Monday, May 23, 2011

Get Up and Finish!

Sometime around the beginning of last week, I decided to venture to Hagerstown, MD for the Greenbrier Challenge. During the week, I tried to spend more time on the mountain bike, getting more comfortable with that type of race. I went to Coopers a few times and went over a bunch of logs and did a lot of climbs. I know I need to spend more time getting skills for mountain biking since I've only been riding for a couple of months. It's a lot of fun learning! I had a couple of minor crashes during the week on my rides, but nothing major- just some busted shins. My legs look pretty beat up and makes me look like a bad @$$!

So I was debating going to MD on Sat, but decided to get up at 530am and drive over with Justine on Sunday before the race. We are used to getting up at ungodly hours for school anyway. The ride over went smoothly and the skies were sunny and blue (rare lately). Since we drove over in the morning, I knew I would not have a chance to pre-ride the course- I would soon regret this. We arrived about 2 hours before the race and got all of our gear ready to race. We went down and talked some with JR and James about what to expect on the course. Soon, it was time to line up after a short warm up. After arriving on the line, I was feeling a little nervous since I had not seen the course and I'm still learning to mountain bike. But nothing I could do at that point. Ryan blew the whistle and the race went off. The first part of the course was pretty nice, a good climb in the beginning. There was a lot of traffic I had to navigate around on the hill from the racers that started a couple of minutes before my group. Once I made it up the hill and on some single track, the rest of the course not too bad, minus a couple of rock gardens that I was able to maneuver around pretty well. On the way down the mountain, there were a couple of muddy spots, but not too bad.

I was able to pass a good amount of people on the whole course. Overall, I was feeling pretty good on the way back and I knew the course was going to end soon-----then CRASH!!! So there was a mound of logs about 1 mile from the finish, still in the woods. As I approached it coming down the hill at a pretty good speed, I figured I could make it-it didn't look any different from the logs I'd gone over before- except what I could not see on the other side was a steeper drop off than I had expected. It was like slow motion, I went over the bike, knew I was crashing and flipped completely over landed on my head on a log and finally landed on my back. The wind was knocked out of me and I laid on the ground, trying to catch my breath for a good 4-5 min. A couple of guys passed and told me to get to medical help on down the hill. I used my recently acquired medical degree knowledge and made sure I could move all extremities. I was pretty shaken up and against what I would probably tell my patients as an ER doc, I got on the bike and went all out. My neck hurt and I was shaken up, but I wanted to finish. I knew I was still in the lead of my category and I wanted to win, despite the crash and laying in the mud for a while. I went through the rest of the woods with some caution but finally made it to the finish. Once I made it, I checked myself over and found my helmet was cracked in 3 places and my neck was pretty stiff. No major injuries, thankfully! But I made it! All in all, the race was really fun and minus the crash, I had a great day.

Congrats to all of the other Dynamic Team Members for an awesome day of racing!!!

Post by Nicole!