Sunday, April 5, 2009

On Safari...

OR Great weekend! Bad race for me!

Last week sucked. I was not recovering well from my injuries or my efforts at Fontana. My body still has Poison Oak all over it and my hip is quite painful.

Thursday night I rode with Luke, Allison, and Ben at Santa Rosa Plateau. After taking almost the whole week off to recover I had something to prove to myself so I put in some all out efforts. It was great to be out going fast with my friends!

Friday night was busy! Went to dinner with Allison, her dad, and a family friend from the Bay Area. I must say that Penfold's Cattle Co. has the best meat I have ever tasted. Amazing meal! After dinner I had my work cut out for me and was up past 11pm working on bikes and packing for the Safari.

Saturday morning we lagged a bit leaving the house, but made good time to meet up with Steph and Dan for a course pre-ride. It has been far too long since we last rode with them! I missed my Mannimals very very much!

The ride was awesome! The course was so much fun!

After the ride we all went to my mom's house, she doesn't live too far from the venue, and I made somewhat quick work of my bike chores before cooking dinner for everyone. Dinner was superb! We had ahi (thanks to Steph and Dan), salmon, rice, and salad. Perfect pre-race meal!

Sunday we were up and at the venue with plenty of time to check the festivities. It is awesome that Scott Tedro has put so much effort into bringing us a race series and all his hard work is surely evident! I must take pause to thank Business Darter for all he did for us! Micheal took care of our bottle handoffs while photographing the event. I am so glad that he is on my side!

Allison and I headed up the road to do our warmup and my legs were feeling the efforts from Saturday. Such is the feeling on the morning a "C priority race"...
All too soon it was time to line up and then I was watching Allison zoom off in a cloud of dust with the other Pro women.

The start of my race was pretty hectic. The guys figured since we were on asphalt that they would do roadie tactics. Silly boys. I am pretty sure that most of the guys that were throwing down attacks blew up before the top of the first climb. I kept a nice steady pace and was probably sitting in around 5th when we hit the first single track section.

I was right behind Matt Perry down the descent. We were absolutely FLYING! That is until my driveside pedal unthreaded itself and I very nearly crashed my brains out! It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened and then was running backwards on the course to find my pedal in the dirt as riders zoomed by. I assessed the damaged threads but didn't have an 8mm allen wrench... MAJOR BUMMER! I was semi successful in overcoming the resistance of the damaged threads and had the pedal half-way on when Ryan came along and saved my day! Ryan is a very selfless competitor and I greatly appreciate him sacrificing time/positions to get me rolling again!

At first when I got rolling again I was in a bit of a daze. I had all but given up on my race and was mentally not really racing anymore. As I sped downhill I reminded myself of the pact that Allison and I have, "Never give up, never quit!" I put my head down and the severity of my effort put my legs on the verge of cramping. I caught Ryan on the HAB, gave him his multi-tool back and offered to shoulder his bike for him. He refused the gesture and told me to "Go man go!" I kept a pretty solid pace and was soon faced with the massive climb over Los Pinos Mtn. I kept telling myself that I could catch back on the tail end of my AG and not be DFL. I rode for a while with John, an SS racer for Troupe. After what seemed like an eternity I crested the mountain and headed down the fire road. I soon passed a few Pro women and knew I was making good time! That is when my race ended for the second time...

I was pushing hard on the descent. Everything was clicking! I was in full BMX mode pumping and doubling up bumps. My Specialized Sworks Stumpjumper HT was on FIRE! I was passing quite a few people and came upon a group of three that obviously had a slow guy not letting people pass. I yelled up that he had three people back and needed to let everyone pass. Shortly afterward he graciously pulled aside and the pace came back up some. I was starting to think that it would be best not to pass and just stay where I was at as we were nearing the bottom of the descent when the guy at the front made some sort of mistake at very high speed.

The guy in front of me speed checked, swerved to miss the downed rider's bike and sped off. I braked hard and asked if he was alright, he replied that he was... for some reason I hesitated for an extra second and he turned to face me and said calmly, "I think I broke my arm." I had only seen one other compound fracture, but there was no mistaking that he had broken his arm!!!!

I dropped my bike and ran back to help. I made sure he could walk and then sent him walking in front of me while I pushed both bikes. Another rider came up from behind and helped to slow down traffic. Once we got to the road I looked both directions and saw a truck coming up the road through race traffic. I flagged him down and let him know what the situation was and that we needed help. The driver of the truck was extremely helpfull and we got Jeff into the back and tried to help make him comfortable. The drove off up the road in search of aid while I pedaled my bike up the hill, pushing Jeff's Kona.

Some distance up the hill the race officials had dispatched paramedics in a Rhino and they met the truck and were working on Jeff. They asked to take his bike and I was glad to no longer be riding two bikes! :) My legs were almost as toasted as my mental state after the ordeal.

I continued on and stopped for a few minutes at the Feed Zone. I was really glad I did because soon Heidi came along and gave me a new reason to be riding! I jumped in behind her on the final descent and proceeded to yell encouragement all the way to the line! It was so much fun!!!!

What a day! I was second to last in the results but feel like I had a great day. The trails were awesome and I was able to help a fallen comrade. Icing on the cake was when Allison placed 2nd in Pro Women... So cool.


Luke said...

very cool bro...your selfless act will be repaid in one form or another!

Ryan Weeger said...

Very cool of you Justin, and atleast you stuck it out and rode the whole badass course too. You'll be ready to get everyone back at sea otter.

tim said...

good to see you guys up there. see you both at sea otter! (tim/troupe)

Vu said...

An excellent display of sportsmanship Justin.

If I had known that you pedal had unthread, I would have given you my multitool.

Stay tune for a race report.