Sunday, May 2, 2010

Massanutten Yeeha! (McGaheysville, VA)

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Hmm...how can I explain it?

Friday's practice was going perfectly. My tires were hooking up on every corner, I was feeling confident and fast. Each run was increasingly better than the last and I was really settling in well on the new bike.

On my fifth practice run I came screaming through the first rock garden and set my sights on sprinting out of the first "bump garden" - a field of small, but awkward and sporadically-placed rocks. As I'd done in previous runs, I started to mash the pedals in order to "ride the rear wheel" through this bumpy patch. Unfortunately my front wheel smacked a rock just as I rose the the front of the bike to apply power, which threw my weight forward and sent me flying over the bars.

Some people say "face first" to describe any over-the-bar fall, but this time I mean it. I landed "face first" in the rock garden and have the stitches to prove it. Oh yes, somehow I busted my face despite wearing a full-face helmet and goggles.

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I was carried off of the trail and transported to the hospital where they cleaned up my face and stitched me up. Everyone there was amazingly helpful and one of the eye-witnesses to the crash rode to the base to find Rachel and tell her where to find me at Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg.

It was a rough way to start the season and I hope that it's my only BIG wreck of the year, much like the Snowshoe wreck of last summer.

In true idiot-fashion I claimed to feel "much, much better" the next morning. I still wanted that run, even if it was going to be slow. The rest of my body was sore from the fall. My right knee was swollen, my right hand had two jammed fingers, and the rest of my body had scrapes all over it. Still, I insisted that I'd take it easy and just try to make it down safely.

I carried a bag of ice on the lift in an attempt to loosen up my jammed fingers enough to grab the handlebar and brake lever and committed myself to a slow and cautious run. I made it to the bottom [eventually] and my time put me in the middle of the pack, 16th out of 30 riders in CAT2.

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I found this photo on Sempertubby's Photobucket.

It seems that I was hardly the only person to go down, even if I was known as "that guy" for most of the weekend. I was topped on Saturday by the US phenom, Neko Mulally, who broke his wrist on that morning's practice run.

There was, however, some good news to report from the weekend. The event was very friendly, fun, and competitive. We met a bunch of great people over the weekend and got to see some of our friends do quite well in the first race of the season (for this region at least). Neko's brother, Logan Mulally landed first place in CAT1 Junior. Jason Memmelaar showed well with a second place result in the Pro category, complimented well by his teammates Gavin Vaughan (4th in Pro), Chris Higgerson (18th in Pro), Alex Moschitti (21st in Pro), PJ Mihalick (3rd in CAT1), Alex Couture (12th in CAT1 junior), and Dennis Yuroshek (1st in open). Our camping neighbors, Ryan and Becky Gardner did well too. Ryan put in an amazing run of 3:31:73 to place second in CAT1 and Becky put in a time worth 3rd place in women's CAT1. Trevyn Newphyr from Snowshoe secured 5th place in pro with a time of 3:21:27. Our friend from Ohio, Thomas Herman, grabbed fourth place in CAT2 despite catching traffic on the course and losing crucial seconds. Butch Greene of Asheville and Life of the Butch scored big time this weekend with an astounding 3rd place in Open, not even two full seconds behind Dennis Yuroshek. My teammate, Ross Ciminelli, stepped up big time and entered CAT1. He put in a respectable time of 4:00:57, which correlates to about one month of shit talking since he beat me by twelve seconds.