Early in the year (maybe even before xmas) I scoped out training races that would fit into my first 6 months of training in 2013. I had run the Sage Burner 50k in Gunnison before and knew of the Growler MTB races there as well. I also remembered (somewhat) that the trails are fairly technical but figured by the end of May I'd be practiced enough to relearn tech riding, so I registered for both the Half Growler 32 mi and the Full Growler 64 mi to take place on Sat and Sun of Memorial Day weekend. Then someone jokingly commented on ValidationBook (FaceBook) that I should go ahead and run the Sage Burner 50k on Monday, the third day in a row. In my odd brain this made sense, so I did it.
As the weekend got closer, I got more excited but not overly, still not excited enough to veer from the purpose of it being a training weekend. 1st goal was to at least line up for all three. 2nd goal was to finish all three. 3rd goal was to live through the MTB races and run a decent 50k.
I arrived on Friday and got situated with all my gear and bike and Pippit in my hotel room, which is actually quite a bit larger than the little house I rent and live in (and it has a TV). I felt fairly relaxed about the first race, the Half Growler, mostly because I kept thinking, "just going to treat it like I'm out by myself on local trails, steady and in control, taking no stupid chances." Well, as the sold out race lined up under the giant race arch, I edged my way up near the front line where it was obvious I didn't belong - Pros in full race kits on bikes light and outrageously expensive enough that they're usually reserved for fat middle-aged rich dudes trying to buy their way to speed (but I digress). The race starts with a shotgun blast that seemed pretty startlingly loud and we were off for the 5 mile police escort through the town and over to the trailhead. Suddenly, I was in long forgotten criterium road race mentality.
We hit the dirt finally and launched into an immediate long climb. I passed several people here and was probably in the top 30 (dumb). So, when I got to the first technical section, a couple of giant boulders bigger than my car with vertical 4 ft rock faces to climb up and over and drop off, I hesitated, tapped one foot down, lost my momentum and sort of went off the side and down the slightly slanted rock strewn cliff. I was surprised at the damage and pain from a fall that seemed to be in slow motion but I guess falling 7 ft straight down onto rocks with a bike on top of you can do some work on bare skin and bones. I was more stunned and shaken and in pain than I was embarrassed, probably because a few other guys did similar yet less traumatic falls while I lied there thinking I broke both arms. This was barely 20 mins into the race. Joyful.
|From my fall, 20 mins into 17 hours of racing. My wrist, hips and back resemble this image as well.|