Wednesday, April 27, 2016

It's Not Like I Can Help It

I love riding bikes.  It's mostly what I do in life these days.  With two ribs still on the mend, I'm really trying to keep from overdoing it by getting on the trail too soon.  Sure, the doctor said I can ride "when I'm ready."  However, I know that if I rush this shit I'll take much longer to recover.  My goal was to stay off the trails for at least six weeks, doing nothing but road and urban rides until I was completely healed.

Well, I'm a victim of my own stupidity and sweet singletrack in close proximity to my residence.

On my urban ride, I somehow ventured onto the gravel part of the greenway because I thought I was feeling up to it.  Along the way I remembered that one of the best trails around, RTS, was right under my nose.

Screw it.  I'm in.

The bumps were minimal at first, but riding a single speed hurt me some.  Having to stand up to climb (and pull up on the handlebars) put quite a strain on my ribs.  I dealt with it because it was fun.

And sometimes fun hurts pretty fucking bad.

The trail isn't too rooty, and I'd gotten a little used to the pain while climbing.  And then...


Who gives a shit.  It was too late to turn back.  The joy of singletrack helped me forget the hurt.  I hit more rocks.

Fun.  Srsly.  I was outside, on my bike, in nature, enjoying a sweet trail close to home.  I said nature, right?  Look at this tree...

I mean, LOOK AT IT.


It was an awesome time.  Almost like I'd never been off the bike.  It was just like Beggar's Canyon back home.

Star Wars reference because I can.

Mentally, it was great to be back in the (real) saddle again.  Physically?  Well...

I may have a little bit of a setback.  We'll see.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Too Much Time

I've been really busy at work recently (not a bad thing I guess), but the weekends have been kinda slow.  Since I'm still hurting quite a bit, long trips to ride my bike are out.  That gives me lots of free time.  I've been sleeping a lot and playing a ton of guitar (even learning two new songs over the last few weeks of my convalescence.)  But I haven't had much "fun."  Play fun.  You know, like a kid (or an adult acting like a kid) on a bike.

I needed some play time, so I bought myself a toy.

Yeah, it's one of those drone/quadcopter thingys.  Pretty fun once I got the hang of it.

Outside fun time.  It's still not time on a bike.  Yeah, I was outside, but not long enough. I keep getting the hairy eyeball when I stayed indoors too long.

Screw it.  I couldn't take it any longer.  I had to get out on the bike.  Not really digging another roadie adventure, I grabbed one of my off-road machines to try an urban ride.

Don't be such a roadie.

Behind my neighborhood is a hiking trail of some sort.  I ride it every once in a while but this time it was a big deal to try it.  You know, because bumps and stuff.

It actually wasn't bad.  The real issue I had was when I tried to stand up and climb.  You know, because single speed.  Still, I started looking for more stuff off the beaten path.

And to enjoy being outside.

Ribs hurt, but being off road was so much fun that I temporarily forgot about it.  I kept going and ended up on another path through the woods.

It was enjoyable for sure.  I was on my bike, the weather was perfect, and I was able to forget about the pain I was in.  Even gravel grinding was fun.

But then I remembered that there was a trail nearby.  I was feeling frisky, and definitely missed riding on singletrack.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


One ride wasn't enough.  I had to do it again.  And even though I struggled with my first ride back, I got a taste of happiness and wanted more.  Only four miles nearly killed my legs and lungs, so why not tack on moar miles?

Who gives a shit.

I grabbed the skinny tire bike this time for some roadie action.  I figured it would be easier to cover a longer distance, and maybe a little easier on my sore ribs.

You know, so I can ride with one hand and take pictures with the other.

Before you give me shit, I wasn't being serious roadie.  I just wanted to get out and pedal on a really awesome day.  I mean, real roadie douchebags don't wear baggie shorts.

Just douchebags like me trying to ruin the sport.

Anyway, I had a short route planned on some local roads.  Most of the time they're safe around here because of bike lanes.

But there is a shitload of construction going on, which means the bike lane ends when it never really existed.

It wasn't just bike lanes though.  The road construction/temporary road repairs made the ride bumpy at 125 p.s.i. which meant pain.  I'd almost forgotten that my wrist was still sprained, and the bumps were none too kind on the ribs either.  That made me long for the days when I had my own, private road that was brand new (i.e. smooth) concrete.

