Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Awakening in my childhood bedroom that has since been redone is now a bit strange, but peering through the curtains I saw a beautiful blue sky. The forecast was for temps in the upper 60s. A welcome change from last year's dreariness and chilly temps; it may have cracked 50 for about an hour. But then I saw it. The crabapple tree blossoms doing their best impression of a blizzard in the front yard. The wind was whipping. Figures.
Pete and Amanda arrived. As I opened the door to greet them all they said was "We're going home" I thought they were serious. Apparently the hill was a bit intimidating. The others arrived, food table was set up and we all were ready to roll. In the rush I did not top off the air in my tires as I usually do before a long ride.
The course: Same course as last year. .95 miles (106 laps). A steep climb. A fast descent. A high speed corner. And this year the extra slap in the face of the 20-some mph wind that would remain, and get stronger, throughout the day.
With ring of a cowbell and some cheers, we were off. The first lap I lead out to get everyone acclimated with the turns and then Joshua set a tough pace. The BCR boys hung with him, but I backed off first knowing I would not likely make it all 100 miles. Eventually Joshua got out in front and never let off the gas.
The rest of the day is kind of a blur: A quick stop to fill a water bottle. Watching Adam spill his just filled bottle on a roll of paper towels. Cowbell. Talking with random neighbors. Tina and family showing up. More cowbell. Being looked at oddly by neighbors. The hill getting the better of Pete and Pete subsequently taking my camera to get some good shots. Andy doing a motor pace lap on his motorcycle and commenting "those guys are FAST". The neighbor getting her bike out to try the hill. The mailman honking and cheering. Chris and Drew riding a lap with me.
About 50 miles in, after a lengthy but necessary bathroom stop (dang it, all of Fatty's poo stories are contagious) I decided to check my tires. 80psi instead of my usual 115psi. Shortly after this I found out Joshua was 14 miles or so ahead of me. At the end of the day, he was about 20 miles in front of me. I'm going to claim that had I been running 115 from the start and not had that one long unplanned stop, I would have been within striking distance. Yup. That is my story and I'm sticking to it. This is, of course, completely delusional but it is my party and I'll be delusional if I want to.
The wind did indeed make the day tougher. Somehow it seemed to always be in your face except on the downhill. The flat before the climb, which should be a nice short time to regroup was brutal as it was straight into the wind.
By the end, quite a cheering contingent had formed. Coming around the corner from the climb to the cul-de-sac loop to hear all the plastic hand clappers, yells and cowbells was great. Joshua finished in 5:49. Ty not much more than that, and Adam not far behind. I rolled in at just over 7 hours; 7:04 I think but as I dorked up the Garmin I'm not exactly sure. Amanda and Pete both got in over 50 miles which was awesome as well. Fairly sure it was the climbing that got them and not the distance. One rider (Ty?) said sometime late in the day "This course is ridiculous" It sure was and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Next year is going to be just as great, if not greater.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
WARNING: Photos contain blood and such.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
And I got the Jumping the Gun Award! Check it! http://www.fatcyclist.com/2009/05/11/oh-now-i-remember/
Friday, May 8, 2009
First off... what?!?? - 100 Miles of Nowhere is the brain child of Elden "Fatty" Nelson (www.fatcyclist.com). Last year he did a 100 miles on his bike rollers (indoor trainer) just to do it. It ended up being a pretty big deal. This year it is an official event where people sign up to do a 100 miles on a bike trainer, rollers, or a seriously small outdoor course.
Now... why?! -This is a fundraiser for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Fatty's wife (Susan) has metastatic breast cancer. 400+ folks signed up to do this ridiculous event, and with $50 of the $75 entry fee going to LAF, that means $20,000+ has been raised. If anyone wants to donate something, great; but I'm not soliciting cash here. I'm soliciting people to come join me! Either just to spectate me climbing the hill 100+ times (details just below) or to ride some with me.
When: May 9th. Start time hopefully around 9:30am. (The perscribed day is May 23 but I'll be in the BWCA, thus why I am doing this early)
Where: Rochester (MN) around the 29th street block. (link below). This is a .9 mile loop with an estimated elevation gain of 75 feet per lap according to Google Maps. Meaning I'm looking at 8k elevation gain over 100 miles. Ooooof.
And, to make things a bit more interesting, I'll be doing this on a full suspension mountain bike. Yup, crazy! I may bring the road bike as well and use that for a bit, but as it is about as comfortable as a cross country drive in a Pinto, I won't be on it for the full hundred.
