Not as OK as I thought I was

I found out today that the emotional scars from being hit my a car at Rouge Roubaix are going to last a lot longer than the physical ones that are visibly fading. This morning, I went to the orthopedic doc for a follow-up visit. Everything’s healing about like he’d expect, but he does want me to go to some physical therapy in order to take care of the knots in my right glute, quad, and hamstring muscles. No big deal.

I left to doctor’s office to run another errand- go to the William Sonoma Outlet and get a new 13″ saute pan. On the way, I stopped at Starbucks. I got my coffee and was on the way back out to the car. The parking lot was super busy and, at that location, is always kind of a clusterufck. There was a guy in a Taurus partially behind my car while he waited on another car to leave so he could take its spot. As I was walking around towards the back of his car, I dropped my keys. I bent down to pick them up, and as I began to stand, suddenly, there was a Taurus bumper/rear fender in my face & bumping my arm. It was just enough of a nudge for me to spill coffee on his car and my arm.

Before you get upset about people not paying attention (again), I have to defend the guy a little- he’d seen me walking towards the back of his car at “getting stuff done” pace. Then, when he went to back up to let the other car out, he thought I was already clear of his car… not squatting down in his blind spot. Honestly, I could have easily made the same mistake myself, so I can’t possibly be mad at him. He had his window down and was visibly freaked out when I jumped up and gasped as the car made contact with me.

The fact that it was an honest accident (rather than someone being incredibly negligent and not paying attention) didn’t prevent me from having a nervous breakdown once I was inside my car. All of the memories of how terrifying it was to feel like I was at the mercy of an unstoppable mechanized deadly weapon came flooding back into my head. I sobbed for a solid 5 minutes like I did back when I made this post about losing hope in humanity. Like that post, I took a photo, too, but… eh… it’s bad.

I couldn’t stop and had to go home to pull myself together without running my errand to William Sonoma. I just wanted to stay home and hide, but I eventually forced myself to complete my mission a little while later. Retail therapy.

I’ve had a lot of people say that I’m brave for posting stories like this. You know, if I only posted the awesome things that happen during my quest for cycling glory, this blog would be a lie. This is a significant hurdle to overcome in my journey… one that I’m obviously not anywhere near being over just yet. It’s not the first or last (though hopefully, it’s the worst). Posting here has been a good outlet for me to get these things out of my head when they happen, and I appreciate you all listening.

Devil’s Advocate (sort of)

I wasn’t going to get into this, but it’s getting ridiculous… the whole “UCI/forbidden race” thing.

First off, if you’re a rider with a domestic licence (not an International license), this rule doesn’t apply to you. Lots of people I see getting up in arms on the internets and posting “OMG, NOW I CAN’T GO TO MY FAVORITE UNSANCTIONED RACE” are people who don’t even hold an international license. Calm down, put your pitchfork away, and go race.

Also, I realize that there’s a statement in the UCI rulebook that allows USA Cycling to grant exceptions for unsanctioned races that allows UCI-licenced  riders to attend the excepted race with no consequence, and that USA Cycling, for whatever reason, isn’t doing that. Ok, sure, it’s a jerk move. I won’t deny that.

I’m not a professional, but I do hold a UCI license. I needed it for participation in the Master’s Worlds race (and will need it if I participate in any of the UCI-level ProXCT races this year). You need one to participate in any UCI-Governed race, which, in many pro mountain bikers’ situations (Amanda Carey’s last couple of years racing NUE is a shining example), means that you may only go to non-sanctioned MTB races, but then compete in UCI-sanctioned cyclocross races. On the other hand, you may be a World Cup level rider (like Amanda’s teammate, Krista Park) . Either way, if you’re served with a 1 month ban for an unsanctioned race, you could potentially miss out on the UCI-level races.

So, lets get into the meat of the issue here.

Rules.