Damn cars.

I don't mean to complain.  I was enjoying my time on the bike.  I just wanted to get onto some smoother surfaces and away from traffic.  I high-tailed it over to the local greenway, where things were moar better.

That was the best part.  You know, being on the bike again.  I was happy, and I waved and smiled at everyone I passed out there (opposite direction of course.)  And other than my injuries, I felt better physically too.  Eventually I wandered my way back home, where I could enjoy a nice reward for my effort.

I'm still gonna hurt for a while, but at least I can pedal a little bit to keep from going batshit crazy.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Too Soon?

Well, it's been a little over two weeks since I broke two ribs.  Two for two, doh.  The healing has sorta begun I guess, because even though I'm still in pain and uncomfortable most of the time I am actually sleeping better.  One problem remained though...

I was dying to get on my bike.

Not actually dying, but falling into a deep depression by not doing the main thing that keeps me from doing so.  I've been trying to do other things to keep me from thinking about the fact that I can't ride to no avail.  I've starting learning a few new songs on the guitar, but nothing comes close to making me happy like being on two wheels.  I even tried to rent a movie, but I suck at that.

Once upon a time... 

Anyway, I decided to take my doctor's advice and ride my bike when I felt ready to do so.  I wasn't sure if I was really ready, but I had to for my sanity.  Little Miss Sunshine and I decided to do a date night with a short ride up to the local pizza spot for some food and beer.

Wow.  It was nice to pedal and feel the wind on my face.  It was a beautiful evening.  It was nice to get out.  It was...


I could feel every little bump on my ribs, but the real problem was my fitness.  After two weeks of doing nothing but sitting at a desk and on the couch, I was so out of shape that I had trouble getting up the hill out of my neighborhood.  The little lady dropped me a couple of times, and had to ride really slow in order for me to be able to keep up.  I didn't imagine that such a short ride would be so difficult.

How short, you ask?

We left the house and rode a mile and a half to the store.  I went inside for a little bit, then we rode a half mile to the pizza spot.  We sat there for a while (eating pizza and drinking a few beers) and it was time to ride another mile and a half home.  It was a grand total of three and a half miles with lots of breaks.  When we got back home, I was exhausted and pretty much passed out (and proceeded to sleep for over ten hours.)

I felt like I'd ridden for hours and put in tons of miles.  I didn't understand it.  I expected to lose some fitness while I recovered, but this was ridiculous.  Three and a half miles and I was spent.  Oh yeah, my ribs still hurt.

This recovery shit is gonna suck.

Hang in there.  

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fun Friday

Once again I took more days off than I intended.  Yeah, I’m injured and all that.  Who gives a shit.  I really just felt like being away.

I still hurt.  Quite a bit, thanks for asking.  When I sneeze, laugh, cough, etc. it feels like someone is stabbing me with a dull, rusty knife covered in dog shit.  Also, I haven’t slept worth a damn because I can’t get comfortable.  I move during the night, roll over onto my broken bones, and the pain keeps waking me up. 

So I’m kinda cranky. 

Plus, I’m a little depressed about the whole thing.  The fact that I can’t do anything for a while really bugs me.  It’s not just about the racing either.  I can deal with that.  But, I love riding my bike and nothing else I do makes me feel as happy.  I’ve tried other things like playing a little guitar, and of course, self medicating.

With beer…

I like beer, but quite honestly I haven’t been drinking that much (so I can keep from putting on a gazillion pounds during this long period of inactivity.)  Just as I started whittling my way down to race weight (225 pounds in my case) I have the potential to balloon up to well over 250.  I don’t need that, especially since I drink really good (high calorie) beer.  And no, I won’t drink anything less.

I’m actually getting a little bit better though.  The swelling around my rib cage has gone down and the healing has begun.  It’s all I can do not to rush it, but I promised myself when I got to the point where I could move around normally without much pain I’d go for a little bike ride.  I think that time might be this weekend.

I’m not gonna do anything to jeopardize my recovery, so the first (and probably only) ride this weekend will most likely be a quick trip up to the store, or to dinner with the little lady.  Something easy, with nothing but smooth pavement under my tires.  I’ll keep both wheels on the ground too.

