The Bittersweet Chase for the Hatchet: LBJ100

In general I have much to say, but minimal means to explain my result. At least the title of this report brings a chuckle, as the hatchet refers to the trophy awarded at LBJ100; which I by no means was chasing. While I had direct orders from my boss to return to work on Monday with the trophy, I only showed up battered and bruised. With the trophy obviously out of reach I was focusing on a self-selected time goal, which included beating my previous years’ time. As opposed to last year, I trained harder and even had better results coming into the race. Still, nothing seemed to fall into place when it came time to race on Saturday. I had the inclination this might be the case on Friday, the day before, when Eric and I went for a pre-ride. I didn’t feel right on the bike at all. Regards to the few small climbs we went up, each one really hurt. I concluded that riding more probably wouldn’t be helpful and we called it quits for the night, hoping I would awake with screaming race legs. I did wake the next morning—and later determined—without race legs. I went through the typical morning routine and we ended up at the race start in no time. I went over my food plan for the race with Rachel, who was pitting for us. As I expected, since she has pitted enough for me, I have to say little. I provided some bottles, a cooler, and some drink mix. Things just seem to work. After setting everything up, I headed out to the start line. The two-mile road start was pretty tame this year and the racers never got stretched out; resulting in mass pile-ups as we funneled into the single-track (I lost Eric immediately, which means I block out all crashes and weird noises—I just assume it is not him). I decided to set an easy pace on the first lap, believing that I dug too hard too early last year. I didn’t get stuck behind too much slow traffic and quickly settled in behind three other riders. I watched my heart rate, and while feeling like every short incline was more difficult than it should have been, I didn’t feel like I was over exerting myself. The sand, however, was deep and long in stretches. It wasn’t before long, that I had misjudged a stretch of sand after a minimal decline in grade. Rather than brushing a tree, as is the usual case, my front end would not steer and I only had two options dive into a tree on the left or unfortunately, dive into a tree on the right. I chose the right, because naturally, well I always seem to fall to the right.Chris Lumberjack 100 finish photo I smashed into the tree hard, making full contact with my right shoulder. My bike was able to make contact with the other tree and my bottles flew down the trail. I quickly jumped up and grabbed my bike off the course, and then stood there cognitively thinking if I had broken something. I thought for sure it was a good possibility. I felt my collarbone. I couldn’t feel it sticking out of my shoulder or any obvious broken places. I did have some difficulty raising my right arm above my head the first time, but with some assistance with my left arm and some movement in my right shoulder, everything seemed to work. I had to let quite a few riders go past, while I waited to get back on the trail. Finally I took back off. At this point, nothing seemed to work right. Standing up pulled too hard on my shoulder joint, forcing me to stay seated. At the same time, my heart rate had fallen and no longer could I do anything to make it go up. I struggled through the entire second lap, ensuring myself that I would be done once I made it to the pit again. Once I got to the end, I couldn’t really quit. Technically, I was able to hold onto the bike and my bike was not mechanically broken. I took a strong pain killer and decided I would just wait for Eric to come through and ride the rest with him. It seemed like no time had passed and he was in the pit refueling. I went back out with him, struggling for the first 12 miles. I still didn’t feel great and the pain in my shoulder was bothering me on the climbs. Sooner or later, I remember thinking that I felt really good and couldn’t feel much pain. I assume it was a mix of the Coke, pain killer and Starbucks Double Espresso shot I took. Either way, my happiness resumed or I just let the trail sink in. The last 20 miles of the race were by far the most enjoyable of the whole day. The end result was crossing another finish line with my brother. It worked out well in the end. My hard work in training didn’t pay off for a PR, but not everything comes together at every race. Looking back on prior years, it seems like you get two races a year that you are really proud of. The rest are truly just the dues paid to get those few good results. I paid a lot of dues on Saturday, but hey, why the hell not get most of it paid up in one race. As of now, I’m not sure what the plan is. I have only planned up to this race. Seems like it is time now to sit back, take a break, and figure out what the next objective is. A huge thanks go out to Rachel and Becky for crewing. They did an awesome job. Not to mention, returning to the pits to see two females as opposed to some sweaty dudes is always better. After I finished, Becky and I even made huge plans to raise chickens at THEIR place. I also probably have an excellent partner to experiment with fermenting beets and so forth. Lastly, Aunt Doreen again provided the perfect place to stay for FREE (as opposed to higher rates charged at other nondescript locations I won’t mention here). Thanks to everyone else also. Every little bit makes a difference. In addition, I rode with Amanda Carey for a while. Very awesome person! I also finally got to see Danielle Musto this season after the race. She is great and any conversation is always too short with her. They both did awesome. Ryan, our teammate, also threw down hard for his first 100 miler, most importantly finishing and then finishing fast with a smile on his face.

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