USA Cycling is following the rules handed down to them by the UCI. If you’re living the dream of being a pro cyclist, you’re incredibly lucky, gifted, and hard-working. You also have to follow the rules that govern your profession. If choosing your races based on sanctioning body is the WORST thing that ever happens to you in your career, do you realize how much better you still have it over the 99.9% or people who can’t be professional cyclists?
If your livelihood is soooooo harmed by this rule, you could always find a 9-5 job that isn’t governed by USAC. It’s like a long-haul trucker whose employer speed-governs his truck at 65 mph. Sure, he could make more money and haul more loads if he could go 70, but he is paid to follow his employers rules, and that one, as much as he hates it, it one he has to follow. I’m fighting and training as hard as I possibly can to even get a taste of “pro” cycling. I’d sell my freaking SOUL to have your job. If getting even the smallest of paychecks because I’m awesome at riding a bike meant that I had to abide by some rules I didn’t agree with, then WHO CARES, I’M A PRO CYCLIST AND THAT MAKES ME REALLY HAPPY!!!

If you’re not pro, but you happen to have a UCI License, then you have to just deal with it. Until you get a paycheck, this is an expensive hobby. One that’s got its own set of rules. Pick and choose your races so that you’re not “banned” from competition if your “A” race of the season happens to be a USA-Cycling sanctioned race. That’s what I’m facing. It sucks, but it’s not the end of the world.

One of the big issues I see is that USA Cycling hasn’t said how, when, and at what level they plan on enforcing the rule. Are they googling every rider on the roster at sanctioned races to make sure that all of the ones holding a UCI license are “eligible”? Probably not. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, are they leaving it up to the competitors? In other words, if I race the Sun Valley Enduro (non-sanctioned) the weekend before Marathon Nationals (which uses part of the same course), then win Marathon Nationals, is it up to someone who I beat to protest to the officials that I did something illegal the weekend before and should be disqualified?

Because, let’s face it… the best training for a race is racing. If the ladies I beat at Marathon Natz follow the rules and don’t race the previous weekend’s enduro, then I gained an advantage over them by breaking the rules and racing an unsanctioned race. On the darker side of things, unsanctioned races have no doping controls. You could be full-on positive for PEDs in those competitions. I can see that as one of USA Cycling’s incredibly short list of  legitimate reasons for wanting their thumb on all of the racing in the US.

Also along the lines of enforcement, not only is it unclear as to how USA Cycling plans on “finding” riders who break the rules, it’s also unclear as to how they plan on doling out fines & bans. Will they be cumulative (1 month & a fine for each unsanctioned race)? Or, is it just an immediate “you’re banned from competition for one month” following an unsanctioned race?

So, before you post hateful things and tell me I don’t understand how bad this is for cycling and for promoters, I’ll just tell you now, YES, I get it. I think that it sucks shit for anyone with a UCI license to have to potentially make a choice between races because of the rule, and that USA Cycling could probably find something else to do with their time and energy besides attempting to monopolize all racing in the US. I think it’s terrible that promoters will have to pay more money to get a “blessing” from USA cycling unless they want to be “forbidden.”

I also agree with the Team Director of Sho-Air, who has some very good points in regards to what USA Cycling ISN’T doing right now (copy & paste from here):

Team Director Ty Kady welcomes the opportunity to take a stand.
“I’ve been pushing Scott for several years to really make USAC stand up for
mountain bikers and the sport here in the US. This is a perfect opportunity
for USAC to support all their licensed members by giving the UCI pushback
on a rule that clearly doesn’t work with the US model of mountain biking.
However they have yet to make a stand against the UCI. As the promoter
of two Pro XCT and two PRO UET eventsin 2013, what’s even more
grievous is USAC offers no overall prizemoney for their Pro XCT or Pro UET
series champion, even though they claim them to be the “premier” US
Mountain bike series. They offer no financialsupport for promoters, who
actually do host a UCI event on their behalf, yet now they want to tell
racers when and where and for whom they can race their bikes? That
doesn’t sit well with me, especially when it’s obvious they are doing
nothing to bolster their own series so riders can try and earn income.

However, Rules are rules. Hopefully they’ll be changed for the better, but, until then…

rules

 

Ouachita Challenge Race Report

You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything about training last week. Basically, last weekend, I had a wicked sore throat, and it developed into a full-on upper respiratory infection by Monday afternoon. I was on the couch/walking dead for most of the week before I finally started to turn the corner on Thursday. I was left with a lingering cough and just enough head congestion to produce epic snot rockets (both of which are still lingering… I woke up coughing and snotty this morning).

