This is the day I am supposed to be racing in Asheville. Actually, all the Master men are racing today. The course is only getting worse, more chewed up with more sketchy sections. That will probably continue throughout the week, and only accelerate with forecasted precipitation.
But, alas, I’m not toeing the line today. I went and got my body checked out, after I pre-rode the course and it was pretty much as I already knew. My left thumb is broken, way low on the metacarpal (lowest bone in the thumb, towards the wrist). Plus, I have two bad ribs.
I have been teetering back and forth, ever since leaving the doctor’s office, about racing today. I have sort of prided myself in racing busted up a little, but this isn’t the right time for that. I weighed the pros and cons and couldn’t justify it this time. Plus, I’ve hardly slept for two nights straight.
Yesterday was a yin/yang day. I felt super, once again, riding over to the course. So, I was stoked. I was having a difficult time holding onto the bars, but it got better as I gripped more.
Once I got to the course, the course was open to pre-ride. I rode two laps. I was just barely able to maneuver around the course. Every once and awhile I would hit a dip or root and it would send a shooting pain through my side. That isn’t even addressing the problem holding onto the bars, without the ability to brake with my left hand.
So, I went to Blueridege Bone and Joint and got some x-rays. Pretty much exactly what I thought. Ribs are just ribs, but the thumb is something special. It is my “best” thumb, my go to thumb now. My right one is pretty jacked up permanently.
I called Stacie and she seesawed back and forth, then finally gave me the go ahead to race. But after thinking about it, overnight, I decided that it just isn’t worth it
By worth it, I mean I don’t really have anything to prove here. I’ve been waffling back and forth about this for a while, but now it is pretty clear. This really isn’t a good time to make a bad critical decision. I know what I have achieved in the sport and want I hope to achieve. This isn’t really part of that. Plus, I have plans for my thumb later in my life.
Here’s my regret. I regret that I don’t get to ride around this course at race speed. I personally would love to see what this course rides like fast. I have to admit, I am mildly surprised how well I feel riding my bike the last couple days. I sort of lucked out, with some planning, to be riding my bike so quickly just now. So good, I hate to not see what it would be like racing.
The course is perfect for me. Hard climbing and technical descents. Plus, heavy field riding. I couldn’t have designed a better course for my current form. So, that is just about the only regret. I made a stupid mistake, so I don’t get the experience. That isn’t a huge cost, really.
I think the course is great, but in reality, is too hard for the majority of the riders that are racing here. There are a handful of guys that are talented enough to make use of this course, but for the masses, this course is too challenging.
And like I said yesterday, add precipitation to the course and it will become an epic ordeal. I can’t imagine a bunch of juniors racing under those conditions this weekend. There will be much too much off the bike sections to really make it a fair race. And I think the field sections will become a quagmire too, really difficult.
So, I’m packing up and heading over to the race this morning, to watch my friend Shadd Smith race. Then I’m getting in my van and driving back to Louisville, hang a night and then on to WIsconsin. I’m not sure whether I can ski or not. I know I should be able to walk around in the Northwoods on snowshoes and enjoy. I sure wish Bromont was around. I miss that dog.
This is Dr. Craig Burnworth. He gave me some good insight about my options. He is a long distance trail runner and knows all about racing hurt. The one thing about getting hurt, recently, is running into super guys like him.
And this is Marshall Gordon, a guy I met at Starbucks after the casting of my thumb. I was drowning my sorrows in hot chocolate and a chocolate croissant. I predict he wins the Master’s 75+ today.
Here is my cast. At least it is removable. I formed it a tad so I can hold onto handlebars.
Photo of my x-ray. The dark line at the base of the thumb is the fracture.
Here is the whole lap. 6 minutes to 12 minutes is the technical sections.