At the start I felt sick good. On the 100 meter run up the ski slope I ran only hard enough to get clear of the mob and seed myself well once we got on the bikes. For the first ~2 miles I sat back in 6th watching and waiting for someone to start riding. At Mile 2 I finally went and settled in to a quite relaxed, cruising rhythm and when I looked back after a mile I was completely alone. No one in sight. I kept it chilled and at mile 10 I could catch glimpses of a lone rider maybe 2 minutes back. At mile 12 he was clearly making ground and would catch. The guy was pro rider Alex Hagman of the Jelly Belly team. He caught me at mile 16 and I jumped on his wheel hoping he could steer me through the descents. He was sick fast and technically worlds ahead of me but I made the decision to take my fingers off the brakes and just go with him... very shortly after on a tight downhill switchback I rode up on a dirt berm with a washout at the base and my front tire slid down and came completely out from under me. I saw the ground coming at me followed by a loud gong in my head. I jumped up and collected my bike and bombed down continuing on.
Alex didn't get away. I was still within a minute after the next climb and my legs still felt amazing. Very controlled with zero fatigue or stress to speak of... at this point my memory starts to have gaps. Just short flashes of the course... of seeing the leader up ahead. A hill. Some snow... then nothing. A blank screen on my memory. From mile 18 to mile 23 is gone and I was blacked out. All I know is that I crashed again because the road rash from my first crash was only on my right leg but now I have road rash on my entire left leg and arm too.
This is all I remember after mile 18.
Rolling up to my wife at the halfway point. Blood blocking my vision in my right eye... Ken Chlouber taking my timing chip and me arguing that I'm still in it... a guy with a moustache in the EMS vehical... looking up and seeing the halo of a CT scan machine as I slowing slid inside... arguing with an ER nurse that I needed to go and get my bike. From that point on things start to come back. I remember getting my bike and riding back to my car. Getting to the camp and starting to get ready for the run the next day (I would make a few phone calls to doctor/athlete friends who talked me off that cliff). The rest of the evening is spotty at best but I do remember Patrick Garcia coming out to camp with us which really helped me a ton personally to lighten my mood and take my mind away from my disappointment.
My helmet shattered and my sunglasses shattered against my temple leaving a gash that could have used 6-7 stitches. I opted for glue instead. Concussion. My teeth and jaw hurt, my neck hurts. My ribs are (possibly) cracked as I can't breath deep and coughing is agony from my chest to the middle of my back. My sternum and chest are bruised from my handlebar. My left thumb is excruciating to move and my wrist is completely torqued. My palm is ripped open. From the first crash (that I'm sure of) I have deep bruising in my right hip with flesh gone from my thigh to my ankle. My right quad and right shin are very bruised. I strained my inner quad up in to my groin. From the second crash (that I'm sure of) I have flesh gone from my left arm from my wrist to my elbow, deep bruising in my left hip and road rash from my left hip to ankle.
I'm emotionally exhausted and loooooow. I'm very fit right now, was riding exceptionally well and felt amazing. It was one of those days that don't happen all the time where you're strong and fatigue just isn't happening. I'm down mostly because I made a poor decision to ride above my ability and take an unnecessary risk and I keep replaying that switchback over and over and over in my head wishing I had just simply touched my brakes. I'm also struggling with the fact that I have 4 weeks until the Leadville 100 bike and I can't even lift my kids. Everything will sort itself out though, it always does and always will and this isn't the end of the world and I need to remember what it could have been... that I'm fairly lucky really. Whatever shattered my helmet could have been sitting just 2" closer and it could have hit me in the temple. I could have broken my neck. Instead I camped that evening and took the photo that is my header pic. And here are a couple more.
|Our campsite looking up at Hope Pass|
|The start. I'm on the front line just right of center in the orange and white.|
|Apparently I was hungry waiting for the brain scan... I'm completely in a blacked out state here.|
|My absolute favorite sunglasses... a little glue and they'll be good to go. I will definitely leave the blood though.|