The original plan for the race was for Ryan, Matt, and me to board the dogs and all three pack up & camp at Todd “Antique Gun Show” Henne’s   property that sits just off the Womble trail about 20 minutes from the Race start (includes a sweet pump track as well). However, Thursday evening, Ryan stabbed himself in the thumb meat with a knife while trying to break into his Apple Time Capsule to replace the hard drive. After bleeding some and freaking out enough to pass out, Ryan figured out on Friday that he couldn’t use his right thumb to shift. So, he stayed in Memphis to road race, and Matt and I went to Arkansas.

The drive is always entertaining until Matt gets so crunk that he makes himself bonk.

 

We set up camp and rode a little bit of the Womble before going to packet pickup. We later discovered that there was a kennel full of barking dogs within a mile or two of Todd’s place, and we got to listen to at least one or two bark at most hours of the night. Matt was in his hammock with earplugs, so he was pretty cozy despite the noise. I can’t wear earplugs, because then I don’t sleep because I’m worried I’ll miss my alarm. So, between dogs and coughing, it was a long night.

Sunday morning, we woke up and immediately got in the car to go to Oden school for the start. Along the way, we stopped to drop a cooler full of bottles at Sims (the midpoint of the race course). After a little oatmeal and coffee, we lined up early so we’d have a good spot on the start line (the “neutral rollout” of the OC Race is pretty wild, and with Matt riding singlespeed, it was a move of both safety and strategy)

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(Photo courtesy of the Ouachita Challenge/Ouachita Cycling Club FB page- for anyone wondering, Matt’s been MTB racing in a Brickhouse jersey this season since his usual team doesn’t support MTB racing. I told him it’s like a season of “tryouts” for getting in on the actual sponsor support next season)

As usual, the start was a hammerfest of bar-bumping and tire rubbing. Once the lead truck pulled out of the way, I was well-positioned around the other women who wanted to stick to the front of the race- Jessica Rawlings and another woman in a Dallas Bike Works kit. I realized (thanks to my new MTB Quarq powermeter) that as we approached the first climb, I was going a little too hard. The thing that kills a lot of people (myself included) at Ouachita is how badly you can blow yourself up at the start and on the first climb. I learned that the hard way, so this year, when Jessica and the Dallas woman pulled off with the lead men, I hung back and rode the climb at my own pace as the 3rd woman. I lost sight of Jessica, but the other woman came back to me about 3/4 of the way up. I knew I couldn’t chase Jessica at that point, so I settled in with the plan to slowly chip away at her lead as she got tired over the next 50 or so miles.

Once I was mostly up Brushy Mountain (first of 3 Ouachita Trail mountains), I was gettin’ it down the trail when I wonked my rear wheel on a rock. It started to feel a little mushy… then went flat. I made my way to the side of the trail and did what was probably the fastest trailside tube installation of my life. All the while, other ladies and riders were blowing past me (including Matt, who went by just before I got my wheel back on). It was early, so without panicking, I used the next two mountains (Blowout and Chalybeate) climbs to pick my way back through all but one of the women who had passed me earlier, landing me on the gravel/road section in 3rd position with Matt, who was somewhere in the top 10 in Singlespeed. Soon after, some geared guys came by us, and I left him to spin incessantly while I worked with them all the way to Sims.

At Sims, I did a quick bottle swap at the cooler and got back on the road. Only a couple of the guys I’d been with were close by, so I hopped in with them. We lost one guy on a hill, so me and a man on a Fisher swapped pulls until suddenly, the Dallas Bike Works woman was in sight. He pulled off and said he’d stay out of the way of our race. I caught her rear wheel just as we got back on the short section of Womble singletrack before the next aid station. When we came to a short, muddy hill, I took the soft line to the left and made the pass. With another 25 miles or so of racing ahead, I didn’t need a full-on attack, so I just stuck with the “slightly faster than you’re going” effort for the next few minutes and through the next aid to another gravel road section.

When I came out on the gravel, I could hear another rider on my wheel. Thinking it was her, I didn’t look back for a long time. When I felt like I’d pulled long enough, I checked over my shoulder and saw that the person behind me was actually the guy on the Fisher. He came around to take a pull and said something along the lines of , “you put the wood to her back there on the trail.” We’d only covered a mile or two at the most since I’d made the pass, and she was nowhere in sight.

