Monday, November 28, 2011

Jingle Cross

Another edition of Jingle Cross has come and gone and here I sit not sure just what to do next. I guess that's something for later in the post so I'll start with the races. It's kind of funny that I was checking the weather a few days before the race and I started whining to Mathgeek about the predicted cold, wet, windy conditions. She just looked at me and said, "I guess you will have REAL cross conditions this weekend". Ouch, that must mean just shut up and race. That statement actually isn't true, the KCCX crew has seen our share of muddy races this year when we have been on the road, it's just the local races that have not seen mud this year. In any case the weather on Friday was actually pleasant, 50 degrees with a little wind had me taking my number off my thermal skinsuit and putting it on a normal one after warming up. Conditions were really good and the course to my liking so I was ready to race. The only part of the course that I didn't like was the run-up but it was so steep that nobody was going fast up it. That's a good thing for this gimp. I races the Masters 45+ race that starts 1 minute after the 35+ race. Once we started it didn't take long to mix in with the 35+ race and I  managed work through some of the 35+ race and get into the lead of my race. The problem with mixing of the two races is that you never really have an idea of who is in your race and who isn't. I pretty much set a pace and stuck with it to the end for the win. Kind of nice since my fitness is pretty questionable right now.
Saturday dawned and it was a whole different ball game. The weather had changed and it had rained all night. On top of that the temps had dropped a bit. Even with the steady rain it wasn't too bad out, that is until just before my race when the wind changed to the north. Soon the temps dropped even more and a gusty cold wind popped up. As you can see in the picture above the course soon turned to sloppy mud and many of the climbs/descent's turned into runs. I'm no fan of the cold but the muddy conditions favor my style of riding so I was ready to race. After another good start I got into the lead and started stretching it out a bit. I was running the downhill switchbacks until the last pitch then jumping back on the bike. It worked great until the 3rd lap when I didn't get clipped back into my pedals. As I was trying to get clipped back in I hit a bump and went cartwheeling over the bars. There's a video below of Steve crashing at the bottom of the same hill. Anyway, I did a complete yardsale to the roar of the crowd and then jumped back on my bike only to find the front brake messed up. I got it fixed enough to get back to the pit and change bikes and that's when I found out my knee and ankle were tweaked pretty bad. It was bad when I went to change bikes and even worse when I hit the barriers. Game over, time to quit. It was just about then that I noticed I wasn't wearing my glasses anymore. Hmmmmm, I guess it's a good crash when you have to go back and look for your glasses!

Crop circles in Iowa! Actually It's the death spiral part of the course that was worn into the grass during the races.
Sunday came and it was cold but the rain had stopped, yea!!!! That didn't mean that the mud would be better, actually it was worse. It went from a soupy consistency to sticky peanut butter. Here is where having a good crew in the pits really makes a difference. Our teammate Logan and his dad worked the pits to perfection for Bill and I in the 35+/45+ race. We were changing bikes every lap and it makes a huge difference. I would dump off a muddy 30 pound bike that wouldn't shift well and pick a perfect bike. They would scramble to wash it, dry it, and make it work, all before I came around again in 9 minutes. Lap after lap they were ready and it worked, I won and Bill was 6th.

I don't know where I was for this! Actually there is a speedo/swimsuit/singlespeed charity race for a race sponsor. It's really fun to watch for a number of reasons and I'm kind of sad I missed it.

Below is something that you see quite a bit during the weekend. Mud mixing with pea gravel is not a good thing for bikes. Just one pebble in the der and jam it up and in a second you end up with what you see below. The bummer for this guy is that he has a destroyed electronic Dura Ace der and those are big $$$$$$$.
Here's the video of steve crashing. I crashed with a bit more speed about half way down the hill and ended up rolling through the tape. Found my glasses in the weeds near the bottom and now I have a black and blue ankle for my efforts.

The Specialized mechanics showing classic form in the pits. One ready to catch and one holding the clean bike. Once the exchange is made one guy washes the bikes while the other keeps track of the riders. You can see the other mechanics in the background looking for their riders. Lyne at PodiumInsight has a good article that she wrote on the subject here.

One of the best parts of the weekend is that both Joe and Kevin got UCI points. People with UCI points start in the front rows at UCI races like the USGP series. It's the difference between starting in the 3rd row of 8 riders vs the 10 row.

Now for that what next question I was referring to at the beginning of the post. Today is the day that I went in for a 2nd opinion on my knee. Last year there were 3 choices, cortisone, arthroscopic surgery, or joint replacement. Last year I chose to shoot it full of cortisone and muddle through the rest of the cross season. During the summer I really didn't have many problems with the knee during road season but as soon as cross started I had issues. So since the season has become such a disaster I decided to see what could be done and not worry about Nationals or Masters Worlds. Today I was told that my knee rates a 8/9 on a scale of 1-10 for knee replacement. In fact, if I were 60 or older he would schedule it for next week. If I decided today that I was done bike racing he said that it was a strong possibility he would just go ahead a do the surgery now regardless of my age. But mentally I'm just not done yet, I have been thinking about scaling back a bit so maybe the process has begun. Anyway, after much discussion with the surgeon today cortisone and arthroscopic surgery has been ruled out as they would be ineffective. There are really only two options, knee replacement or injections with some stuff called Orthovisc. So injections it is starting next week. For the next 3-4 weeks I'll be going in every Monday to get my knee shot full of goop. 

So that pretty much kills any hopes for Cross Nationals and most likely Masters Worlds. It all depends on how my knee reacts to the first injection. If you can't train you can't race so I'll just have to see what happens.

1 comment:

Coach said...

Hey man, Glad to hear you are getting an option on the Knee. Good luck. Let us know how it goes.