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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Critical of my crit - part 2

My run in with the official meant I got to the line later than I wanted and I didn't get on the front row like I wanted. While waiting to start the officials went around checking the numbers.

I had made sure that my number was turned correctly and to the left of my back. However, as soon as I saw my official friend walking toward me I knew it wasn't going to be accepted. A nice guy behind me was kind enough to make the very minor adjustment.

I tried to shake it off and get back the grin I had on my face the day before. I knew I had the potential do well, but I just needed to get going and move through the unknown. Then it was time to go.

Things started off kind of fast. Since I was on the outside, there were a good number of riders that got out in front of me. For a moment, I had a fear that I was caught behind some slower riders and there was a gap forming. However, as we started onto Rhett, I caught some riders on the turn and as we crested the first hill I counted about eight riders ahead.

For the next couple of laps, I stayed between the top 5 and 10 riders. I was feeling a little winded and my legs were hurting a bit. It was tough, but I knew it would pass and I would only feel better during the mid point of the race.

On lap 4 - at least I think it was - I heard an awful sound right off my rear wheel. Someone went down and crashed into the metal barrier. This was in the Camperdown/Rhett corner. It was the most technical one. I had come close to the barrier once myself.

That lap and the next, I started feeling much better. I even broke out of the line and made a move past a couple of riders on the Main Street stretch. At this point, I knew I was going to make it. So, I didn't push it and tried to stay in contact with the front so I could cover any move that might develop.

Then it happened. I think it was lap 6, but they all seemed to run together. Up to this point, I had entered most corners with other riders. This made me adjust my lines at times or work to maintain a line so I wouldn't cause problems.

On this entry into the Camperdown/Rhett corner I was on the wheel of the guy in front. No one was on either side of me and there was a slight gap to the guy behind. I decided to try to cut in on the turn to avoid getting too close to the barrier and also to get more speed going into the climb.

I went to the edge of my tire and then went over it. My bike went down right beneath me. I slid stopping before reaching the barrier. As soon as I could get unclipped I got up and pointed my bike in the right direction and hopped back on. I did all of this and there was still parts of the field coming past. I figured if I could get back on, I might be able to use some riders from the back to work to the front.

I started down Rhett toward Augusta and saw the leaders on the other side of the intersection. I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn't want to quit. I shifted to a harder gear and started after them. As I rolled I began to assess the damage.

My bike appeared to be fine. Then I realized I really couldn't feel my left hand. Just as I reached Augusta, I looked at it. My pinkie finger was sticking out to the side at a nearly 90 degree angle. It took a second for it to register and my first thought was, "How will I be able to shift with my finger sticking out like that?" My second thought was that I had broken my finger and I probably needed medical attention.

I stopped and asked the course marshal, "Can I get a medic?" He replied, "The medic tent is on the other side of the course. "Oh," I said as I showed him my hand, "I really think I need a medic." He seemed confused and then offered to carry my bike for me. I told him not to worry about it, I would walk it over.

I had to walk across the center of the course. Right now my finger started to hurt a little bit. My thought at this point was that I wished I hadn't given my camera to my nephew to take pictures round the course because this would be one cool shot for the blog!

Finally I made it to the stage area which was right across from the medic tent. I asked the officials there if they could get me a medic. They pointed across the street and said, "The medic tent is over there." At this point the pain was starting to get worse and each time I looked at my finger I didn't feel so good.

"I really would like for you to bring me a medic over here. I think I broke my finger. I want to sit down." They looked at me with non-comprehending eyes until I held up my finger for them to see. At that point, Rich Hincapie looked over and said, "Get a medic over here now."

In no time, someone from the St. Francis tent was over checking me out. She cleaned up the blood and started poking at my hand. "I think you just dislocated it," she said. I was so relieved I felt like laughing. She pulled on the finger and it went back into place and the pain was gone immediately.

That was the end of my criterium race. A rookie mistake took me out. Today I'm paying for it. My left pinkie was dislocated and is black and blue today. All my other fingers except my right pinkie and both index fingers are jammed. The road rash on my left leg now matches the rash on my right. It has taken me nearly 45 minutes to peck this out!

I'll be back next year!



At 10:25 AM, Blogger Blair said...

Hey Jonathan. This is Blair LaMarche from St. Francis Sports Medicine. I was tending to riders this weekend with my co-worker Jen who took care of you. If you would be so kind as to mention that we are certified athletic trainers and not "medics" it would be greatly apprecitated. Thanks, Blair


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