Race Day – Cyclocross Nationals

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

10 thoughts on “Race Day – Cyclocross Nationals

  1. Brent from Ohio

    you will be missed. Thank you for making the trip. Get healthy and in touch w Bromont’s spirit in the Northwoods!

     
  2. Your new squatter

    Hey, your last squatter must a ripped out all your copper pipes. How am I gonna shower?

     
  3. Dog

    Dude, once again you amaze me. How you can even ride a little bit with that fracture makes me shake my head. You are one tough dude Mr. Steve. After watching the GoPro of the course I was thinking this looks like a European pro course more than an American course. Interesting to see what the riders think. I am guessing it will be one of those “Epic” race stories retold at the pub for the rest of their lives. The poor SS guys, God bless them, get out the jogging shoes.

     
  4. Todd

    Bummer, Steve. Saw that you were DNS at the results wall this afternoon. Would have been great to see you race again.

    I raced both yesterday and today. I was pretty far back in the starting grid, but moved up 25-35 places by the finish each day. Really fun course — the best (and toughest) design of the 3 yrs races have been held here.

    Personally, I found the course manageable and a bit more ridden-in today. The dicey-est riding I saw was in the 3 practice laps yesterday. Nearly went OTB too in the traffic and narrowly missed someone who yard sale’d in the mud right before the smaller flyover. To your point about wishing to race it at speed, I can vouch that I found the lines and felt more stable at race speed. Tubeless mud tires yesterday felt a little better than MXP tubulars (all conditions) today.

    The early races today had a few frozen ruts in the shadows, but by 11:30a, it was really good except in two greasy corners. I don’t think anything will refreeze this weekend since it will be mild temps.

    Rain looks certain on Friday. That will likely make the dry off-camber section by the barn a run, and switch-back descents off heckle hill (also off camber) and through the woods (mostly level) very tricky as well.

    My son races the 17-18s on Sunday. He’s got the experience for it, but I don’t envy him…

     
  5. Ducky

    Rats. I’m really sorry about your thumb. Best of luck on the healing. I suggest a week of eating pie and no poles skate skiing in the Northwoods. It will really tune up your skate technique… after all, skating is the beauty of the sport. And poling really kind of sucks and is hard on the hands.

     
  6. Matt

    You called it, Steve!

    “For the 75-79 race there was but one rider, Marshall Gordon. He was riding a 30 pound mountain bike that he recently dusted off. He noted that he’d have preferred a light cyclocross bike for all the climbing present on the Asheville course.”

    http://www.cxmagazine.com/cyclocross-nationals-asheville-mens-masters-70-74-75-79-80-full-results-video-photos

    Cheer up. You made the right decision. I’m happily surprised that you decided not to push it given your form and interest in the course. Oh well. At least you’ll have your thumb around next year.

     

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