Monday, November 5, 2012

Stoudt's CX Report - Smashed in the Head by a Bike...

Yesterday was supposed to be the Bubblecross in West Milford but due to Hurricane Sandy being a b*tch it wreaked havoc on the area and with lots of people without power and gas they thought it wouldn't be a good idea to hold the race. I agree it was the smart choice. But being the addict I am I was looking for another option. I talked to a few friends and we were working on putting together a local CX practice and do a full on race but that just wouldn't give the same intensity as an actual race. So that was the conundrum.

As I was perusing the web at my girl's place(since she actually was one of the few that had power), I came across the Stoudts CX race. Given the current situation after Sandy it did seem pretty selfish to use all that gas to get to Adamstown PA but the situation for fuel in PA is not dire at all. So we used the race as a great effort for racing, and bringing back tons of fuel in whatever fuel cans I could scrounge up was the secondary mission. So we loaded up 4 like minded people and headed out to Stoudts for the CX race. At least with 4 people going out we could warrant the fuel usage. How bad could it be the race was at a brewery? :-)

So we underestimate the time it would take to get there and roll in just an hour ahead of race time so we pop out of the car, run to registration, grab our numbers, and run back to the car to start warming up. After gearing up and finding the pit we got maybe a half hour of warmup in before we had to shed our gear and get to the line. The one thing I noticed beforehand was a nice grimy mud pit followed by a runup and then a few twisties in the mud that looked just fine. It seemed like a long flowy twisty course that could work to my strengths.

So the race goes off hard and my legs were just not warmed up enough. I dangled at the back of the pack which was probably good since they were squirrelly and all over the place almost crashing twice before the first real turn. Keeping steady I worked my way in traffic to find a good position. The mud and runup was tough as it was deeper than I thought. The rest of the course was nice and flowy and had some great tough turns. If you hit them wrong you would slide out and loose all momentum. So we kept on and I had a few ahead of me that I worked through and picked off one by one. I felt increasingly better and better as the race went on and traffic thinned. I could really get a groove going in the corners and I was able to track people down efficiently.

Somewhere in the middle of the race I had the most shocking thing happen that I would never ever have expected and I'll remember forever. I had a racer in my sights that I was tracking down and reeling in foot by foot. I hit this stretch of pavement that I knew I could get back to him on (or get close) so I turned the pedals over really hard. The next thing I know I look up ahead and I hear the racer I've been trying to get up to smash him and his bike on the ground. Somehow the course tape was broken and he caught it pulling him to the ground. He gets up in the middle of the course and is standing next to his bike. I ask him if he's ok as I fly by on the left and at that exact moment he whips his bike from the right side of the course and throws his bike off of the left side of the course which coincidentally happened to be right where my face and head were. Are you F'N KIDDING ME? From what I remember I saw the bike coming and lowered my head and hit the bike right in the bottom bracket/rear triangle area at close to full speed. It shot off my head and another 20 feet in the air as I somehow kept it upright. My glasses flew off and I then unloaded every expletive that I knew on him as I rode away and continued the race. Did that just really happen? I was in shock for a lap or two doing damage assessment.

From what I felt I was ok and not bleeding and just shocked at taking a bike to the face. I even asked my teammates at the end to check me out because if I was cut or messed up the adrenaline of the race covered it up. I was more shocked with the pure douchebaggery of a racer. It was unfortunate that he fell and must have been having a bad day, but to be that angry or upset to possibly kill another racer by throwing a bike? What if I had caught the chainring badly or even a pedal to the face? I could have been seriously injured or worse. So far the only injury I have from the incident is a sore neck and I can't believe that's it. That helmet saved me from a much worse fate. Really? Did that just happen? Still shocking...

After the incident I calmed myself down and I was able to refocus and keep riding. I did get that position after passing the downed-bike-throwing idiot so that helped. In the following laps I was able to pick off 1 or two more which felt better as I was still pedaling and riding well. I got to the finish and was just happy to get there alive. I was 14th of 25 and was happy with that finish as there were a lot of strong riders there and I survived being smashed in the face by a competitors bicycle. Now the effort was to catch my breath, get some warm clothes on and go punch this idiot in the face.

I looked around the parking lot and remembered I had to go pick up my glasses. So I started to roll over there to look for them. As I start over I see a guy kinda making eye contact and holding my glasses. It was the d-bag. He gave me my glasses and seemed upset at what he had done and repeatedly apologized. I asked him what the hell was wrong with him and what would make him do such an idiotic thing. I also reminded him that he could have killed me and I was lucky to escape with no injuries. He repeatedly apologized and really didn't know what to say. I was resisting the urge to just attack him for being such an idiot. I was sooooo pissed. My blood is boiling a bit just writing this recap. I accepted his apology and shook his hand and rode off as I didn't even want to look at him for any longer than I had to. I was still amazed that this even happened. I guess I really do need to shop for a new helmet now.