Sunday, June 1, 2008

Crash, Cramps, Carnage and the usual wind at Hugo

Well, it was not a good day for me at Hugo to say the least.

THE CRASH: At about 5 miles into the recently extended 78 mile race. I was sitting comfortably in about the 10th thru 15th position, middle row of three. I prefer to avoid the box-in position but I figured it was ok since I was sheltered from the wind, near the front (not near enough, it turns out), and it was early in a long, windy race. Then, suddenly, I see a racer in front of me wildly flailing side to side. He apparently touched wheels. A tire blowout was heard. I had no where to go but right over his bike (I don't recall a rider being attached anymore). Not surprisingly, I went over my handlebars in slooooooow mooootion to the peleton chant of craashhh" and the sound of brakes squeeling. Time slowed dramatically. I knew I would go down, but, the only question was how hard? As I sailed thru the air and realized that any significant arm extension meant a definite fracture, I instinctively tucked and rolled (I learned this maneuver mountain biking). CRASH!!! Then it was over. Time suddenly sped up to normal. Brief chaos. Am I significantly hurt? I don't know. Hey, there is one of my 3 water bottles on the road. I grab it, jump on my surprisingly functional bike and start my stunned chase with a GS Boulder guy. We hammered to get back on the group , which opened a surprisingly big gap in what seemed like a short time. I burned a big match (the only one I had today) to get back on.

As the race went on, I developed increasing pain in my right shoulder, which I was clearly favoring, and to a lesser extent my back. It turns out I have a grade 2 to 3 AC joint separation seen on x-ray and a likely rotator cuff strain (I hope it's not torn). I guess it could have been a lot worse than road rash and an AC separation considering what my crash must have looked like. I apparently landed partly upside down on the back of my shoulder, which I discovered to be cut up and swollen after I got my wife to help me take off my shirt last night.

I just never felt good after the crash (adrenaline level let down and pain). I neglected to eat and drink because it hurt to move that shoulder in any way (even moving my left arm meant more pain and stress on the right shoulder).

THE CRAMPS: I managed to stay near the front until mile 30 but I just wasn't comfortable and considered abandoning the race several times. I no longer felt aggessive about fighting to protect a good position out of the wind, which I saw too much of. I couldn't or wouldn't bury myself to stay with the lead pack as they continued to pick up the pace at mile 30 to 40. I backed off and ended up in a good 5 to 6 man chase group. We held our own. But, we could never close on the leaders who were in sight and made little progress on us until about mile 55+.

We were joined by another 15 riders and my legs actually felt ok. I was feeling like one of the strongest at that point legwise. I was psyched to have a good group to work with in the wind. At least, my misery would be over sooner. Literally within one minute of this group formation, out of no where I got double leg cramps that forced me off the bike and onto the ground. I sat on the side of the road for at least 5 minutes rubbing out my cramps with my left hand. I watched the big group ride away (it turns out a few of these guys actually made the top 20). I couldn't even walk. I decided not to spend the night there so I got back on the bike and spun easy. I then rode on the cramp threshold by myself and with a few occasional stragglers, including Rob from BPN who was having his own cramping issues and two good bikelaw guys, Matt and Doug, to finish 38th.

Tough day! This is not the report I wish I were slowly typing but as they say "that's bike racing". Of course, the timing of my injury couldn't be worse before the state TT and when I felt I had some good form (a big CTL to draw from) to taper into. I hope to be back biking/racing within 3 to 6 weeks- but, don't count me out for sooner.



Tim Kelley said...

Big H- Sorry to hear the news! Here's my take- I confidently settled in, riding in 5th position, 5 miles into the race.….And can you believe? A crash, right in front of me. 71 guys and the 2nd guy in line touches wheels! Dude. I was totally unscathed landing on the three guys ahead like a pillow bed but my bike was at the bottom of it all. So I was the last to start the chase, even turning back after 25 yrds realizing my water bottles were back with the culprit who was the only one left on the ground. Anyway...never caught you guys, finishing a few minutes after you. Sad to think that Rob K and you should have won that race. So get well, and we'll see you crushing me again soon.
Tim Kelley Fitzgerald's Bicycles

Anonymous said...

Hi Horacio,

I was two wheels behind the crash, slightly behind and just to the right of you. I saw it all.

Apparently there was a wheel touch and a blowout. I saw the rider's front wheel wobble and he wasn't able to keep it up. He landed hard sideways on hip and shoulder.

Your crash was spectacular. Went straight into him and did a spectacular up and over with a very impressive tuck and roll. You definitely landed hard on the back of your shoulder. Could have been a lot worse. 2 or 3 more guys went down but none as hard as you.

I was lucky and was able to unclip and brake enough to manoeuvre round the pileup. The chase back on wasn't too bad but I did incur a stitch that never went away and got dropped pretty quickly a few miles later. Turned into a very long day.

Heal up quick and we'll see you back before the end of the season.

Colm F - BPN

Eric Scroger said...

Just say no, Ho. Sorry to hear about your crash. I heard Hugo was tough to begin with, let alone the construction reroute to increase the mileage to 78 miles.

Hope you'll heal quickly.