Monday, August 27, 2012

Mine Over Matter Off-Road Tri - August 26th, 2012

This ought to be short.

Traditional 5hrs of pre-race sleep, yet I awoke without the usual race day energy. For some reason I was getting a bad vibe, but I passed it off - how bad could it be? I did, however, decide to rawk my 2-piece kit instead of my race suit in case I crashed. Still getting the sponsor logos out there, but not risking my fav suit.

Loaded the car (late), got Tim Horton café mochas, and totally forgot to grab a bagel for my faithful sherpa and amazing husband. Feck..

Kelso Quarry
Arrived at the race site and picked up kit - number 213. Didn't seem to bode well, but again, I dismissed it. I was antsy about the weather, too - it was going to be an uncharacteristically sunny and hot day, whereas every other Element Racing event has been held in rain and cool, or at least overcast. In 2011 I did this same race at 17c with a bit of rain before the swim start. I feared the effects the day's predicted 30c and high humidity would have on me as I attempted to run up the side of the quarry.

Bright burning ball in sky!
As usual, I was the first one in transition. I'm a dork like that. I got set up, chatted with some other racers, forgot my water bottle in a portajohn, then struggled into my wetsuit,


Since only about 5 other women seemed to be competing in the full tri, odds looked pretty good for an age group award - I got 3rd in womens' 30-39 last year because there were only - you guessed it - 3 women in my age group. Victory through attrition baby!

Racked right by the bike exit.
I got in the water, warmed up a bit, then lined up and waited for the gun. Since there were only 49 people doing the full, it was a mass start, but not exactly crowded despite the quarry pond not being all that big.

The first loop went ok - I was sighting fine and holding feet, even passing some people despite having taken some water in my left goggle as I dolphin dived off the start. Got around the shore-side buoy, stood, ran while emptying my goggle, then dived back in. No water this time - awesome! I was stroking away, making decent progress, then suddenly there's a kayak in front of me waving me off to the left. I sighted on the wrong. Damn. Buoy.

Correction made, I start swimming back toward the outside of the course, but I'm pulling pretty badly to the right and miss the buoy a bit. I look around and can't see it, then a kayaker kindly points out that it's behind me. I swim back about 8 metres, pull a u-turn around the buoy, then continued on as if I weren't some kind of dumbass. I even passed another couple of people whom I assume must have either showed up late or had money riding on their being last.

Yellow line = second loop.

Rising from the water like some unholy leviathan, Tanker was sweet enough to cheer for me and tell me I'd done well. Who am I to argue? I wasn't quite last out of the swim..

1,000m swim: 21:41 @ 2:11/100m

I knew T1 was going to be a challenge, so I tried to take things slow and easy. Get wetsuit off, put on socks (which I don't usually do). Put on mountain bike shoes (which are slower to don than my 1-strap tri shoes). Don sunglasses & helmet. Run to bike mount line and realize my race number belt is still hanging from my handlebar. Avoid temptation to slap forehead, put on, get on, go.

T1: 01:26

The bike course starts with loose gravel, on which my tires felt kind of sketchy, then a nasty road climb up to the entrance to the mountain bike trails. I locked out Arven's fork, spun my way up in the small ring to try to prevent blowing myself up early, then hit the double track mild descent and managed to catch a sip off my bottle of lemon-lime nuun. Then I remembered to unlock the fork. 

I rolled through the open sections of trail pretty easily and was feeling good, then we got to the first couple of sections of singletrack gnarly stuff. I managed to thread my way through, and was actually enjoying myself and rolling over some things I'd had to walk last year. Back out into the sunshine for a bit, I came up to a rock garden that marked the entrance to another technical section, got my wheel stuck between a couple of rocks and fell over.

Artist's conception.

I seemed to be ok, so picked myself and my bike up and carried on. A friendly racer or two asked if I was ok, and I was, so they rode on. I passed one - a girl who I'd met in transition that apparently did Horror Hill and had read my blog - a bit later on the trail and asked if she was ok, since her bike was upside down. She said she was, so I rolled onward.

Mere moments later I was face to face with another, bigger rock garden at the start of the Rogue trail. It climbed up about 2.5-3 feet and had rocks almost the size of my head with a little pallet-sized plank bridge on top. I was pretty sure I had walked it last year - looked scary. I waffled and scrubbed some speed, then decided to go for it. I stroked as hard as I could in the last few feet before it to try to rebuild some momentum, got three quarters of the way up, got hung up, and fell over again. On the same side. Harder.

I went to push myself back up, looked at my left wrist (which I'd stupidly held out to break my fall), and knew my race was done. I lowered myself back down and called for help, using my right hand to hold my left wrist so it would be stable and I wouldn't have to see its funny shape.

Artist's conception.

Bike: 3.62km / 13:44 before DNF.

