“DNF” My Very First Time 11/10/2013

Still In The Race!

Still In The Race!

My knee hurts really bad and it looks swollen”, I say to hubby Shane, lamenting my two-week-old gravel crash from Bend Halloween race weekend 10/26/13. Through the clear Tegaderm patch, he can see the trapped puss and swollen tissue on my right kneecap. Tearing the patch off FAR TOO SLOWLY  (with much swearing from me) he calmly states, “You need to go to urgent care. No really. This is bad.” It’s 8 AM on a race day. Who has time for urgent care? Cross Crusade racing is in full swing and points matter to racers at the top of their field with only 2 races to go after today. Today is PIR Infield(Portland International Raceway) and I’m tied for first place in the master A’s.

Right knee 10/27/13 post Bend Race

Right knee 10/27/13 post Bend Race

By 10 AM I am home from urgent care with a fresh bandage, antibiotics and cleared to race from the Physician Assistant. Oh, did I mention she is a mixed martial artist in her spare time? Clearly, she understands my need for suffering.

PIR Heron Lakes Line Up

PIR Heron Lakes Line Up

    “RIDERS READY, TIMERS READY!” TWEEEETTTT goes the whistle. Off the line I go charging down the winding pavement with the hole shot, Hell bent on getting to the dangerous gravel right-hander first. “Stay with her, don’t let her get away!”yells a voice to someone behind me as we leave the gravel stretch for tacky mud, turning back towards the infield. The familiar kit of my main competitor Erica Wescott/Sunnyside Sports on my left coming by me now. Over the rollers, past the trees the course sends us around twists and turns, past pit 1, then out to the other side of the venue. Tight turns around low-slung branches and over slippery roots prove slow and tricky. I am losing my lead but doing my best to stay with the lead group. As we head back on the straightaway towards ‘Tent City’, I have slid to 5th and just trying to stay in contact. My rear wheel slides a couple of times in the turns but I keep it upright, just not feeling confident in the corners.

Plotting to bridge up

Plotting to bridge up

Throngs of cheering racers crowd the taped off course next to the off-camber hills dubbed “Pain Cave”. The ground is wet and chewed up with roots waiting to toss your wheel out from under you. “Uhhfffff”. Down I go before hill #2, running my right knee into the ground, but I recovered quickly, running to remount at the top.

After the only set of barriers, gears click to the big ring and off I go on the long pavement stretch to make up lost time. By 3 laps to go, Ann/Bike Attorney and Kristi/UEF look like they are tiring and I am able to bridge back up before we head into the trees again. My plan is to overtake both of them and work my way back up the field. Rounding the tape after pit #1, my rear wheel starts to slide out. Down goes my left foot to catch me but my bike goes sliding to the right with my right foot still clipped in. Left knee goes crashing to the ground at a horribly awkward angle, sending pain from knee to ankle. OMG what just happened?! Scrambling from the ground I tried to stand but the pain was horrible and I couldn’t bare weight as I leaned on my bike. And then I did something I have never done in my 4 years of racing…… I crawled to the other side of the tape and sat down, pain telling me my day was done. My skin is a road map of crashes in the form of scars, but never have I been in too much pain to continue. I found my own Pain Cave and crawled inside.

People came to help, officials radioed the medic as I writhed in pain, still shaking from the adrenaline. “Are you cold?” asks ref Jordan. Not cold, just jacked up from racing. No tears came, but lots of hard breathing through gritted teeth, trying to answer their questions about the accident. I was carried by my human chariot Jordan and Andy from the pit to First Aid where OBRA boss Mike Murray, MD. and fellow racer/nurse Jan Moss assessed me. “Possible MCL tear.” Dr. Mike phoned Kaiser to get me an urgent appointment. I watched my competitors battle it out for two more laps by the finish line while the lump on my left knee swelled. At least my knees are even now.  It was a weird feeling being on the outside when I was just there minutes ago racing. 

Infected Right Knee 11/12/13

Infected Right Knee 11/12/13

    Three doc visits later and the good news is my left knee is fine, no damage. Whew! BUT, the crash from Bend left me with a cellulitis infection in my RIGHT knee and very sore, swollen lymph nodes in my leg.

Doctors orders; Off the bike AND work for the week. If I am lucky, I get my redemption race at Barton Park on Sunday Nov.17th.

Fingers crossed!

Aerial View of PIR

Aerial View of PIR

Photo CreditsMatthew Lasala http://www.lasalaimages.com, Jacob Tong http://www.wolfsmouth.com, http://www.bicycleway.com

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