Unfortunately for Dave, his car died on the way out of town to attend a ski patrol certification. Fortunately for me, this meant he could go to the White Knob instead. (Foreshadowing here)
True to his word, Mark didn't even show up. I was a little surprised to not see Rich either. New this year was a man-in-dress category, or more precisely $50 promised to the first man in a dress to cross the finish line. Approximately four individuals were apparently in this category.
Hot and sunny as usual, this year the start and finish were in the same place, the Mackay Tourist Park near the golf course and rodeo grounds. After a little loop through the bushes, we exit the park and a couple blocks later are on the road out of town up the hill.
Sounds like we started already. Bad Bob and I led out the start in the vet sport/clydesdale class, up until the climb started of course. Sure was hot, and I was wondering why I was pushing so hard when there didn't seem to be anyone else in my class. So I paced off Bob, he got ahead of me a bit but I pulled him back and then left him pretty well.
New middle and inner chainrings did seem to have solved the chainsuck problem. Actually I found that out at the Deer Valley race, after installation. Still hard to believe that the original rings only lasted half a season - and I only ride the mtb during races - before dying like that. But then they are aluminum, and no four-arm steel rings are yet available, apparently. That's Shimano progress for you.
Grinding up the hill, grind grind grind. My chain was making some noises, might want to lube that, and some bottom bracket creaks well-amplified by the guitar body I mean bike frame. Passed some people, after all the vet sports passed me. I cramped up upon catching Carol Forester, and let a few passees back by before recovering and chasing them down again.
Hey, the top. That means downhill almost all the way. Woo hoo. I took it pretty easy on the known sand beds up top, then really went gonzo through the rocky part below that. Surprisingly, I didn't die there. First creek crossing. More gonzo, passed some people. Second creek crossing, about to pass a couple more, when I hit another sand bed.
Which grabbed my front wheel and twisted it 90 degrees to the right, quite effectively halting the bike's forward progress. I, however, had a good deal more inertia to convert into something else, so I continued on my way over the bars in the classic "superman" (non-aero) position. Whacked both knees on the bars as I went over, grabbed the ground with my left hand and found some nice rocks with my right forearm and elbow, then scraped knees again before tumbling back to a crouch as my bike went sailing overhead. I hear it was quite spectacular to behold, but alas, not recorded for posterity.
There I am with a nicely bleeding elbow, figuring out that I just crashed from about 25mph. At least I didn't hit my head or my pretty face. Hmm, what's a good course of action from here? a) wait for medevac (could take a while) or b) proceed under my own power (and *don't* do that again!). But b) depends on the bike, which turns out to have a tweaked rear wheel but no other apparent ill effects. I don't feel like truing it or even like beating it against the ground, so it will just have to rub the rest of the way. It's mostly downhill, after all.
That's what I do, proceed with caution, a rubbing tire, and not a few exclamations as my wrist begins to stiffen up. I grind in at about 1:42', for some reason off the consistent 1:30' pace of the past several years. And start looking for the first aid people.
The first aid people exclaim and start washing me off. Some minor scrapes on the top of left hand get bandaids just because, both knees get gauze bandages, and the right forearm gets the hole filled with antibiotic and a big bandage. I stumble around to the BBQ, not that hungry. It's hot, especially on fresh wounds. Try to find shady spots while waiting for awards - turns out there were two others in my class, but I still won. For this I receive a RockShox jersey.
Really starting to stiffen up now, I'm not a happy camper as Dave gets to drive me home, whining all the way. I let him keep the GTI to drive until his car is fixed, and then I proceed to lie around and eat for the next week, nicely counterbalancing the two 200-mile weeks I had been able to put in while laid off. Good thing I didn't have to go to work or anything.
A month later, the wrist still has some tendonitis tendencies if not treated with care, and only a small scab remains on the elbow. Yay.