All I want to do is drink beer and train like an animal.
- Rod Dixon

I'm feeling rough. I'm feeling raw. I'm in the prime of my life.

Sunday - 04/22/07 - Madison Men's C Crit

Madison Men's C Crit
12th place
2nd/3rd/3rd in primes

"You're where?"

"Ok, bye"

Where the hell was Dallas!?! I needed my chainring bolts!

If there is one thing I hate more than anything before a race it's having to deal with bike maintenance. It always ends badly or gets half-assed or some other near catastrophe and today was no different.

I had been at the capitol square since 7 am helping set up the ropes, cones, etc. At about 8:45 I had started getting myself ready for my 10:00 race. At 9:30 my handle bars and water bottle cages were fixed from the night before but there was still no sign of Dallas with my chainring bolts.

After a series of miscommunications I finally decided to forget about Dallas and see what our neutral mechanic - provided by our local sponsor Williamson Bikes - could do. I recognized the mechanic - Rich - from the shop and he saved the day by taking the chainring bolts off of his commuter, which he just happened to have on him, and letting me use them! The first of many people to save the day for me.

So between 15-20 min before my race I was finally ready to go.
I warmed up a bit and then Amelia Barber asked me 'are you ready'. I gave her a firm 'no'. It was true, I had been worried about mechanical and logistical problems up until 5 min ago and my head still hadn't switched gears to the race - if there's one thing out want to be while whipping around a square in a tight pack of bikers it's focused.

As the C's rolled to the line about 16 out of the 40-some racers were from Wisconsin with lots of new riders having showed up to take advantage of the local race. I was in the front row, sitting pretty, feeling good about my legs and confident in my teammates.

And we were off.

The course was a 1km square 4 lanes wide around the Wisconsin State Capitol with opposing sides being flat and the other two being a slight up/down hill. In a word - it was fast.

In the 2nd lap I was coming into the first turn (the downhill turn) and trying to move up the pack. Suddenly, the race disappeared. The fans disappeared. Suddenly only one sickening thought mattered - I was about the crash.

Yes, I am a genius on the bike.

I had taken the turn *way* too hot. I was speeding toward the curb and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn't lean out of this one and slamming the breaks would send me out of control. I should have leaned in and slid my bike out. There is a chance I might have been run over by another rider and I certainly would have lost a lot of skin on my legs and body, and ruined my kit but sliding out is almost always preferable to what can happen if you get launched off your bike. Skin grows back and you can sow a kit. But even knowing this I couldn't make myself slide my bike out and put myself on pavement about 25 mph.


Annnd, I'm airborn...


And now I'm not.

I went plowing into the curb at a 70 degree angle going about 20 mph (at least 15 mph) and was launched sideways into the air landing on the marble 8in high retaining wall and then bouncing into the grass plot it surrounded. A Milwaukee rider followed me and his sidewall blew out - creating a bang like a gunshot that was heard at the start/finish 200m away.

Judging by the sizes of my bruises and cuts along with what I remember I would say I landed on my right butt cheek, hand and knee at about the same time. Most of the impact (and subsequent) pain was absorbed by my butt which got a very minor bruise and light road rash. My right knee got three dime sized cuts on it but nothing deep. The palm of my hand it a little bruised and sore but no broken bones and the gloves kept all the skin on (props to Castelli). I then rolled up onto my right shoulder which got a little road r
ash. For the grand finale, and to the horror of the spectators, I went sliding across the grass on the top of my head.

I immediately got up, to the relife of the spectators, and exicuted the 'walk it off' technique while shedding my helmut, sunglasses and gloves as part of a little hopping 'ow' dance. While I was doing this, one of the Michigan State guys from last night, Cody, came over and asked me if I was alright while picking up my bike and checking it for damage. In less then a minute Geo was there too. After a minute most of the initial stinging subsided and I realized I was ok. My bike was someow fine as well.

Realizing what had to be done I put my stuff back on and rolled back to the start/finish to take my free lap and jumped back into the field having been out for two laps.
And just like that, thanks to Cody and Geo, I was back in the race.

I was a little wary of those first few corners but there's not much time for self-doubt in a crit. Pretty soon I was all buisness.

My legs felt great.

I attacked and covered attacks for the full 30 min of our race. I went for primes and yelled commands at my teammates of organize, chase or block (all of which were mostly ignored).

I took 2nd, 3rd and 3rd in the primes. I finished out of the sprint and 12th overall which was out of the finish points by one place but the 7 points I picked up in primes still put me in 9th by points.

Full results at: (or.pdf)

The day was topped off by a message Audrey Zefaros, one of my old resident's, left on my facebook page: "Alex! It was sweet seeing you race today...way to kick ass even after skidding on your head."


Ah but the day was far from over as I biked across town for the GVC #2 Men's Cat 5 race...

1 comment: