The events that have taken place since last Thursday have been more than I could have ever anticipated. And if ever I’ve taken racing too seriously, this weekend was surely a time where I kept it all in perspective. Thursday I learned that my mom had a heart condition that would require a relatively immediate surgery scheduled for early this week. With this in mind I booked a plane ticket home for Monday before heading up to Phoenix for the NMBS series opener.
Friday’s TT got off to a good start as I finished 26th, somewhat satisfied, but knowing that perhaps I was overly conservative on the first gradual climb out of the start. It was also fun to find my mug on cyclingnews.com, check it out here. I knew that this result meant that I could do a good XC, so it was a boost before the weekend’s main events – the STXC under the lights Saturday and Sunday’s XC event.
Saturday I was called up in about the 15th row, not an ideal situation for a short track… I knew that I’d have to ride hard and make up ground quickly if I would have a chance at a good result here. Unfortunately 30 seconds into the race this option left as quickly as I went over the bars. I came off the course’s first dirt mount directly into another bike. My hip, forearm and head took the brunt of the blow. I got up slowly and limped around the course to be pulled. I could hardly move that night as my hip was quite stiff.
Sunday things had loosened up and I was excited about having a good XC race. I got off to a good start for the first 15 minutes before launching my bottle over some rough braking bumps. The thought of no fluid intake for the first 40 minutes of the race in 90 degree heat scared me a bit and I lost some ground, but was still riding respectably. Not much later I slashed my rear sidewall on one of the long loops rougher sections. Along side me were Kris Sneddon and also Adam Synder, both fixing their own punctures. I slammed a PowerGel so that I could properly boot the tire before installing the tube. I got off with about 35 pounds of air courtesy of the BigAir. I could only laugh at my luck before I went on to pinch my tube no more than five minutes down the trail. At this point I was more or less out of luck until a spectator directed me off course to his truck. “Follow the wash out to the road and I’ve got a tube and CO2 there in my seat bag.” Sure enough, I followed the wash out to the road and was able to make some quick repairs. I followed the wash back to the place I exited the course and started racing once again. That first lap took an hour so I knew that leaders were likely no more than 10 minutes behind me, a thought that kept me charging hard for laps two and three before I was pulled. The leaders finished about 5 minutes later so I guess the officials didn’t wait around for me. Too bad they’ve got me scored as a DNF rather than a lapped rider so maybe they’ll get it fixed.
The bulk of Monday was spent traveling back to Eau Claire after airport delays of 3.5 hours in PHX. I got back in time to visit with my mom and the family some before sleeping at yet another motel. Today was to be the surgery day so most of the day was spent in the family waiting room. About two hours after we all thought that the surgery started the surgeon walked in and said “The surgery is off”. We were all wondering what they’d been doing then… And why was it off? Apparently the surgeon’s vision is sharper than that of the cardiologist. His final review of the echocardiogram revealed that the mitral valve was not damaged enough to warrant surgery today. The same imaging was done Friday and the cardiologist told us that things appeared “worse than first thought”. So obviously there is some explaining to be done, but in the end no surgery is good new for my mom and that is what matters most in the end. It’s just too bad that they realized this only after having her laid out on the operating table fully prepped for the big surgery. Needless to say we all went through a lot of stress that apparently wasn’t fully warranted. She’ll return home tomorrow once she’s off the anesthesia and cleared.
I fly back to Arizona on Friday so perhaps with the recent change of events I’ll have some quality time with the family rather than simply a lot of hospital bedside visiting… My hip is feeling better everyday which is great, but I’ve also been realizing that my nose is quite sore and has begun to bruise. Things feel swollen in there so who knows what happened. Perhaps more than I thought as tonight I found a dent and a crack on my helmet to match the 1/4″ long scratches on the lenses of my VTi’s… I’d say that my luck was horrible, but considering all that my mom has been through, perhaps my situation isn’t so bad after all.
I must give props to two racers who have surely gained Momentum for their 2007 seasons: Mike for stomping the Semi Pro’s in his first ever attempt and to Chloe for making a seamless transition to the rank of the ‘Pro’ Pro’s, after having three awesome results as Luna’s newest and youngest ever racer. As the stages got more challenging she only placed better: 13th in the TT, 11th in STXC, and 9th in the XC. These two riders were awesome!
Keeping it Real, -TJ