Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sea Otter Was Classic

(Photo of practice run before race shows me riding with a yet undiagnosed fractured elbow -- ouch!)

Sea Otter Classic 2010 had us hoping for the best this year. We started out missing one girl from the Eastside so only two were going to represent. (One girl got a brand new totally bitchin' [yay, 80's slang] Intense 951 as a trade off. Sometimes those decisions have to be made). The other two of us signed up for a race we were not yet familiar with at Sea Otter -- the Super D. We went in not knowing what to expect and one came out pleasantly satisfied. If this post seems all about numbers 1,2,3 -- it's because it is: Three talked about racing, two went to the race, and one ended up racing.

I started out Thursday practice on an absolutely gorgeous day out at Laguna Seca all by myself -- no one from my group showed up until that evening. The course was more than perfect. It was fast, flowy, jumpy, challenging but not too rutted-out. Riders lined up for practice runs chatting excitedly with each other, happy to be together where bike lovers/geeks/enthusiasts come from all over. I met local people, people from Florida, people from Nashville. It was awesome! I was feeling really good on my bike too and focused on having a great ride. I wanted to get in as many runs as possible so I figured I'd hang out on the DH course most of the day.

First run, I got familiar with the course -- and as I mentioned, it was fun! Second run, was probably my best of the day and I felt totally at one with this course and my beloved bike. I was getting really excited for the race on Saturday. Third run, I was surprised at how I was already feeling tired. It's amazing how much physical and mental strength and stamina a three minute course demands! It totally blows my mind and is very hard to explain to some people who couldn't understand -- how long is race, they ask? About a mile, I say. Uhhh, is there response. I explain it's like a sprint, a very intense, high skill level sprint. The mind and body are working very quickly and powerfully together (I usually don't give that much information). What can I say, I'm in love with the sport.

It was my fourth run where I crashed on a gap jump. I'm not exactly sure what happened. I mean I know that I decided to land on the right side of the jump and that the landing was off-camber, but it happened so quickly that I was tossed to the ground, sliding across the dirt on my full-face helmet. Thank you helmet. I let my body go limp -- you know that feeling when you know you are not going to pull out of a crash so you just surrender to lessen the torsion of your body at impact (learning to crash . . . it is one of the skill levels). The pain was immediate but the endorphins were high and I didn't realize that I needed to go to the medical tent until about an hour later. Once I got home an x-ray confirmed a fracture in my right elbow.

To spare the reader any more details, I opted not to race in either race, the Super D or the DH. I made a practice attempt at the DH before the race and the course was very choppy now compared to Thursday and I decided since I couldn't ride to my full potential and that I would listen to the pain, I wouldn't race. I was beyond disappointed about the DH race, but had to tell myself "there's always next year." And there is. I got excellent care from a totally hot intern in the medical tent. (In fact he emailed me and asked if he could use my case for his class presentation. Go for it dude). I got to meet Rachel, Gee and Dan Atherton in the med tent. Dan actually gave me some riding tips and the greatest smile ever. (Thank you Dan!). So, Sea Otter, like anything in life, is what you make of it. And what you take away from it. I chose to take away a great experience (although Friday I was suffering quite a bit) and continue learning from this classic year at Sea Otter.

Healing is going really well. I'll be back on the bike again soon!


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