I pinky swear.

I just want to be back to normal so I can ride bikes in the woods (and mountains) again.  If I heal up properly and feel like racing again later this season, then I’ll do that.  But for now I just want to ride.

So that’s my Fun Friday/weekend plans.  There will be beer, and possibly (hopefully) bikes.  This sitting around shit is getting old.  I can only play so many video games and eat so much food before I turn into something (even more) undesirable. 

Mmmm.  Food.

See y’all next week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Something Normal

I'm off the bike for a while.  You already know this.  As much as I really want to ride (anything, even a short trip to the store) I can't.  Saturday was a pretty nice day though, and staying inside wasn't really an option.  So I did the next best thing...

I went to watch a bunch of roadies ride around in circles:

The 43rd annual Dilworth Criterium was held over the weekend, and it's actually pretty fun to watch.  And yeah, it is just a bunch of guys and gals riding around in circles.  However, the course is pretty difficult and it is fun to watch.

There was heckling too.  Not much by me since it hurts to yell, but other folks were giving the riders a (friendly) hard time.  That was cool since most of them can't take it, and probably thought we were what's wrong with this sport.


It wasn't just about watching people ride bikes in circle.  A lot of my plan for the day was to hang around normal folks.  You know, bike people. A lot of my friends come out to watch this stuff, and seeing everyone keeps me from getting into a funk about being injured.  My normal bike peeps all understand, and they a great to hang out with fo sho.

Yeah, normal folks like my man Nick, dressed in his finest kit.

That made my day.

I spent a pretty nice day outside and had some good times with good bike friends.  The only thing that would've made it better is if my day had ended at the beer store.

Oh yeah, it did.

Liquid medicine for my injury.  I'm winning the recovery game.

See y'all later.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fun Friday

This week hurt.  I haven't slept very well due to "the injury", so hopefully I can get some rest this weekend.  I appreciate all the kind words I got the other day though.  For realz.

And I'm healing up sorta.

It's much uglier in person.  Sorta like me.

So I'm gonna attempt to ride my bike this weekend.  Nothing fancy though.  Probably a few trips to the store for beer, a local restaurant for beer, a friend's house for beer.  You know, ride somewhere for beer.  I can probably handle a little easy riding on the road.  Something where I don't have to think or worry about too many obstacles.

A fork in the road.  Rad.

It's gonna be a little chilly outside I hear, so what little bit of riding I may or may not door will be interesting.  I reckon the rest of the weekend will be spent indoors playing my guitar.  If that's the plan for my entire recovery period, then I may just come out with an album in the near future.

Something simple though.

Okay, that's enough.  I should let you get on with your day, and on with your weekend.  I'll leave you with something inspirational until I come back.

There you go.  See y'all next week.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Break Time

So I promised an explanation as to why I skipped out on one of my favorite races of the year, the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.  First though, I’ll be clear…

I really, really wanted to be there.

I just couldn’t though.  It started a few weeks ago with my high blood pressure issue, and I thought everything was all good after I raced the first event in the Southern Classic Series.  We went on vacation afterwards, and I was in good health and felt like normal (whatever the hell that is.)  Race two in the series was the Sunday after we got back, but about mid week I felt shitty again.  Still, I signed up for the race in Sanford, hoping that I would be fine by then. 

I wasn’t.  I woke up early that Sunday morning and couldn’t drag my ass out of bed.  I paid for a race where I normally do quite well (three for three with podiums including a win last year) but I didn’t even have the energy to get up and go.  So, I went back to bed and slept for several hours.  I was disappoint but I know I did the right thing (the little lady thought so too.)  It was at that moment that I made a plan.

With a few weeks to get ready for the next race in the series, I would take it a little easy and get myself back into a proper state.  That meant skipping out of a race (Warrior Creek, pay attention) that I look forward to every year, and that I’d already paid for.  For some reason I thought I would do it anyway, so I never bothered to sell my entry to some deserving racer on the waiting list.  That means I ended up making a donation to the trails up there with my unused entry.  It was all good though, because I was starting to feel much better.  With the next race coming up in a little over a week, I took off to Charleston to ride a little, but more importantly, relax and have fun.

