Sunday, June 14, 2009

Scratch my Back with a Hacksaw!

You can't start a blog entry with scratch my back with a hacksaw and not say way to go Pens! For those of you reading this entry that have no idea what I mean, let me give you an explanation. When the Pens score a goal, long-time announcer of the Stanley Cup Winning Pittsburgh Penguins, Mike Lang, is almost guaranteed to say this after the Pens score a goal and so it has become a Pen's Tradition. To keep in the winning tradition of the Pens, I have decided to start my own strange scoring expletive for when I win a bike race.

I would bet that Mike Lang has an interesting story behind the hacksaw thing just like I will tell you my story behind my winning phrase. Let me start by saying that I was torn about doing the Stoopid 50 MTB Race this week. I wanted to do it, but since I am doing the 100 mile Lumberjack Race in Michigan this coming weekend, I thought it would be too much to do both races. Well, I decided that I needed to do a long distance ride over the weekend anyway, so why not just do a 50 mile race. I registered on Thursday Night and was feeling pretty good on my bike ride into work on Friday Morning. I thought that since I was feeling so good on my ride I would push it hard at the Stoopid 50 and try for a great result rather than doing it for just a training race.

After work on Friday, since I already did a ride in the morning before work, I decided to do some yard chores around my house. Nothing special about yard work; you do a little trimming and then get out the mower. Well, I get my weed whacker out and trim around my bushes and landscaping in the hurried fashion that I usually do it. Now, keep in mind when I am telling this story that I am highly trained with all types of firearms because of my line of work. I clearly understand that you should keep your finger off the trigger of a gun until it is ready to be fired. The same should hold true for power tools of any kind. Well, I certainly did not abide by all of this training while using my weed whacker on Friday. I am not sure exactly how it happened, but I think I was going to pull a weed while still running the weed whacker and while wearing shorts with no socks. The next thing I know I feel this intense stinging across the bottom of my leg and realized that I just weed whacked my upper ankle to a bloody pulp.

I walk up to the house, ask my wife for a rag and something to clean my gushing wound. I can tell you it did not look good. Among other thing, I started to think about how I was going to do a dirty MTB race in one day with an ankle that was all hacked-up. Well, I eventually got my bleeding to stop, finished my yard work and re-bandaged myself after getting cleaned-up. On Saturday, I was able to find some thin high socks with the use of gauze and tape to keep my leg clean during a training ride, so I was pretty confident that I would be okay for the race too. As luck would have it, though, while doing my training ride on Saturday, I totally whacked the knee on my same wounded leg into the stem on my bike. So, now, I had two injuries to contend with and my legs were definitely not feeling as fresh or confident as they did only a day earlier.

Brian D. picked me up on Saturday Afternoon for our trip up to State College. After we arrived in town and checked into our hotel, I noticed that my legs even felt more heavy and tired then they did earlier in the day. I was pretty sure that my race on Sunday would become a race of survival more than one of winning glory...and on a single speed nonetheless.

I surprisingly got an awesome sleep at the hotel where we stayed ( I usually don't) and woke up Sunday feeling pretty good again. I was on my new ride with a rigid carbon fork and thought that it would be a perfect set-up after hearing that the course was 60% fire road and 40% single track. What I didn't know was that the single track was pretty much all covered with jagged rock. On the first section of single track, I realized that I probably made a mistake by choosing a rigid fork over suspension. I was still riding pretty well, though, and was able to hang with local rider Matt Ferrari though most of the technical stuff. Matt and I rode pretty good together until the last check point, before he lost contact with me on a long climb. I stayed on the gas up the remaining climbs on the course, knowing that the race finished on a very technical downhill. By riding hard to put time on Matt, I actually caught-up to and passed a single speed rider that had escaped from Matt and I earlier in the race.

By the end, I was able to hang on for the single speed victory and was also able to take a 5th place overall finish out of over 200 racers at the Stoopid 50. So, considering my injury, I guess my winning saying should be: Whack My Leg with a Weed Whacker! Happy Trails - Gerry


Jason said...

Nice win. Sadly I did that same thing with a weed wacker a few years ago. Long pants and a careful trigger finger from now on.

Feel It: The Factory Rider said...

Get a push-mower and work on that lower back strength! Glad to hear the good results are coming in and good luck at Lumberjack!

roger said...

Gerry -- Since it seems to be workin for ya, maybe you should weed whack the other leg just before Breckenridge? Incredible job at Lumberjack. Two fifth place overall finishes in a row... Look out Fuzzy!