There have been a couple of events since my last post. The first being the Grampian Challenge. I had been looking forward to this race all year. Its a 1 loop course that mixes mountain biking and gravel roads. It takes place on the same terrain that I do a large amount of my training on. The race started out OK, I was in a good group of riders. Everything was fine until we got to Bald Mountain. I was doing an s turn by Harmon road that goes slightly downhill. As I made the right turn I got kicked over the handlebars. I ended up crashing directly on my face. My sunglasses jammed into the bridge of my nose and a rock or something went through my upper lip. The outcome was pretty nasty as you can see in the pic below. I had originally thought it was a rider error that caused the crash but as I was picking myself up off the dirt I saw my rear wheel was out of my bike. The skewer had loosened and the bike basically stopped dead causing the accident. This has happened a few times in the past but never caused this sort of an outcome. I've tried different skewers and tensions but apparently it didn't work.
I ended up in the emergency room for 3 hours getting stitches in the face. The doctor couldn't use any numbing in my face because the needle was too big to fit in the small amount of skin in my lip. She did 13 stitches (10 outside, 3 inside) without any pain killers. I couldn't take anything either because I drove myself to the emergency room. So it was au natural. What a strange feeling having your face pulled around with string.
Huge thank you to Jarod and Shaun for stopping and wasting your race on me. Also another person stopped but I never got his name. And thank you Bob (utabintarbo) for the ride back to Addison. That could have been a crappy ride back to the parking lot.
The worst part of the accident was still yet to come. I ended up getting a severe mouth infection and had canker sores all over inside my mouth from the Bald Mountain dirt. I was on liquid foods but they also couldn't be too salty or my mouth would be on fire. The pain was horrible. I was put on very strong pain killers and antibiotics for over 2 weeks. I had to use liquid lidocaine in my mouth to ease the pain. Sleeping was pretty difficult from the pain.
Needless to say, my training for a few weeks really sucked. Intervals on Vicodin don't work so well. It took me a good week to just have strength to ride more than 30 minutes and then another week to start doing intervals of any type. This put me about a week and a half out from Iceman and well under trained. My power output was down a good 10%.
Also during this time I bought a new frameset. Having the skewer fall out 4 times with the last time costing my face, I decided I didn't want to risk it. I know a lot of you are probably think I'm crazy and over reacting but I don't care. That shit hurt and I'll have a scar on my face for the rest of my life because of it. If I had gotten hurt worse, the hospital bills would probably be more expensive than the frame I bought. I took all the components off my other bike and put them on the new Niner Air 9 RDO. For the most part the bike fits pretty much the same. I just need a different seatpost. The one from the other bike isn't the same size diameter and the one from my CX bike doesn't have a setback which makes me feel close to the handlebars.
Moving on to Iceman...
The goal for Iceman was to just get a decent seed time for next year. Being that I haven't done Iceman before I didn't have one and I would have to race in later wave with mostly beginner riders. So Todd Powers thought it would be best to race the pro class since I have a Cat1 license and I'd have a more open course. I had my registration changed although I was pretty nervous. I knew I wouldn't be at my best and I was already going to get my ass kicked. Also I only got 1 or 2 rides on the new bike and wasn't 100% comfortable.
The pro group had a stacked field. The group included Olympian's, World Cup racers, and previous year winners, as well as Jorden Wakely and other fast local guys. My goal was just to hang on as best I could and see what was possible. The start of the race was pretty fast. We were spinning hard down the pavement. When we got to the dirt the whole field was still pretty well together. About 2 miles in there was a crash in the sand that separated the fastest pro guys from the rest of us. We got tangled up for a little bit but no one got hurt and we picked up and went on. I felt ok but not great. I just didn't have the same top end power that I had about 5 weeks before. I ended up with Wes Sovis and another rider for the most of the race. We would go back and forth throughout the race. The course is an awesome course. It's fast and not overly technical so if you have alot of power you can do very well here. The mix of double and singletrack make the course great for everyone. At about 1:10 the top female pro's came through. The 3 of us tried to hang on their wheel for a bit but those chicks are fast! Just like in the men's field, there was some of the top female riders in the world Including Emily Batty and Georgia Gould.
As the race went on we caught a couple of other riders but that was about it. Some of the hills on that course are steep! One in particular, Anita's hill, was very steep. I felt like I was climbing a wall. The crowd support when you get closer to the finish is great. They are all drunk lining the course agging you on. It really pumps you up for the finish. No one recognized me having a beard, new bike, and new helmet, which was good or I would have been covered in beer. I finished in 2:02:36 which is ok for a first year. I was hearding that the course was about 10 minutes slower than previous because they added some new signletrack sections. My finish time should put me in the 1,2, or 3rd wave next year which is fine. Had I raced one of those waves this year I would have ended up 3rd with my finish time. So next year I'll put more focus into the race and I should be in contention for my age category, which will be 35 next year. The party afterward was great too. The problem is that it's a point to point race so I needed a ride back to Kalkaska to get my car. Thanks to Randy for the ride. We just met that day and he drove me 30 miles back to my car.
So next up are a couple more cross races then a couple weeks off before starting to build up for 2013. Here's a couple more pics taken by Julie McGraw of me at Iceman.