Therefore, anyone in Rochester (or wanting to come to Rochester) stop by and say hi. And why not ride a lap, or 3, or 30, or 100+ with me. I'm assuming mom will be doing water and food hand-ups.
Also, per Ross' request I'll be tweet-casting during the ride so you can get updates at http://www.twitter.com/timebombtuesday
This is going to hurt.... a lot.
p.s. As always, pass along as appropriate to others.
p.p.s. And, yes, I'm having second thoughts about going for an outdoor route instead of dealing with the sheer boredom of being on a trainer for 6+ hours.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
First, answering the most common question and something I should have included, jeans are better than shorts but not adequate for riding. Riding pants or leathers or similar would have helped out a lot. The doctor, also a motorcyclist, said I would have gone through leathers and still been scraped up, but not nearly as bad as I was with the jeans on. Once I get another bike, I'll be wearing something more substantial on my legs than jeans.
Next, the bike was totaled and is gone. State Farm cut me a check and the whole situation is essentially a wash financially. The cost of the parts to fix the bike was more than I paid for it, and with insurance cutting me a check, letting the bike go was a very easy decision.
I do plan on getting a new bike. Not quit sure what yet, but I have ideas. Still got some time until spring to figure out what to do. New, used, street, cruiser, dualsport... so many choices.
There is a decent scar on my knee, but I am all healed up. Every now and then I'll have some pain, usually if I end up on my knee, especially on hard surfaces. Given the amount of damage that was in the big gash, this is pretty minor. I have full mobility and I am happy with that.
As the old saying goes, if you get bucked off the horse you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get right back on. Well, my horse just happened to be iron, but that won't stop me from getting back in the saddle.
The Bottom Line: I'm okay and the luckiest sucker around.
Act 1: A beautiful lat fall day was to be had on Oct 28th, 2007 here in Minneapolis. Roughly 50 degrees, a bit breezy and hardly a cloud in the sky. Out come the maps and a rough path is chosen. Fired up the bike and headed out. Down to Prescott, WI. Over to County O. Through Red Wing. The day was great. I was feeling good and was much more comfortable through the corners. Boring highway riding from Red Wing to Rochester. Along the way encountered mystery spray from a cattle truck; not pleasant. An early dinner with mom. The sun was starting to get low, and the temperature was going to become more of a factor. Considering the sometimes gusty breezes, plus it getting dark, plus it being chilly, I took the back roads instead of Highway 52. I could go slower, enjoy the sunset and stop when I got chilly. I was purposefully making the safe decisions: slower speeds, less traffic, slowing when I could not have the highbeam blazing.
Coming into Northfield, the odometer rolled 6000 miles, meaning I had put on 1900 miles since late this summer. I took the MSF basic skills course and aced it. I practice quick lane changes. I practice hard braking. I practice tight turns at slow speeds. I wear the gear: boots, jeans, jacket, helmet, gloves. I go at a pace I am comfortable with.
I hang a left out of the Holiday station in Northfield at about 7:20 heading North on Highway 3. I expected to be home by 8:30, even with taking it easy on 3 and a leisurely meander through the Minneapolis and St Paul along the Mississippi River.
Mother Nature had different plans.
Act 2: Highway 3 is a small, two-lane highway that meanders through the South metro twisting through the outer ring suburbs. Definitely less traffic and less speed than Highway 52 and Interstate 94. Coming downhill into a slight right turn in 4th gear. Got the highbeam on. I don't know the exact speed, but my guess is 50 MPH. Surely upper 40s.
OH [expletive deleted]!!! Deer!!!
Actually, I am pretty sure all I could have gotten out was the O before the impact. A large doe was running across left to right. I saw her fully illuminated in the oncoming lane. Things I know: I pushed right and looked forward down the road. I did not fixate on the deer. (Both of these are the right things to do) The deer ran into my lane and I hit her in front of her front legs.
The deer was running right, I was tipped slightly right, so, you guessed it, I went down right. At the point of impact with the deer I had my eyes closed. Opened them to see the pavement coming at me. Coming fast! I got both hands down to protect my face, and hit my right knee hard. Pain! Eyes closed again.