At that point, I wasn’t feeling like a rockstar. I’ve been racing just long enough to realize that the “I’m gonna cramp later” twitch in my quads and the distance left to race was a combination that needed to be dealt with carefully. I didn’t have the gas to go for an all-out chase for the win, but I did have plenty in the tank to ride tempo in order to stay a steady 2nd and to catch 1st if she were to totally fall apart or have a major mechanical. So, I pounded some more Roctane and did just that. Jessica, however, was feeling like a rockstar, so I ended up holding on to 2nd place and finishing about 20 minutes after her (my flat change was only ~5 minutes, so it wasn’t really that pivotal in the results). My time of 5:40 is 15 better than my best effort on that course, so, given A)an upper respiratory infection, and B) this one me, exactly one month ago (to the hour) from the finish of Ouachita:

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…I can’t let myself be too disappointed with not getting the win I was hoping to get as a season opener. After the race, I was still feeling the effects of my car accident. Essentially, with the physical stress of riding a mountain bike for that long, my right sacroiliac joint feels like an aluminum bike with a weak weld undergoing frame flex. It’s got me back on the ibuprophen and ice for a couple of days before I get back to my usual schedule to prep for the Whiskey 50.

Product Review: CamelBak Spark 10 LR

I got pretty excited when I saw that CamelBak was making an LR (lumbar relief) pack in a women’s model- the Spark 10 LR. Back when I used to run Ultras, I found that the women’s hydration packs (the ones I liked were made by Nathan) seemed to stay in place better as a function of both the shape/placement of the main shoulder straps as well as the up & down adjustability of the stabilizing strap across the chest.

I’ve been using the original model Charge LR, which is a nice, light pack that holds a 70oz LR reservoir. The LR comes into play with the reservoir shape- it sits low in the pack and  and parallel to the ground rather than vertically from your shoulderblades to your low back. As a result, the weight of your water is carried more by your hips & pelvis instead of your shoulders. I’m a big fan of the design, and I also purchased a Volt LR which is more “all day” sized and holds a 100oz LR reservoir. I’ve yet to go for a ride epic enough to call for that one, though.

My initial impression of the pack was that it’s a nice piece of equipment. It’s got all the bells & whistles of the men’s pack, just in a smaller package… a little too small for me, actually. At 5’6″ I found that with the shoulder straps adjusted long enough to let the pack sit on my hips, the chest strap is as low as it can possibly go, and still maybe a tiny bit too high up. I wouldn’t really call the sizing a downfall to the pack because if you’re smaller, you’re likely going to be super happy with how well it fits you. It’d just be nice to have something on the Camelbak site that’s like, “Hey, this thing is made for people 5’4″ and under. Stick to the other pack, lady.”

The space available in this pack is nice. They’ve enlarged the “wing” parts of it over the previous version, so it’s a lot easier to hold more food and get to them without much fuss. The back storage is bigger, too, but there’s one small detail they overlooked- you have to unclip both sides of the back piece if you want to really get into it for something. First world problems-

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I was kinda disappointed in the over-the-shoulder hose routing. I thought that the up & under route of the original Charge was super smooth. That brings me to what I really see as the only super-downfall to this pack. The reservoir has to be shoved in face-first from the “back” of the pack, and, in order to secure it, you have to blindly try and hook the front of the reservoir onto a loop that’s underneath it. No hydration pack is super quick & easy to refill, but this one is downright tedious.

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Unfortunately, they’ve carried that design over to the new version of the Charge, as well as to the Volt. I’m not so concerned with the Volt, because I’m not likely to be in a hurry when I’m using it. Along the same lines, if you aren’t expecting to need a refill mid-race (which is likely the case for an XC distance event), this isn’t a big deal for you. However, if you’re doing longer, endurance-type events where you’ll need to refill during the race, just know that it’s not as fast as a lot of other packs.

So, the person who is going to love this pack is smaller than me, and doing rides/races that won’t involve a refill. I’m a little disappointed in it, but, then again, I’m also picky as hell. It is a nice pack, but I’m going to stick with my old Charge LR because of the sizing, hose routing, and ease of use.