It was fun (I told you yesterday.)  We rode a lot, and I was feeling no ill effects of my ailment.  I even talked to everyone down there about how I was ready to race the following weekend.  Then, my plan went to shit towards the end of our urban ride.

While we were riding in front of The Citadel, I was hopping up steps with my bike and jumping back off.  You know, the usual urban ride shit.  I haz skills and all that, but I made one little mistake.  Immediately after riding off of one curb I headed for another set of steps and misjudged my landing on the way up somehow (must have been the strong winds.)  My front wheel came down, immediately stopped, and I was thrown violently over the bars onto the hard concrete (with my bike landing on top of me.)  I landed on my shoulder, and the way my arm was tucked into my body it jammed it directly into the left side of my rib cage.


It knocked the wind out of me, and when everyone came over to see if I was okay I just said, “Yeah.”  It hurt really bad though, but I just tried to shake it off.  I’d somehow gotten my right hand caught under me too, and it immediately swelled up.  I started breathing normally but the pain was setting in.  We eventually started riding again and I was in a tremendous amount of pain.  I tried my best to shake it off so I wouldn’t hold up the rest of the group.  We made it back to where we parked, loaded up our shit, and headed back to home base.

I was nauseous.  The pain was worse.  I took a hot shower and felt a little better.  We went out to eat and I didn’t drink anything except sweet tea.  I ended up drinking a beer later, but I didn’t feel good enough to drink the proper amount to make the pain go away.  I slept like shit that night, of course.

The next day, we skipped the bikes and hung out near the beach.  I hurt more, but I was able to drink enough to dull it a little.

We eventually drove back home to Charlotte that evening, and when I got to bed I slept like shit again.  The swelling and bruising was worse on Monday, so I sought some medical attention.

A bunch of X-rays later and it was confirmed.  Badly sprained wrist and two broken ribs (and lots of cuts and bruises.)  It hurts when I laugh, cough, sneeze, move around, and sleep.  Pretty much everything I do.  I got some good pain meds, but since I still have to go to work I can’t use them during the day.  Awesome.  I was told that I’ll heal up in about six weeks or so, and that I can start riding again as soon as I feel like it.  However, riding on trails is a no go for a while.


So what does this mean for my season?  It’s over, at least for a little while.  I had this grand plan of winning the Southern Classic Series again this year, and retiring from cross country racing to focus on other shit.  Looks like that plan has been changed, and my retirement might be a little early.  I took a break from racing to fix one medical issue, only to cause another.  So much win.

I’ll be back on the bike.  And I’ll race again I guess.  But winning (or even placing) in the Southern Classic Series will be damn near impossible because when I finally get back to it I’ll be too far behind to catch up.  I’ve accepted that, but I don’t know where to go from here.  I’ll take the time to heal up properly, and ride what I can in the meantime.

So yeah, it’s gonna suck for a while I guess.  Who gives a shit.  People have to deal with this kind of crap all the time in sports.  Why should I be any different?

I’m not.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Down Low

It wasn't a joke on Friday.  I really did skip out on the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.  I had to.  And yeah, I'll get into it tomorrow.  For now, I'll talk about what I did instead.

A fun weekend was planned because well, I needed it.  The little lady and her friends were running across a giant bridge down in Charleston, so my plan was to go down there and hang out with some of the Lowcountry folks on bikes while the runners ran.  After dropping the ladies (and a dude named Walker Texas Ranger) off for the start, we gathered our shit and headed to our first stop of the day...

A brewery.

They weren't open yet, so we headed over to watch the runners come down from the bridge and head for the finish.

It was a sea of people for sure, and not seeing anyone we knew, we headed towards the finish.  Luckily, we didn't have to ride along the route because there are some pretty awesome shortcuts around there.

But, we eventually had to get in the crowd to find our runner peeps.  That part sorta sucked.

And I couldn't figure out why all those runners kept staring at my shirt...

It was quite funny though. Especially since we we cyclists in a sea of runners. 

Once we found our crew of runners, we had to figure out a way to get them back to where we parked. Luckily, Big Ed had a solution. Put them in a pedicab. 

We got back safe and sound, and continued on our urban ride around Charleston to see the sights.

It was a good (but long) day. It ended sorta shitty (for me), but that will be explained tomorrow with whatever else I promised to talk about.

See y'all then.