field down on the hill and the rollers (the race was 2:15, the break went at 14 minutes in!!). I figured the field would come to a field sprint, which I am king of losing so I might try to knock some guys off.

Last lap: I was giving everything I had on every roller, just trying to get away, work on sustained efforts, make myself feel good despite missing the break... ... When we come up on something not sweet. The break was at 5 men as far as I knew, and I look up to see the long torso of my teammate! bummmmmmer. He was in a world of pain for sure. He told me his gears weren't working well throughout the race and he was limited to only the 11-19. And as a character voucher, he wasn't telling anybody else that after the race or on the phone in the car home when he was asked how he did. Very cool. A few duets went real fast and I got I think 3rd or 4th in the field, so like 8th or 9th or something? I was happy.

BOB EVANS HAS GOOD PANCAKES!!! for real. I think I have only been to a Bob Evan's like once before. I don't remember it. I figured it was like Denny's or whatever and you get crappy ass frozen pancakes made in a factory 5000 miles away. Not sweet. Bob served up 3 GIANT multigrain cakes for 3.99. I was stoked. No real maple syrup, but I had honey and they had giant things of grade A honey which went really well.

Kralldiggler got 4th in the 4 field. YEAH DOGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mingo #1
Daylight savings. This is not sweet when you have to get up at 7, really 6. Its less sweet when you are on time despite daylight savings and you totally slice into your hand while slicing a bagel. Lots of blood. Every time I cut myself or crash I tell myself to buy a nice first aid kit. Instead I make do with bandages and neosporin or whatever and the neosporin always disappears.

2 hour ride down with electric tape and cotton balls tape to my hand. We show up in time to register pin numbers and line up. Pretty good 1/2/3 field, maybe 40 or so riders. My first race with 5 other teammates. Awesome. I think we did a good job of riding together. I got into a 6 man move with 1 other teammate. We got chased down, I wont say by whom. One monster from our break, who was away when I bridged up stayed off for the win. Stubna made it up to him with 3 others. 4 man group off the front, Mike gets 3rd, Jared gets 5th winning the field, Jake gets 6th and STEEVO GETS 3rd IN A FIELD SPRINT OF MORE THAN 3 PEOPLE!!@!!!!! I BEAT PEOPLE IN A FIELD SPRINT.. FAST PEOPLE!!!

2 hour ride home with Jake, the whiner and patty brings in a full century before watching the tour of Flanders and power gnoshing. SWEET. Mad props to the teammates, Riff was on it in his break, Dougie fresh was so ready to roll all day, Glenn sprinted in the end and got 2nd in the field!! yeah baby.