Monday, June 9, 2008

Sprints, Manayunk and Pigeon Poop

Most people who know me know that I am not much of a sprinter. I like to do longer races and let things sort out that way, instead of in the last 200 meters or so. Well, this was a week of change for me for many reasons, which also included doing a short race, a very short race.

So, I changed some things up this week to help my shoulder heal. First, I took off my my rigid fork and put my Reba on my Mamasita. I probably should have done this before the Mohican 100 because I could instantly feel a difference in how my shoulder felt when on rough terrain. Secondly, I took off my Bontrager Satelite Mountain Bike "triathlon handlebars" and then installed my nice and wide carbon Salsa Pro Moto Bars with a 17 degree bend. I think these bars should give me more control over steering and a wider base to support of my upper body. These changes combined with the regiment of PT given to me by Fotia Physical Therapy has really seemed to help my shoulder to recover quite nicely so far. It certainly is not a 100%, but is coming along much quicker than I thought that it would.

I had to work this past weekend, so doing a long MTB race was not an option for me. But, since everyone I work with knows that I am an avid racer, I was volunteered to do a law enforcement only bicycle race competition, which was a part of an event known as the Delaware County Hero's Challenge. Not only did I get volunteered into doing the race, but also into setting up the race course. I did not have much terrain to work with in designing the course because it was all to be held on the athletic grounds of Widner University in Delaware County, PA. After, checking out the area on a few training rides, I was able to create about a three mile loop that included some natural and man-made obstacles on it, to make it at least a little fun to do. At the time I designed it, I thought that 3 loops (9 total miles) of the course would be good for a law enforcement only race.

So, after spending two hours marking out the course on the day of the event, I took the 20 competitors around the loop to make sure that everyone understood where to go during the race. It was amazing to me that most of the riders were barely able to make it around the course at a very slow warm-up speed with many catch-up and wait stops. I mean granted it was 95 degrees at the time, but these guys were suffering before we even did one mile on the course. By the time we finished the warm-up loop, I could tell that this was not going to be much of a race. Most of the riders then approached me and the event organizer before the race started to request that the race only consist of one 3 mile loop instead of 3 that I had initially planned to do. I didn't argue with their choice, even though I did not agree with it, because I really did not want to be responsible for rescuing one of the guys from a myocardial infarction during the race.

As I expected, it was not much of a race.... I won the race, about two minutes later another trooper from my station came in second, in about another two minutes another local PD officer finished, two minutes after that a female officer finished and then the rest of the male officers limped across the finishing line. At the end, you would have thought that these guys had just finished one of the 100 mile races that I do instead of a 3 mile race by the look of exhaustion on their faces.

After seeing me win the bike race event, the other troopers from my station then requested that I be apart of their 1 mile running relay team. I was a little hesitant at first because I have not really done any running, especially sprinting and because I was not certain of how my shoulder would take the running. But, I did agree to do the run for the team anyway. So, I started my second sprint race of the day and surprisingly enough actually won my lap. The other troopers on my team also won their relays, so we were the overall winning relay team. I still find it hard to believe that I was able to win a sprint, not to mention while I was running. I was also happy that I had no discomfort in my shoulder during the run, or afterwards.

Well, after my day of sprints on Saturday, I decided to do a nice long ride. To make the ride more interesting, I decided to ride from where I am living in West Chester, PA down to Manayunk to see a lap of the Commerce Bank Philadelphia International Pro Road Race come through town. I arrived in Manayunk about ten minutes before the pack was to arrive, thanks to the guided help of a rider named Tom that I met while on my ride. Once in Manayunk, I found a nice shaded spot under the SEPA Train Bridge, next to another guy that seemed to me like he might of been homeless. Anyway, this guy, like many others in Manayunk at the time already had a nice beer buzz going and was heckling just about every girl that walked near him. I really did not pay much attention, though, because I just wanted to make sure my camera phone was ready to take a picture of the riders when they came. Suddenly, I heard and felt a big splash on my left shoulder, you know the injured one. Well, I look down to my shoulder to find a big pile of pigeon poop sitting there. I then looked up to see the actor of this crime perched above me, almost as if he was laughing at my misfortune. The drunk, heckling, homeless guy seeing my bad situation then pulls out the largest wad of fast food napkins that I have ever seen one person possess and offers me one to clean-up. I accept his kind offer and then ask for another because one napkin is not enough to handle the pile on my shoulder. From what I understand, it is good luck to have a bird poop on your shoulder...maybe it was meant to be a sign from above that my shoulder is healing. I don't know either way, but I will say that I am thankful to the man carrying an endless supply of napkins with him.

So, even though I did not get to do any epic races this weekend, I did still have some interesting times and observations. Before I end this blog, let me say nice job to Ernesto for his second place at Big Bear and to all the others that did the race. From what I have read so far, it does sound like it was quite the death march. I will be going out to Wellston, MI this Saturday for the third leg of the NUE Series, The Lumberjack 100. I will be sure to update the blog after the race. Until then, Happy Trails. - Gerry


Jason said...

Good luck at the L. Jack. I wish a pigeon would poop on my back!

Gerry and Andy said...

Thanks Jason...but, be careful about your wishes. Pigeon poop is some nasty stuff.