Saturday, June 28, 2008

NMBS #4 XC - Deer Valley, UT

"Sticks and stones may break my bike but
namely they didn't hurt me!" Thank heavens.

That was real scary stuff that happened to me today. Real scary.

How it went down:

Pro Women lined up for the start of the Cross Country race.


The Pro Women head up the hellacious Little Stick Hill Climb immediately following the start of the race.


Another shot of the Pro Women heading up the first climb from mtbracenews.com

By the time we got to the top of Little Stick I had gone from 5th to 10th. I wasn't worried but I was absolutely positively suffering suffering suffering. I was pushing SO hard beyond what I ever thought possible up to that point...and was still only in 10th if that gives you any indication of just how wicked strong and fast this entire women's field is. Holy Toledo. Once at the top of that climb I actually thought to myself, I can't do this and that it hurts so much I won't last two hours at this pace. Bad thing to think but my god, I was in PAIN and ready to vomit.

That first climb is everything and everyone knows it so its like a Short Track race to the top because it is there that the race course turns into very none passable singletrack. And, it didn't help that I couldn't have a higher cadence during the steepest part of the Little Stick climb in my 2 x 9 which I knew was going to be a problem on this lap. I am not so good when I can't spin, meaning that when I don't have a higher cadence, I am on the verge of blowing a lot easier. Luckily the plan was to send us up the switchbacks on the 2nd and 3rd laps instead of sending us straight up to the top of Little Stick like we had to do on the 1st lap. So my plan was to suffer a bit on the first lap and then enjoy the luxury of a sweet light 2 x 9 Carbon Taurine Hardtail on the 2nd and 3rd.

Photo courtesy of Lyna and Bob Saffel

After getting over the "I am going to barf right here right now feeling", I chomped my way through the field and got into 6th place very comfortably by the middle of the 2nd lap. I was feeling good, knew I was still gaining on the field in front of me, felt no pressure, was descending smooth and fast around some non technical GS turns right before Mitts house and then WHAM - I was suddenly careening into the sage brush, trees and whippers off trail.

I remember thinking as I was being launched through the woods like a torpedo "what happened, what is going on (and most importantly) when am I going to STOP." The launch lasted forever. Envision a broom being brushed back and forth across your face at a high rate of speed and that was me with my eyes open during the crash peering out my sunglasses. I just saw sticks and more sticks as I finally came to a halt. I still had no clue what hit me or what I hit but when I finally came to a stop I emerged from the brush like a creature from the night, picked up my bike and (oh no!) the stem was jacked 45 degrees, the right hand shifters were pointed straight up and the derailleur was off by many inches. Ok ok, no problem I think quickly to myself. This has all happened to me at one point or another in my career (not all at ONCE though) and I knew I could handle the situation. I put the stem back to the front of the bike, pushed the derailleur back to where it needed to be, and placed the shifters back in their respective spots. Ok, ready to ride! Or NOT. My chain was figure eighted or in some weird shape and I could not pedal more than half a turn. I get that straightened around and think ok fixed! Yeah right. I jumped on and I still couldn't get all but a half a turn in. Then sometimes it would actually let me turn it over for a brief moment or two just to mess with me and then it would suddenly come to a jolting stop. This wasn't looking good at all now as the last of the Pro Women's field made it around me as I kept dinking with my bike.

I started thinking to myself that I may have to DNF!! Oh my goodness..... D-N-F. That is something that I haven't had to do all but 2 times in my career of 260 plus races. I really didn't want to face that especially on my home turf at Deer Valley. Seriously. Really? Was I really going to have to do that today? Yep. I think I was really going to have to do that today. But just in case I didn't have to and just to make sure, I got around and off of the mountain by running/walking the flats and riding the descents and went through the start/finish area up to the tech zone just to see if anything could be done. Anything. Nope, there was too much damage to the bike; I had to DNF.

So, I stopped, got my recovery drink and called it a day. Probably one of the hardest things I have had to do in a while especially considering how I was feeling and where I was in the pack. Bum - Er. But at least I have sweet brows.



I had Dr. Eric, our trusty team mechanic, take a look at the damage. Is it broken I ask? Uh, yeah...you could say that, he said. I broke 2 out of 3 most expensive parts of my beautiful Taurine. The cranks/chainrings and the frame (the front shock was fine). Did I mention bummer?

Chainrings with a crack in the center. Yeah...you thinking what I am thinking???? That could have been MY LEG!!!!!!


Dead crankarm:


And the chainstay on the frame had plenty of layers of carbon missing meaning el bike-oh gets to go in the el trash - oh. Not kidding oh. It is now offically garbage.





What happened to me and my own body parts? Lets just say that I am one lucky ducky. I only have what I like to call "cat scratches" all over my left leg and face and even in my scalp. Maybe only 20 of them or so. Unbelievable really. They weren't even close to deep and really not too big either. And I am not really sore or bruised or anything. I feel fine. Just can't remember my name or where I live. Kidding.

What caused the crash? I really absolutely positively do not stinking know.

As for the frame and all, the best bike company ever, Cannondale, is over nighting a new one to me. Now that is what I call team support!!

1 comment:

Chris said...

Bummer girl... I checked first thing today and felt awful! You need a break! And not any more of the of bones, cannondale and shimano kind!

You will get your day in the sun... Keep on pushing.