Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Canadian National Championships

The past week and a half I've been travelling around with my lovely girlfriend and our bikes, with the goal of finishing inside the top 20 at Nationals. First we set off for Sudbury, which is close to 8 hours drive from where we live in Kingston. The visit to Sudbury was great, I got to hang with some of my all time best buds and the trails were phenomenal, my racing however left something to be desired. I was super strong in flat and uphill sections, but for some reason, I couldn't find my mojo in the rest of the course. Friends said that I looked strong technically through the descents and spectator sections, but I just wasn't going fast enough. To me, the bad race didn't really matter - I was having problems gripping my bars without my gloves, I had to get off and fix my bike once, and most of all, I felt strong again. Any uphill or flat section where I could lay down some good effort I accelerated away from riders nearby, this means that I was in good shape for Nationals 6 days later.
I got down south and practiced the nationals course until I had it pretty well dialed in. I would be racing the elite, 6 lap race at Hardwood Ski and Bike on what will be the Pan American course for the upcoming competitions in 2015. The course had a lot of really cool and intimidating features, and plenty of places to hurt yourself...
This may seem over the top, but it's great!

Unfortunately, Thursday night just before Tori was participating in the Eliminator race, I took a bit of a spill. I came at a feature called "Endo Rock" at a way higher speed than I should have and got off balance mid air. I crashed down about 20 feet after I took off, smashing my chest on my handlebars, and skidding my head along the ground until I hit a log. This left me gasping for air for what seemed like an eternity, and my helmet was cracked in 14 places. I managed to get back on my bike and ride it down the jump track somehow, to make sure that I wouldn't miss Tori's race. When I got there everybody could see that something was wrong; I had blood down the side of my face, my eye was swollen almost shut, I couldn't stand up straight, and breathing pained me a lot. I had the medics on my case right away, checking to see if I had broken my neck, and trying to get me somewhere more stable. I had to watch Tori's race, however so I was a bit of a pain for these guys. I agreed to get out of my spandex, sit down and ice my ribs, but I was not leaving the action until all of my friends had finished racing.
After the racing had finished, my girlfriend and her mother took me in to the big hospital in Barrie (about 20 minutes away), and this was an ordeal. They rushed me straight to the trauma unit, and took 3 vials of blood, got a urine sample, and hooked me up to IV. This was all even more complicated that it should have been because I was quite dehydrated, and the nurses had to work hard to get the needles and tubes into my small blood veins. But I was not allowed food or drink, so that's just that. I was like a child in the hospital, arguing a bit over the IV especially (I don't like morphine), but I've learned that nurses, no matter what, get things their way. This massive intrusion was because they were pretty sure that by the sounds of things I could have damaged my liver or other organs in the area.
All smiles all of the time
The doctor finally got me X-rayed and decided that my organs were fine. Upon looking at the X-rays he showed me what looked like a cracked rib, and explained that the x-rays that he used weren't the highest quality, so we can't really tell what's broken or not but he figured that I'd cracked a couple of ribs and done lots of damage to my cartilage and musculature in the area too. Turns out that they don't really treat cracked ribs anyway, so I just had to wait for a nurse to take my IV out and I would be on my way. The nurse was a no nonsense kind of girl, and when I made mention of the size of my IV tube, she admitted that they put the biggest one in me and pulled it out quickly.
I got talked out of competing in the Nationals race by some good friends, but was pretty bummed to miss my chance, and to come so far and train so much without racing, but at least I could still support my friends while they raced! I'm just really bummed that it shoes a big DNF for "Did Not Finish" beside my name on the results, I hate those..
The next day I was actually recruited to help Pedal Mag with live feed of the race to their website, and got VIP media treatment for the weekend! It was nice to have something to do, and great to be involved, this way I could cheer (though yelling hurt), and do help the magazine all at the same time!

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