Saturday, August 4, 2012

Training Carnage... Sort Of

Training for LOTOJA has been rolling along nicely (pun intended). Many miles, both forward and up, have been logged. I even had a successful race now that I have accepted my place as an "old lady" citizen rider. The Tour de Park City Gran Fondo wound 94 miles up and over Wolf Creek Pass and climbed over 7500 feet. JB and I hung in there and finished 2nd and 3rd in our class (and there were lots of women in our group). Our efforts would have placed us similarly even if we were in the younger "old lady" group.

This week our family is vacationing in Sun Valley, and the road bike was hauled along to continue the training, as the big race is only 6 weeks away. With my daughter planning hikes, runs, mountain bike rides, and treading water tests, my energy levels were challenged. Still, I rode 23 miles 2 days ago, and yesterday I logged 25 miles on the way to Red Fish Lake. After the family picked me up, we all embarked on a 6 mile hike in the beauty of the Sawtooths. As we drove back to our condo, my husband asked if I wanted to be dropped off at Galena summit and ride the 30 miles back. I had a lame excuse about not having enough water, and after the kids combined the ice from their drinks and a few ounces at the bottom of a couple of bottles, I had no choice. "Suffer now or suffer later" is the motto for LOTOJA training, so I opted for some immediate suffering.

It wasn't much suffering, as the first 8-10 miles were steep descent, and I could easily spin or coast. The long flat leading back to Ketchum can be brutal because of up-canyon winds, but I was surprised with a solid tail wind that kept me going near 30 mph much of the way. Although conditions were terrific, I was still tired from all the vacation activities. As I approached the outskirts of Ketchum, I began to think that I should get off the highway and onto the bike path... for safety. I was cruising at about 25 mph and missed the first opportunity to get off the highway, so when the next turn-off came up, I acted quickly. It didn't take long to realize that I took the turn too fast, and to make it worse I noticed the turn was sharper than 90 degrees. My first instinct was to slam on the brakes, causing immediate skidding. Now I saw that the road was covered in black sand. I tried to ease off the brakes and extend the turn into the far lane; I ran out of road. Before I knew what happened, I was down on my side, sliding down the road. My head slammed the pavement, and then the slide continued on my front side. Instantly, I was standing up; a guy on the highway slowed down to ask if I was all right... I said yes before I even had a chance to assess anything.

I untangled the my chain and got it back into place. The bike looked O.K. I had a little blood on my knees and my wrist was also bleeding, but I had too much adrenaline in me to feel any pain. I got back on and headed home. Realizing I slid on my ipod side, I touched it, and the music started again. Guess all is well. When I was within a couple of miles from home, a little family was coming toward me on the other side of the path; mom, dad, little girl, and little boy taking a leisurely ride. Of course the little boy wasn't watching where he was going; he crossed the center line, sending me into a post-traumatic stress emergency. We didn't collide, but now I was crying.

In ten years of recent road cycling, I have never crashed until now. It's interesting to get a sense of what those poor guys in the Tour de France go through... kind of a weird rite of passage. Still, I could do without the aches and pains on every prominent surface of my right side; my cheek, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and shin. I'm wondering if my elbow is broken, as I can't completely straighten it, or bend it too much either.

I'm taking a couple of days off, and I'm sure I can resume my training plan after that. These things ultimately make us stronger; I'm counting on it.

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