Friday, June 22, 2012

A Failing Grade

Toed the line at another event that Brian talked me into. This time, it was a 67km mountain bike race, the Test of Metal, in Squamish BC. I've never really put in any serious miles on the bike, and at 67k the race would be about the longest I'd ridden a bike, period, through some pretty epic terrain.
I didn't really know what to expect but figured going into it worst case scenario, it's a nice long slow ride through the scenic Howe Sound forest.
Weather reports were looking pretty good at the start of the week, but by Friday morning, the weather for Saturday race day was warm and 100% chance of precipitation. They were calling for about 30 ml of rain in the afternoon and we got every drop.
Saturday was pouring rain as expected, and me and Gunner lined up with the other 800 riders to get to it. Self seeded and lined up near the back of the pack.
Race started with a long climb out of town through the neighbourhood and even in the nasty weather there were still quite a few families that came out to support the riders. Thanks for all you who showed up. It was much appreciated.
After about a half and hour, the course cut into the singletrack, and about 10 seconds after that, I was covered in mud and had a half pound of sand in my eye.
Rolling singletrack, fire road descents, sweet rooty snaky lines under the heavy canopy. It was awesome, and with the heavy tree cover I really didn't notice that it was raining that hard. or maybe it's because I was already soaked. Either way, feeling good and starting to move up through the field. Our self seeding had been a bit conservative.
After the course popped out of the canopy, Brian dropped me on a windy steep section. I caught up to him and he took off, encouraging me to hurry up. The top of the climb was close and the next few kms were banked downhill corners where we could make up a lot of ground on the field if we hustled.
At the top I noticed that my brakes were getting a little spongy and mentioned to Gunner that I should have got new pads. within a minute or two, my levers were to my bars and the wheels were still rolling. I had lost all stopping power!
I popped my feet out of the pedals and dragged them in the mud to stop and jumped into the bushes at the side of the course to prevent from getting run over.
The lines of my brakes had blown and I lost all the fluid as I pumped my levers coming down the hill. Nothing that could be repaired except in a bike shop, so my race was over after about 2 hours. Had to run my bike down this killer singletrack that I would have loved to ride to get to the junction and ask how to get to the finish line.
Long walk back to the finish. People were really cool about asking if i needed anything on my way back, but i got kind of bummed having to keep saying 'No thanks, i'm done'.
Got back to the finish line and had a realization: Brian and I rode up together and I don't have a key for his vehicle.
He was expecting a 5 hour finish, meaning I had three hours in the rain to wait for him.
Luckily, the guys from Daryl Evans racing had a trailer and a tent up there so i managed to find some shlter for a bit and mooch a jacket.
After a long wet wait, gunner came rolling up with a broken bike as well. Done in by his own kindness, his race report is on his blog.
So, all in all, a short day, and a disappointment. But, legs felt good and I was having a blast up till the mechanical.
The event was great: right at the finish line they had a bike wash set up to hose off the mud. The race starts and ends at a rec center, and outside the pool there they had two dudes with garden hoses using warm water to hose down the riders. Race entry included a free pass to the aquatic center, so after the hose bath, into the pool for a nice warm shower and a hot tub.
Definitely heading back next year with better training, repaired bike, and hopes for better weather.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


saw the specialist at the cast clinic at the hospital last week. hairline fracture of the patella. luckily, the crack didn't go all the way through and the interior face of the patella that makes up the knee joint was not displaced. meaning: treatment is no lower body exercise for four to five weeks, another set of x-rays and a gradual return to running etc provided that things are healing up nicely. avoided a big splint and more importantly surgery.
feeling very fortunate. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


finally went to the doctor. doctor sent me for xrays. back to the doc. back for more rays. wait. wait. wait. fractured patella.
Receptionist phoned me Tuesday: you need to see the orthopedic immediately, you have an appointment at the cast clinic at the hospital on Friday. Bring a book. oh, and take it very, very easy between now and then.
so there's that. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

still spectating

still sidelined with the knee thing from the fall four weeks ago. it's getting better slowly. mobility is coming back but footfalls still cause pain in the joint. did two, one hour runs last week to test it out. i still had increased pain yesterday from Thursday night's run. originally was thinking of doing some loops this AM as an attempt to see how it would hold up on a run greater than two hours but decided against it. this weekend was pretty well the last chance to get a long run in to test the knee and the nutrition before the Chuckanut 50k on March 17th. It's starting to look more and more like I'll be giving away my entry for that one.
off to the doc tomorrow. we'll see how it goes. discouraging to be injured and unable to start my first 50k , especially from something that was caused by my own stupidity and totally avoidable. but, there are other events on the calendar, this year and the next, and the next, and the next, so no need to do long term damage trying to get to the line for one event.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


long time between posts. again. like the training, without a firm goal the output slides. Busy time of year at work, the family moved to a new home, Christmas, etc.
had a pretty exciting year mapped out. signed up for the Chucknut 50K in Bellingham on March 17th. Once again, talked into something by runninggunner. so far, his advice has been painfully good for me and i expect this time to be no different. have a free entry to the vancouver first half and am planning on using that as a nutrition 'test day' by stacking on some miles before the race and seeing how the fluids stay down. I should say 'was' planning on it, because as of right now I am on the shelf with a banged up knee.
With the 50k looming on the calendar and a long run scheduled, i went out last Sunday knowing that conditions were rough and the footing was a little dicey. it had been snowing and warm throughout the day and then clear and cold at night making for some slick, glassy streets.
I had cut the run short and was carefully picking my way back through the neighbourhood when I just lapsed for a few seconds running down a hill. planted the right foot and it shot right out from under me. I went down pretty well right on top of my left kneecap and rolled over on my hip/shoulder and into the intersection. luckily, it was early and i didnt get run over to add insult and more injury to injury. my Salomon jacket held up to the concrete slide. i was amazed.
running the 2.5 miles home from the crash site was probably a bad idea but it was rainy and cold and my family was getting out of bed.
anyways, i took a week off and mentally committed to a rest week off to keep myself from getting ancy about approaching races. well, a week plus 2 has passed and i'm closer to running but not back yet. trying to  stay positive but a little discouraged and watching the red circles on my calendar get closer and closer.