Sunday, July 25, 2010

eat s*** and (almost) die: eee coal-eye 2 weeks before TR2010

The headache, the lightheadedness, then the chills. I knew something was up with Dennis, but I didn't know what, or how bad it was. He was ashen in the TRX workout on Monday, but as usual, I forced him on, "you'll feel better once you get the blood flowing" I coaxed.. But when his heart rate didn't drop after the first set, I felt we were in for a few rest days, nothing more. The next day, he was home at lunch from work to sleep in bed for God's sake, he must have been feeling like death. A trip to Oppendoc, some bloods drawn, a urinalysis and a reminder to lie low while the 100+ fever was working it's way through his body. We thought is was a UTI, or even a prostate infection, I joked to Dennis that he would need daily prostate massages to recover.. but when the doc informed us that it was this!, we were taken aback. Hand washing freaks, I go through tubs of Purell at work and am cautious with food preparation at home. We share 2 daily meals, and yet I wasn't sick, it didn't make sense. Had I confused the salad bowl for the toilet bowl? Did I really make him s*** on a stick for dinner? Not funny, he groaned as his insides convulsed and he lay soaked in sweat puddles. He took broad spectrum antibiotics and lay low. I filled my water bottles and rode my bike alone. We both worried that this would upset the plans for TR2010. Bummer.
Turns out, we need not have bashed our brains too much wondering where the poop in the system came from.
As I hosed down my bike, and scraped the turkey dung off the tyres and wheel rims, a little lightbulb went off in my head. Then, on this morning's ride in the North West woods, Craig stopped to wipe the turkey poo off his water bottle, smearing it all over his gloves, yummy. We swapped funny stories about getting covered in the stuff while mountain biking, almost crashing with laughter as Danny recalled a  Brian Monaghan tale about getting crap all over his bike during a ride, cleaning it off meticulously and then still complaining an hour later that he could still smell it. Little wonder, since a big glob of it was on the end of his nose! Poop problem solved, we will be digging out the Camelbacks and limiting our daily intake of trail droppings in the future.
What a difference a few days and some antibiotics make. The good news is that Dennis is riding like a demon, back to 4 hours today, albeit slower than normal..the bad news is the worry about what this junk can do to your system. It may get rid of the bacterial infection, but it just might explode some tendons in the process.
We are making the proverbial list (bike parts, how many pairs of shorts, will we pack 2 tubes of assbutt'r, where is the mandatory bear spray..) and checking it twice. I will take a bear attack over an exploding Achilles tendon anyday, and just in case, I am brushing up on my how-to-survive-a-bear-attack-videos. Honest.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The devil you know.. ..5 weeks to TR2010

This weekend I learned about the importance of being familiar with one's equipment..the hard way. As I massage my bruised ego, my scratched elbow and lumpy thigh, I can reflect on the past weekend's riding, preparation for Canada in 5 weeks time.
Friday's post-work ride was spectacular. Dennis and I rode our single-speeds, indeed, this is all I have been riding for almost 2 years straight, and haven't dug the geared bike out since our 2008  trip out west to Tahoe, Fruita and Moab. My Gary Fisher Rig is totally broken in, dialed to fit me perfectly, and I have learned the nuances of SS riding on the local trails. 3 laps down the "switchbacks" and up " gun club" with a loop around the "farmstand" trails had me on the rivet, almost gagging, just like the good-ol' days of hard-core Cat 2 road and MTB racing. But I was flying. I actually felt like D-Lo and I were riding the same bike at times, pivoting around the trees in a sweaty swirl, popping over tree roots and baby head boulders in sync, heaving for air as we crested the hills, grinding the 32 x17 into the dusty, sandy trails. We slept like dogs in the warm summer night, and took a chill road ride the next morning, after helping out with some bridge construction on our local trails. Spokespeople and EHTPS have been building metaphorical and physical bridges together, one proverbially muddy hand washing the other as we try to have a sustainable trail system locally. 
The Sunday came. Sunday Mass in Montauk means a 2-3 hour snotfest chasing Dan F.,  Craig D., usually Marty R., (currently laid up with a fractured femoral condyle..) and Dennis around the trails in Hither woods and Montauk. Not today. In the basement, I blew past the Rig and loaded the geared Gary Fisher Superfly into the car. Once in Montauk, I took off mid-pack, sandwiched as usual between the lads. Barely warmed up, I was paying attention to how my new favorite saddle wasn't quite adjusted, and how I missed the bar ends and grips from the Rig, and how the bars had too much sweep for me, and the seat height wasn't quite right and and and .. next thing I snag a tree on the left, spun hard to the right, losing contact with the front of my bike and BOOM, launched into the dirt, shoulder and elbow first ("tuck and roll") sliding towards the huge boulder at the end of Laurel Valley (aka Death Valley!). Thank god for helmets, my super comfy helmet squished nicely as it is designed to do, and saved my noggin from a kiss of granite. I lay underneath the bike, curled up in the dirt, and waited for the lads to extricate me..No real harm done, just stick and stones trying to break my bones, but ending up only with scratches and scrapes..
Back on the proverbial horse that threw me, I tried to befriend it, made nice relaxing thoughts flow and attempted to settle into the ride. 45' of so into my groove, I popped over a log I have cleared a hundred times on the Rig, but this time, dug in my unfamiliar large chain-ring, and while the bike came to a grinding halt on the log, I projected over the bars, superwoman style..Despite the lighter landing this time, I was fuming, furious and feeling like a total beginner..t I wanted to ride on my own, sulk a bit and get myself together, but instead got a big dose of NO sympathy, with barely even a dust-down from my fellow riders. Exactly what the doctor ordered. Back again on the bike, I chilled down, wiped the snot, sweat (and tear) away, and headed for the Powerlines..
Danny challenged us to a multi-bike duel at the top, and facing a 15' hammer down and up steep scrabbly hills, I wavered for a moment..sucked down some gel, tightened my helmet straps, then hit it hard..What a rush.. I was sucking the dusty dry Montauk dirt, forcing myself to relax on the steeps downhills and power into the climbs, trying to keep him in sight. I blasted by John V and Dennis, never saw Craig, and came to a halt a few sweaty miles later. Exhilarated, and upright. Turns out I still love this stuff..and look forward to many more miles on the way to TR2010..Just need to get more saddle time in on this beast, and tweak it to perfection for August.