 

Split Personality

Commence to rambling…

Like I mentioned in my last post, my weekend training wasn’t the usual long rides & intervals. Next weekend, whether I’m ready or not, the race season starts with the Ouachita Challenge. I did go on some nice recovery rides- Saturday, I squeezed one in before my favorite yoga class, and Sunday, I joined up with the Memphis Hightailers afternoon group ride. Combined with lots of foam rolling, my legs are feeling better from Friday’s cold & wet efforts.

Saturday night, we watched a special about Bradley Wiggins called a Year in Yellow (it’s a full-length documentary, and you can see it on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzmXvHHQzcs). It’s good- it shows the usual drama and triumph behind any great athlete’s journey to winning something like The Tour. However, the part that caught me off guard was something that Wiggins’ wife said about him early in the video. When asked to describe Bradley, she quickly asked back- “Which one?” To her, there were two different men- bike racer Bradley and normal person Bradley. Bike Racer Bradley is a “wanker” (I’m pretty sure that’s what she called him- they actually bleeped it out). He’s selfish, short tempered, doesn’t care about his family, etc. Normal Bradley is, well, a nice guy and a good father. Like a normal person.

I realize I’m not training for the Tour de France (hell, I don’t even get a paycheck yet), but this struck me because I’ve dealt with the same feelings. “Normal” me is kind, caring, and somewhat of a mommabird to those around me. However, when the goal to become as physically and mentally strong and focused as possible takes over your life, you can start to withdraw from those around you. I’ve struggled with it a lot- especially since I’ve quit working and turned my entire focus towards training and recovery. Training like it’s your job can make you feel like you’re unable to deal with everyday life and people. I don’t know if all pro/wannabe pro cyclists experience the same thing, but since hearing that comment from Wiggins’ wife, I take comfort in knowing it’s NOT just me.

I’m not saying I’m not happy with what I’m doing. Not in the least- I love doing this, and the gains I’ve made since I’ve stopped working have reinforced that as a good decision. Something about it, though, makes me want to hide from all of life’s other annoyances and responsibilities. It’s gotten worse since I was hit by the car at Rouge. Since I’m trying to make this my job (or at least get to where I can stop paying to participate in my expensive hobby), I can’t just quit for a while to let my fears subside. I can’t hide in a group. I can’t blow off training rides just because they make the joint between my pelvis and my ass ache as long as it’s fixable afterwards with some ice and ibuprofen. Whether or not I’m terrified of rearward-approaching vehicles or losing hope in humanity because no one cares about anyone else, as long as my body is physically able, the proverbial show must go on.

I choose to do that because I love bike racing. If I didn’t, there’s no way I’d willingly put myself through that sort of car-induced mental torture or participate in rides like the one on Friday. It’s just that this is harder than I expected- in all sorts of ways. I’m constantly amazed at what my body is capable of handling with the additional rest and recovery time, but that just means that the training is harder and more exhausting. No matter how much it hurts or how much I torture my brain with it, I like it, and I want more (I’m pretty sure that Bradley Wiggins would say the same thing). It’s just that kind, caring, nurturing, “normal” Andrea is not as readily available while that’s happening.

 

Cold, wet, and beautiful

Last night, I heard from Matt that a couple of pretty fast guys (local hero John King and used to be local hero but transplanted to Colorado Russ Griffin) were going out for a slow & steady long ride in the morning. I had a similar ride on my training schedule, so I figured I’d join them and add a little to the end if I needed any more saddle time.

When I met them this morning, it was actually a group of 8 at that point- a mix of all ages and abilities. Under sun and blue skies, we rolled out of the city limits north towards Shelby Forest (gorgeous, rolling old growth forest in the north end of the County). Rain was in the forecast, but at that point, it was nice, and everyone chatted and randomly pedaled harder than easy up some of the hills, only to coast at the top as the group caught up.

Two hours later, the rain had rolled into the Forest. At the top of one of the steep riverbluff hills, we stopped to regroup, and a majority of the riders decided they’d turn back early (you know- family obligations and whatnot). So, John, Russ, and I headed back into the forest in the rain to put in our allotted amount of work.

