Friday, 27 December 2013

Race 4/2013 - Twilight Criterium (HPRW), Nundah

Back on December 4th, I lined up for my fourth race of the year.  The Twilight Crits, run by the HPRW club, are one of my favourite crit race series - a bunch of Wednesday afternoon races that turns 'hump day' from boring to something to look forward to!

It would indeed be a race for me to remember for a number of reasons...

Normally I'd punch some stats up for the race straight up.  I'm not 100% sure what they are though - but thankfully Strava (ride link here) helps me out...  I raced in B2 grade, and I know that every single lap averaged over 40km/h - most in the low-mid 40's range.  It was a quick race...

The Story of the Day

I rolled up to sign on for C-Grade (as usual) - but the current grading system used by HPRW has Masters C riders under 50yo racing up in B2 (with the Masters B riders!!).  No worries of course - its all for fun and games.  I handed over my $10 and pinned on my number.

We lined up for the pre-race briefing at 5pm.  Based on the numbers I saw, there were about 60 starters in my race - definitely a big one!  The race format was a 'points race'. Basically, first across the line every lap scored points, and then on the last lap the first 5 scored as well.  Most points would be the winner.

As usual, my goals were a lot more modest (especially given I was racing 'up' a grade). I simply wanted to last the distance.

The race went hard from the gun.  The first 3 laps were actually the quickest of the day - all averaging above 45km/h (with the second lap up around 47.5km/h).  We were hitting 50km/h along the home straight each time!

Needless to say, I was struggling.  I was giving absolutely everything to just hang on.   I somehow survived those first few laps, but I was well in the red zone.  The clock on my speedo had just ticked over 5min, and I thought that may be it for me!

I started a simple game - just hold on to the next corner...  I kept digging deep, and pushing on & on. A number of times I thought I was gone, but I managed to just keep a hold of the peloton. My mouth was dry, but I dared not reach down for my bottle...

Time started adding up - 6min, 7min, 8min... When the clock ticked over to 10min, a wave of relief washed over me - I had at least made double figures!

At around the 12min mark - something changed with me. Suddenly, everything seemed to adapt. I was still pushing extremely hard, but the pain disappeared and I seemed to find my rhythm. It was a wonderful feeling, and I dared to dream that I may make the finish...

Finally, at around the 35min mark, the 2 laps to go sign came up.  The bell went a lap later, and I was on the final lap.  I was absolutely elated!!  I knew I had never been in a race this fast before and made it to the finish.  Having dug myself out of the deep hole I was in after 10min just made it sweeter again.

I knew I wouldn't be sprinting at the finish, so I decided to get out of everyone's way.  I was about a third back fro the front, and let myself drift back into the rear third of the field.

Suddenly, everything changes...

Second last curve of the race.  Some guy a few in front of me dramatically changes line and chops someone's wheel.  Guy goes down heavily in front of me, spreadeagled with his bike across the track.  I'm travelling at almost 50km/h with no-where to go.  I hit him and think, "please not my collarbone..."

The Short Story

Everything hurts - and then only my left shoulder hurts.  Yep, the same one as last time. Oh no...

Ambulance to Royal Brisbane Hospital. X-Rays and MRI's.  Concerns over a fractured eye socket eventually dismisssed (phew!).  Lots of concerns over a left shoulder that seems to be continually swelling, so kept in overnight.

Final verdict - left clavicle fractured distally, and needing to be plated. More concern though over the ligaments, that seem to be 'shredded' (registrar's words - not good!).  Surgery scheduled for the following week.

What's next?

Normally, this section of a race report is about my next lot of racing and/or training.  But I'll just leave things there for now, given that any cycling is months away (at least)...

For the sake of posterity though - next post will cover off on what exactly happened with my shoulder...!!

Stay safe everyone, and don't take the joys of cycling for granted.  I miss it already...



1 comment:

  1. All the best for your recovery. I spent some time reading your old race reports recently. I love your tenacity in attempting to stay with the bunch in your races. Thanks for the great writing.

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