The Steamboat Massacre


It is now more than likely that when I cross the finish line that I am not going to be happy at all.  I am more than likely going to be disappointed in my performance.  I know that I will not be able to leave the kind of effort on the race course that would be reflective of the amount of time and dedication that I have put into the past 10-11 months.  And, it’s my stupid fucking fault.  Fail.

They say that the hardest part of Ironman is getting to the starting line in good physical condition.  I believe it.  I won’t at any time say that 75mi per week of running is easy.  It’s not.  The effort that it takes — or the perceived effort it takes — does come easier and easier with time.  But 75 miles is still 75 miles.  The pounding on the body remains the same.  Well, as one loses weight, the pounding does lessen a bit, however, it still doesn’t turn into a cake walk.

Now, what injuries may occur from training can be just bad luck, genetics or sometimes a lack of knowledge.  On the other hand, what injuries may occur outside of training, well, ,those can be mostly the result of one’s own decision.  We can make decisions knowing full well the risks involved, and perhaps, we know that sometimes the risks outweigh the rewards.  Steamboat was one of those times.

My mountain bike is a Santa Cruz Blur XC.  It has 4″ of front and rear suspension travel.  It’s a damn good bike, and it handles cross country (XC) terrain excellently.  What it’s not?  It’s not a downhill bike.

It was decided last week that Steamboat would be the place to ride last Saturday.  That would be to ride downhill (DH).  I would be riding DH with my XC bike.  Others have done it…so could I.  Except that…in many things I do…I tend to do it a certain way…all the way…as in, go big or go home.

Up early.  On the road heading north on Rt. 9.  Prety country — just like the rest of the most of the state of Colorado.  Sunscreen.  Passes.  Gondola up.

Going up means coming down.Going up means coming down.

The valley below.The valley below.

Not as steep as it looks.Not as steep as it looks.

Got to the top and took off in haste.  I should have lowered my seat, but didn’t.  Started to ride with two good ‘ole boys from Mississippi.  Oh, and … my brakes are soft.  There is air in my hydraulic lines that needs to be bled out.

Heading down the trail.  Doing ok.  Going over some bumps, I can feel that I’m too high.  I need to be further back and lower.  The problem is the seat, because it’s in the way.  Continuing on, went down a huge vertical rock face.  Now, if there was a section of the trail that I should have busted it.  This was the spot.  However, I made it down this 7’ rock face several times without incident throughout the afternoon.  The trail continued on to a left hand berm, where a pretty big hump followed.

Not being aware enough, I went over this hump too fast.  Seat comes up, hits me in the ass, which continues the forward rotation.  I must have rode the front wheel for only a second or two, but it felt like I rode endo-style on the front wheel for about 20yds.  Boom!  Damage done.  Thrashed my hip and the outside of my left leg.  My left elbow area took the worst of it.  Really gouged and thrashed.  Stung like hell.  I was just really surprised that my face was intact.

Continued to ride on.  Oh, the other thing … I’m riding with flat pedals as one would normally do for DH, but I’m riding with crappy plastic commuter pedals.  There’s no traction to them at all.  Plus, I’m riding in light hikers, because I didn’t have any flat soled sneakers.  All day, I felt like I was fighting just to keep my feet centered over the pedal axles.  I probably would have done better being clipped in like I usually am for XC.

Rode several more trails without incident.  I didn’t stop enough to take more photos, because some of the scenery was beautiful.  Riding through and amongst Aspen trees is really great.  It was just awesome.

The last run of the day was the doozie.  I’m not really sure what exactly happened.  What I remember is flying down the trail, and trying to get my right foot settled on the pedal.  Then there was a bump.  I grabbed for the brake, but it wasn’t soon enough.  I had too much speed, and I pretty much went over the front without riding the front wheel.

I landed on my front — mainly my chest and left hip and elbow.  It really knocked the wind out of me, and I was afraid that I broke my chest.  Fortunately, breathing came back, but I was pretty shaken up.  A mtb bad crash virgin, I was no longer.  I really screwed up my knees, and I worsened the condition of my left elbow.

The worst part of the day:  I put holes in my Arrogant Bastard jersey, my favorite.  😦

With the day over and the anger with myself increasing by the minute, I sat at the outside table trying not to move as the blood coagulated and the stinging continued.  Drove back to Blue River.  Stopped at Safeway and stocked up on med supplies.  Got back to the house.  Steak and corn and beer.  Started going down fast.  Soaked in the tub with some epsom salt — twice.  So tired and aching that I just crawled into bed.  Slept somewhat okay.  Soaked in hot water again in the morning.  Alcohol and neosporin and then dressed the wounds.

My training has been wrecked.  I’ve gone running twice since Saturday, and the worst pain is in my ribs.  They’re either badly bruised or cracked.  I can’t breathe as deeply as I normally could, and when I do take a deeper breath, it feels like a knife is laid flat against my ribs and pushed up into my pecs.  Although, yesterday, the pain seemed to have shifted down and to the left, and my mobility is a bit better than earlier in the week.  Yet, anything that involves engaging my core muscles really gets my attention.  I haven’t swum in a week.  I haven’t been on the bike in a week.  And, my two runs are slow as hell.  I can only hope that I have put in enough time prior to now, and then proceed with a reverse taper, of sorts, as I heal and get closer to Wisconsin.

Ready for alcohol and neosporinReady for alcohol and neosporin

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~ by jerseyquaker on August 14, 2009.

One Response to “The Steamboat Massacre”

  1. holy christ, man! when you do it, you do it. i’m sorry, but i had to laugh out loud when you said you thought you “broke your chest”. not broken ribs, not bruised lungs… broken chest. i’m sorry for your pain, but that was funny.

    well, i hope you heal up fast, you got work to do, kid. and your pictures are too damn big. i had to open them all in new windows. this is with IE AND firefox. you and your damn opera. good luck, man

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