There’s something beautiful about riding with other fast, experienced riders. It’s quiet-  you avoid potholes early rather than yell and swerve about them, there’s less droning of freehub bodies, and no one is breathing harder or shifting more than they need to. Everything is intuitive. You read each others body language and decide on a pace without verbal discussion. For a while, Russ and John pulled me around. It wasn’t that I was having a hard time, it’s just that they’d silently decided that it’d be faster that way.

Once we were headed back towards home (still in the rain), we started to share the work in a continuously rotating paceline. We were cold, totally saturated, and every time you’d rotate from one rear wheel to the other, you’d have to pass your face through a roostertail or two of road water. On top of that, I found the sound of most cars approaching us from behind in the rain to be utterly terrifying. Not only did we share the work, we were equal partners in misery as well.

As we came back into civilization, we exchanged our “what gratuitous act are we going to do to warm up when we get home” plans and joked at how our hands had turned into useless ice flippers. I think we also shared the tiny feeling of smugness that, while others turned back or stayed inside today, in fulfilling our “local hero” obligations, we’d ridden through it like it didn’t matter and come out faster and a little tougher on the other end.

That ride was the perfect end to the pre-Ouachita buildup. I have a rare two-recovery-day weekend, so I’m going to enjoy some yoga and lots of time with the foam roller trying to encourage my right glute to continue unknotting itself. I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about Ouachita, so hopefully the healing process stays on track.

 

 

Hostile Takeover

In an ironic twist of events, my legs have somehow disconnected from my aching sacrum ans well as my brain’s sudden meltdown into a quivering heap of lost hope in humanity. During the past two days of training, my system has done a 180 from it’s normal function of brain not listening to whining legs. It’s like the exact opposite of this:

 

I appreciate everyone’s concern and suggestions in my previous post. Group rides are great, and the atmosphere of the one I went on last week was incredibly accepting and fun. They’d be an excellent way of getting back into road riding with less worry about drivers “not seeing me.” However, a coach/training plan isn’t usually compatible with a group ride, and, as long as I’m physically able to do so, I have to set my meltdowns aside and get on the HTFU train to improving my fitness.

So, my legs have taken over like they’ve got a mind of their own. It’s akin having Sargeant Hartman in my quads. I’m hoping that when the Ouachita Challenge rolls around in a little less than 2 weeks, I’ll be healed enough that I can put them to good use and negotiate the steep and rocky parts of the Ouachita Trail. If not, I’m gonna have a bad time. If it all works out, I can pull off a win at a race where I’ve had plenty of bad luck in the past. Last year’s winner, Carey Lowery, is not on the entry list, but Jessica Rawlings, who beat me by minutes last year, is going to be there.

In an attempt to not have repeated breakdowns while road riding, yesterday I took to waving and saying “thank you” to every driver that took care by slowing down, giving space, and waiting until the road ahead was clear when passing. It took my mind off of the other 50 that passed too close and/or fast on blind hills & whatnot. Focus on the positive, right?

Cheer up, Emo Kid

Training this weekend was, physically speaking, not a failure. I’ve still got sacroiliac pain, but, from what I understand, that sort of thing just takes a long time to heal. I’m going in for another checkup with the orthopedic doctor on Wednesday, and I plan on talking to him to make sure that everything I’m experiencing is normal with my sort of injury.

Unfortunately, as my physical scars are fading slowly, the psychological  impact of my accident is beginning to sink in. On Saturday, I went out for a road ride. I cried no fewer than 5 times. Why? People were being careless- they’d pass a little too close, or going into a blind turn or hill. One driver buzzed me at ~50mph because he/she wanted to pass when there was oncoming traffic. After the initial 5 seconds of adrenaline, I pulled off the road into a heap of snot and tears.