A male racer stopped to see if he could help. The racer from Horror Hill stopped and said she was a nurse. Between them they got the bike off me and contacted the on-course medics who came almost immediately, then they continued on with their race (thank you for your help!). The on-course medics helped me get out of the middle of the rock garden since the leaders were already starting to come through on the second lap, and I found a little rock off to the side to sit on while I sipped some water. James the medic apologized but said he didn`t have any splint material; looking around at all the bits of stick by the trail, I figured we were surrounded by some and suggested that a couple of sticks and some tape would at least stabilize it. He agreed, and we went to work.

The first version was even more hilarious.

They also called out Dave in the RTV (side-by-side) to come get me and Arven off the trail. We walked out through the open portion of the narrow trail, then ducked the tape onto a wider section that wasn't part of the course to wait for my rescue vehicle. I wasn't in great shape - in pain, bemoaning my first DNF, and thinking about the impact on the next few weeks' worth of events. We were supposed to ride our motorcycles down to Michigan for a rally on Labour Day weekend; I was registered for the Lakeside Olympic on September 16th; we were flying to Calgary on the 17th to visit Tanker's family, and we'd just registered for the Tour de King 50km mountain bike race on September 30th. I also had major run training to do for the Vulture Bait 25k trail race on October 13th and Horror Hill 6 hour trail ultra on October 27th. Hell, we were supposed to be going to brunch right after the race with our friends!

Down to the hangar with Dave in the RTV, they took away my sticks and gave me a cardboard splint. I also finally got to inspect Arven, who proved tougher than me - he's missing a bit of paint, but the carbon fibre frame and seatpost are both totally structurally sound. Wish I could say the same for my pansy-ass wrist! I'd also hashed the back of one of my Compressport calf sleeves on the chainring - craptacular. We found Tanker by transition, who was sympathetic about my DNF but glad I was more or less ok. He went to work packing up my transition area, brought me some dry clothes to wrestle my way into, and loaded up the bike on the rack for me. I loafed around and made friends with an ice pack.

Something's not right here.

Off to Milton District Hospital's emergency room, where over the course of 8-ish hours I heard "yeah, that's broken" from the admitting nurse, the physician assistant, the radiologist, the first doctor on duty, the day care nurse, the second doctor on duty and the anaesthesiologist. 

Aww, snap!

They had to remove the cardboard split for the x-ray, then I waited in the day care unit with the arm completely unsupported (except laying it on my lap) for over 4 hours for a bed with a monitor to come available. I couldn't have anything to drink or eat because they'd be knocking me out in order to set the bone, so I was in pain, raging about my own stupidity (why didn't I just walk the damned rock garden?) and its effects on our near future, AND thirsty as hell. They put an IV thingy in my right arm and asked that I be patient.

Doctor humour.

Fortunately the physician assistant took pity on my predicament and started a drip of Fentanyl. This made the pain much less significant in my universe, and I actually dozed off a couple of times.

Fentanyl goooooooooood.

3pm came and Dr. Chang was going off-duty, so Dr. Hassan (the new doc on duty) came 'round to see me and explain that they'd be setting the bone under sedation, but I'd still need to go see an orthopedic surgeon to find out if it would need surgery and hardware. He also told me that today's cast would only be temporary; the permanent one would be put on by the ortho doc, and I could request a waterproof cast then. Finally, somewhere around 4:45pm, a bed opened up and I was led in. I went bionic as the monitor was hooked up, then somewhat annoyed the nurses when my heart rate dropped first below 45bpm, then down to 39 and the monitor started to freak out because it thought I was coding. Ahh, endurance life.

Closest to a thumbs-up I can manage.

I was fed oxygen, ketamine and propofol, and the raging disco party that always seems to accompany knockout meds replaced mundane consciousness. I giggled my way through a second set of xrays and probably screamed "WHEEEEEEE" inappropriately as I was wheeled back into the day care unit. I remember Dr. Hassan and the physician assistant laughing at me when I popped my still-crosseyed head up, looked at the clock, and chortled that I'd lost an hour and a half. They said "yes you did", despite it only having been an hour or less. They seemed to get a real kick out of my gibbled self.

What blows is that the damned thing hurts more now, after being set and splinted, than it did even sitting unsupported for hours on end. I was eventually released around 6pm (having arrived at 10:15am), given prescriptions for Naproxen (a heavy-duty anti-inflammatory) and Percocet (which are like Mickey Finns, only doctors give them to you instead of rapists).

20 for 2 days?

So now I get to go see Dr. Bischoff on Wednesday at 3:15pm to beg for a sport cast and hope that I don't need any further metal in my body.

The moral of this story? Apparently I will do anything to avoid running up the Niagara Escarpment in 30 degree heat.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Sounds like a fun day! Seriously, I hope surgery isn't needed and that you have a fast recovery!


Go on, have at me!