Lying on my back on the shoulder of Highway 3, I open my eyes and start assessing the damage. Wiggle the fingers; got movement… good. Wiggle the toes and feet; got movement… good. No neck pain… Great! I hear faint talking. A vehicle is stopped and there is a guy on a cell phone. I'm rolling in pain now and screaming some adult language. I'm not what you would call a happy camper.
Time to stand up.
Hobbling on a bleeding right leg I go over to the guy on the cell phone. He is talking to the 911 operator and he keeps saying "yes, he is up and moving." The deer is right there and she is surely hearing death knocking. The guy gives our location and hangs up. He realizes I am fully coherent and tells me to sit down. I do. Then I get up and move again. This happens a couple times. Sit on the guard rail, stand, hobble, repeat. 911 calls back. We hear sirens coming closer. We hear sirens getting farther away. I'm pretty sure at some point I yelled "were NORTH on 3… NORTH!" A city cop arrives and starts taking stock of the situation. The accident had cleared itself. The deer was mostly on the shoulder, I had come to rest on the shoulder and the bike was a bit farther down totally on the shoulder. Shortly there after an ambulance arrives and the paramedics attend to me. One looking at my leg with the other asking me questions and feeling my neck and back. A state trooper arrives.
The paramedics take me back to the ambulance and cut away the already torn knee of my jeans. Basic tests, a very little bit of clean up, and a blood pressure check later I am signing paperwork stating I don't need them to take me to the hospital. The knee might need a stitch or two, but mostly a good cleaning.
A flat bed arrives to take the bike. The trooper, tow driver and I get the bike up on the flatbed. The trooper drags the now dead dear off of the shoulder. I still am not sure how he got her over or under the guardrail because the deer sure wasn't small. I make some calls to get a ride home, but realize riding in the tow truck is just as viable of an option. I hobble my way up into the cab and we set off for home.
Act 3: I've had road rash before. Between bicycling and rollerblading I have lost my luckily less than fair share, but not too much less than fair share, of skin over the years. I should be able to clean up myself as it is not that bad. Take stock of the medicine cabinet and head over to the grocery store for supplies. Let me tell you this… walk around the grocery store in bloody, torn-up jeans while limping, and obviously in pain, people give you a lot of room. Only one man actually said anything and it was something about "Keep your chin up." I was in the produce section at the time; hey, I wanted some juice.
After getting a bunch of medical supplies, plus some ice cream and milk, I head back home. Pop a couple ibuprofen, take a big pull off the bottle of whiskey and its go time. Or maybe not. Just warm water was painful. Numb it up with ice. Still hurts. And I was only working on the minor sections. Then I was dumb on various fronts and dumped some rubbing alcohol on it. Don't do that. Feels like fire and damages the cells. A call to 411 to find a 24hr urgent care; no luck. Call to my brother for help finding a 24hr urgent care; no luck. The paramedics said there was one in Apple Valley but there is no way I can drive there as it is getting close to midnight by this point and I am exhausted. Get out the ice again and try to cowboy-up. This resulted in some progress, much pain and serious bite marks on a wooden pencil. Call the hospital right by my house and ask about 24 hour urgent care; no luck. "But if you come in to the ER, we would be happy to clean you up."
Off to the ER!
Wearing a pair of shorts, I walk to the ER. Yup, I hate paying for parking so I walk to the ER. Answer some questions and get taken to a room. A nurse arrives to put on some wet dressing to soften the wounded areas. A guy arrives for insurance info and the like. A doctor arrives and pokes around a bit at the knee. I honestly think this guy was named Dr McCoy, but I did not put it together for the obvious jokes until hours later; I was disappointed in myself for missing such a slow-over-the-plate pitch. Anyway, another doctor arrives and puts on some topical Novocain type jelly and comes back a bit later to scrub out the wounds. I watch most of the cleaning as I am trying to get over the whole blood and needles phobia; I'm making decent progress. We chat as he is cleaning me up and it was interesting to hear some of the staff thought this was a bicycle accident. The wow factor set in when actual details came out of what happened. He got it cleaned up pretty darn well and the other doctor comes back to double check.
The injuries: I have a fair amount of superficial road rash on my upper shin. A quarter sized divot, claw mark looking wound just on the kneecap, and a nice gash below the kneecap. Had the gash been somewhere other than on the knee it would have gotten a stitch or two, but as it is the knee it is being left alone. Knees plus stitches is not a workable combination. I also have some minor road rash on the heel of my right hand.