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None of these things are atypical for any road ride, and, aside from the buzzing incident, none actually put me into much danger. However, I’ve become acutely aware that a majority of people in existence just don’t care about anyone other than themselves. It’s ugly, and it makes me lose hope that I won’t get mowed down again because someone is too wrapped up in their own agenda to actually give a damn about the well-being of others. It’s like this quote posted by one of my Facebook friends about motorcycles:

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My tattoo artist, Joe Stamp, is still in the hospital because someone who wasn’t paying attention pulled out of a sidestreet and hit him while he was riding his motorcycle. He just had to have the lower half of one of his legs amputated (you can donate to his insane medical bills via this link: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/7SCd6. I’m guessing the amount that’s on there right now will pay for 1 or two days of his really long hospital stay, so chip in if you can)

At one point, about 5 miles from my house on the way home, I actually called for someone to come and pick me up. I almost couldn’t bear to think about any other human beings acting in a manner that would put other human beings lives in danger. However, a few minutes after I made the call, I texted back… (warning, I used the “F” word)

 

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So, I rode home. I didn’t cry again until I was back.

Sunday, I did a recovery ride mostly in Shelby Farms, and today, I’ve got a trainer workout (indoors). Tomorrow, I’ll get back out and try again. It’s all I can do at this point.

Insurance Companies and Bright Lights

Things are slowly getting back to normal for me.

Earlier this week, I had a meeting with an insurance agent from Progressive, the insurance company of the driver who hit me. Up until this point, I’d received a lot of advice and admonishments about how to handle the wreck/insurance situation. Everything from, “Call a lawyer and sue everybody for huge sums of $$” (most of facebook) to “You’ve got no reason to meet with them. Don’t do it” (my dad), and lots of people saying that I needed to be on my toes because I would be pressured to sign a settlement immediately and for less than what I “deserved.”

Thankfully, my experience was quite the opposite of any of those things.

The agent I met with was kind and genuinely concerned for my well-being. I know what some of you are thinking- I’m being naive. No, not really. She was, by far, the nicest and most helpful person I’ve dealt with (and she felt bad about asking if I was wearing dark clothing in our previous phone conversation). I’ve got a pretty good handle of when people are blowing smoke. So, it looks as if everything is in motion for getting my medical, equipment, and P&I (pain and inconvenience, which I had no idea even existed) taken care of, with her help.

As for riding, I’ve been getting back into it slowly. I can pedal at a moderate pace without any pain or discomfort. However, any hard efforts make my sacroiliac joint ache. According to the ortho doc I visited last week, everything is structurally intact, but there’s lots of soft tissue bruising. He also said that getting back to my normal activity at a rate that’s not uncomfortable is the best therapy for my type of injuries.
I did manage to get out with a group ride last night. I joined up with the Memphis Hightailers for an early-evening loop around Germantown. Being in a group feels a little safer to me for the time being, though I’m determined to not let solo-ride traffic anxiety deter me from getting on with training in the near future. I did make a “security blanket” purchase last week- Cygolite Hotshot 2W
I actually bought 2. Just in case. In case of what? I can’t really tell you, but so far it’s come in handy for when Matt went out for an evening ride while I was using light #1.

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So, the machine is slowly winding up again. Hopefully I’ll be back at cruising altitude in the not too distant future.

Follow-up…

I’m discovering another bad part of getting hit by a car is not only the actual injuries, but also the fact that you get to tell your story of “this is how some lady wasn’t paying attention and could have killed me” to no fewer than 5 insurance company employees in the days that follow. They are generally nice, but they ask loaded questions like, “were you wearing dark colored clothing?” and the like. I’m not afraid to admit, yesterday, all of the phone calls made me cry a little in the name of feeling sorry for myself.

Then again, I’m glad I’m not dead or paralyzed.

I’m relatively certain that I’ve found most of the damage to my equipment. The most glaring of the damage is that the steertube of my fork is cracked…

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Which essentially means that, at the ripe old age of 3 rides and 95 miles, the CAAD10 is currently unusable (frame integrity is yet to be determined- there is a lot of paint damage, and I’m taking it to the shop to check the alignment today). So, I’m once again without a road bike.

Prettymuch all of the rest of my equipment resembles my body- sliding down the road at however many mph we were accelerated to via bumper of a car is not kind to anything.

On a more positive note- I used my spare non-training time yesterday to make springrolls! An international market opened up near my house last year, so I’m trying to find new stuff to cook that involves interesting ingredients that I can find there. Now that I know the basics of the spring rolls, I’m gonna try some other rice-paper wrapped stuff. They have really good seafood up there, so I made these with gulf shrimp, spicy rice noodles, cucumbers, and carrots…

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