'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

12 July 2010

Epic Failure

Thanks to everyone who has supported me in my endeavour for the magical 100 mile ride. I'll start by saying I had a lot of fun, raised a few bucks for cancer research, learned a lot and...well. Some explanation is in order.

The start was at the San Jose Performing Arts Center. I was a member of Team Fatty. Yes, I did fit right in. Check out the shorts. Stylish, no? Yeah, bubba isn't allowed to wear tight spandex by law. It's the whole hysterical blindness thing.
Riders my size are commonly referred to as Clydesdales. I think you can see why.

We got off at the crack of 0730. Lu and I got up at 0430 to make the trip. Lu paralleled the ride and took photos. She also offered plenty of moral support and later some medical assistance. That's called foreshadowing right there.

A reminder of what we were there for. Kids with cancer were given rides over part of the course in pedi-cabs. One million dollars was raised at this event.

The course took us through San Jose and into Los Gatos on surface streets. Here you can see me about 15 miles in wondering exactly what I had gotten myself into.

And the cheering throngs lined the roads. Hey, it's lonely at the back of the pack.

Head down, legs moving in a barely discernible rotating motion propelling me forward uphill at a dizzying rate. I are a bicyclist.

I did mention it's lonely at the back? The course was much hillier than I had anticipated. Much hillier. Did I do a course pre-ride you ask? Why no, I surely did not.

Whoa. An action shot of me actually passing someone. This was at about mile 34. I didn't know it but I had broken a spoke and wrapped it around my rear hub. Lu heard it when I passed her and I knew something was funny because it wouldn't shift right but I had my ears full of MP3 player and was yet to discern the problem.

35 miles and I'm pulling in to where Lu has parked. One quick look and the spoke issue became apparent. I hailed a passing course marshall and was directed to a mechanic just up the road. The mechanic was terrific. He managed to fix the thing and get me back on the road. 45 minutes later. Time enough for all that nice lactic acid in my legs to settle in and make them nice and stiff. This all took place at the bottom of the category 1 climb, 1.8 miles straight the hell up at 5 to 12 percent grade. Can't you just smell the impending doom?

I took off on my now kinda working legs and made it about halfway up when..I crashed. I fell hard on my left side and hurt my left elbow and right knee. I landed on the elbow and somehow managed to drive the handlebar into my knee. The visible injuries don't look bad but trust me, they seriously hurt, especially the knee which no longer worked quite right. Bad enough that I knew I wasn't going to be able to continue. And just like that my day was done.

Lu picked me up off the tarmac, administered a little wifely first aid and drove us home where she fed me and cleaned me up, treated my boo boo's and generally took care of me. Poor, poor baby.
I learned some important lessons.
First. I was woefully ill prepared. This ride was much harder than my training rides. I suffered on the climbs and wasn't ready for the leg breaker where I fell. More climbing, more street rides and fewer rides on the closed courses where I normally train. Also, lose about 25 pounds.
Second. I considered taking the bike in to a bike shop for a tuneup which would have caught the loose spoke (there were actually 2 but only one came loose and wrapped around the gears) and saved me time and, most importantly, pain. I procrastinated until it was no longer an option. I decided to just do a once over myself. Stupidity hurts.
Third. Crashing is painful. I discommend it.
Fourth. While this was an abject failure I have a much better idea of what this ride is going to take. Next year I'll be fitter and I will have a reputable mechanic go over the bike before the ride.
Fifth. Pre-ride the course.

So, there it is. A total, complete and Epic failure. I recognize that everyone who takes on new challenges fails from time to time and I'm no different but I hate failing at anything. Here's the really funny thing. I'm even more determined to make that 100 mile mark. I'm already planning my new training and even looking for another ride somewhere within reach. Maybe this time without the climb of death. And less crashing, a lot less crashing.
And I will be back at Livestrong next year. The people who put the ride on were awesome as were the other Fatty riders and it's a great cause.
Anybody know a good monastary that's taking in new recruits? The ridiculing may now begin.


LauraB said...

Oh, for heaven's sake! Well, I am sorry for your injuries but glad you gave it a valiant effort. After all, you would not have made it even that far not long ago, right?

When you noted you hadn't checked out the course, though, I had that DUN DUN DUNNNN sound in my head.

Congrats on the attempt, hope the healing is fast, and know that there is no way in HELL I'd ever do that sort of thing. EVER.

Six said...

Thanks Laura. Yeah, trying to turn a meathead into an endurance athlete has been interesting and oh hell yes, I'm pre-riding the next one!

Me said...

You still beat out all of the losers and couch potatoes who never even tried.

Six said...

Thanks Me. I'm trying to keep that in mind but I HATE failing. My knee is feeling better and apparently I didn't break anything so it's back to training today.

The DO said...

Wish we could have been there. Next year, we will plan for next year:)

JihadGene said...

It could have been worse. You could have been injured in Bakersfield!!!

Six said...

I definitely needed some grandchildren luck sweetheart.

Thanks for putting it in perfect perspective Gene. Ach!