Cleaned and bandaged way, WAY better than I ever could have done, I set out for the drug vending machine. I don't go to the doctor often, and have never seen one of these before. I got Vicodin from essentially a glorified vending machine; seriously! Thank the desk nurse, walk back to the 3 blocks to the car and drive the 2 blocks home. 1am. A long day, I cannot fall asleep. It figures.
Epilogue: I hit a deer on a motorcycle doing somewhere in the vicinity of 45 to 50 miles per hour and I walked away. Let me repeat that. I walked away! I am going to have scars on my right knee and a big scab for quite a while. Walking is more limping a lot of the time right now, but I'm okay.
Assessing the non-human damage: The bike is a mess. Provided the fork is not bent, I think it is salvageable even though the insurance company is likely to consider it totaled. She needs a new tank, new windshield, new signals, new front fender, new pegs and bracket, new key, new exhaust, new brake lever and I am sure there is something I am missing. Sometime soon I'll try to fire her up again, but the battery was weak by the time she made it home.
I had the right gear on. Gloves saved my hands. Jeans and boots saved the legs. I'm guessing the jacket elbow pad helped my arm as the jacket was scrapped a bit, but I didn't even notice that until this morning and it is minor. I ruined a pair of gloves, my favorite pair of jeans, and a pair of long underwear. Boots are really scraped up and need new soles, which they needed anyway. Helmet doesn't have a scratch.
I could go into the what-if scenarios. I honestly don't know if I hit the brakes. It was that close. The guy behind me almost hit the second deer by a matter of just a couple feet. He said I had no chance. What-if I took 52 home? What if I took 77 home? What if I had stayed zigged instead of zagged? It doesn't matter. I walked away.
I am very grateful that the guy behind me stopped and was on the phone with 911 immediately. I am grateful for everyone that stopped, and there were at least half a dozen cars that stopped and asked if the situation was under control. I am grateful for having North Memorial hospital so close to home and the care they gave me.
A warning to those that ride: Don't hit a large animal. It is no fun. But if you do, I sincerely hope you are as lucky as I am.
To answer the question everyone is asking: Yes, I'll be riding again.
And, as I was told this morning, I now have earned the right to wear the patch: If you don't limp you aint [nothing].
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
12/26/07 - Prep for St Helens.... Weather is slated to be really bad.... taking enough gear to bivy for a night with minimal to no cover. Not fast. Not light.
12/27/07 - Leaving Portland and going up to Mt St Helens the rain turned to snow. The snow turned to a lot of snow.
Road into St Helens
Strap on the snowshoes and start post-holing. Post-holing sucks. Post-holing sucks when you are wearing snowshoes and a heavy pack. And it is snowing. A lot. Find the winter climbers "trail". Progress was slow. Overheating. Too many clothes. Drenched inside out and outside in. More snow. See a couple guys on their way down. Trudge up. Check the GPS. Trudge up.
Get to treeline. Wind picks up. Temp drops. Get out the axe (thanks Ian). Go up. Unconsolidated snow. Well past the original turn around time. Decision time. Turn around.
12/29/07 - failed attempt at Vulcan Peak. Downed tree blocking approach road; FR1909. No saw. Met some Cali kids in a Jeep w/ a tarp for a roof. Hike / run in OR Redwoods; 4 miles
12/30/07 - Vulcan Peak - attempt 2.
Take the alt route around where the tree is over FR1909. Get stuck in snow. Use 4wheel drive. Get stuck. Put on chains. Nearly get really stuck. Bail on alt route. Backtrack. Check 1909 - tree is cleared. Drive as high as possible given conditions through some dicey switchbacks. Start hiking at 1pm - 3 hours later than anticipated.
Weather is clear. Temp is nice. No shirt. No jacket. Side zips on pants open above gaiters. Beautiful. Until the post-holing starts. Post-holing sucks. Post-holing sucks when in your attempt at fast and light you decide that there is not that much snow and that the snowshoes wont help that much so you leave them at the truck then gain 1500 vertical feet and have a bunch more snow at that altitude.
fun if it turns to ice. Play the safe route and turn around. Haul back down. Drop 750 vertical and the weather is nicer. 1500 lower at the truck and weather is beautiful. No issues on the way out.
Back in time for pork chops and some 2 Below.
Lessons learned / reinforced:
- Prep clothing for exertion level.
- Ibuprofen is your friend.
- Take the snowshoes and axe.
- Rest stepping is painfully slow when you can see for miles.
- Plunge stepping is fun.