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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Firecracker 50 - Fantastic or flop?
Stupid racers suck - or how many senseless crashes can there be?

After last year's Firecracker I was excited to come back to Breckenridge and hit the brutally long 50 mile course with 12k +/- feet of climbing with better endurance, snappier legs, and the benefit of knowing just what I was getting into. With an excellent local hook up through our own MTBR.com's "rapwithtom" that offered deluxe accommodations and great company, there'd be no "roughing it" the night before the race - another added benefit. I also had good company on the ride up with local Albuquerque hammer & buddy, Adam.

With the stage set for a solid performance, we got up and started going through the pre-race breakfast rituals, checking gear, and piling into the car to roll the few miles into town. Park the jeep, set up the trainer, mix up bottles of sport drink, fill GU flasks, re-check bike and start the warm up. I'd do an easy-ish warm up given that the race starts with 6.5 miles of road/dirt road climbing right out of town. Finish the warm-up and head down to the start - main street Breckenridge at the start of the parade. This has to be the most fun start to a XC race that I know of - rolling through town, in a neutral start heading out the 4th of July parade in front of thousands and thousands of people!

I find the 30-39 expert staging area and fall in with my rivals. JL, another MTBR.com 'local' came over and introduced himself - great to see the crew out and about! I promised to try and catch him on the second lap at the top of the hard climb, half joking, half serious - but all in good humor and we got ready. Next thing you know we're rolling through town, blaring sirens, bugles, clowns riding bikes, and all that fun stuff heading us out. The road immediately goes up from there. The first 2-3 miles are paved for this first lap, and continue up, up, and up. We hit the dirt road where it's flatter, and the pace picks up. I never felt like I was working all that hard, and yet I didn't feel 100% for some reason. Not sure if it was the altitude which usually doesn't bother me, or what. Kind of typical start, and as we hit the singletrack, I feel better. I guess I hadn't remembered how long & boring the road/dirt road portion was, but was glad to be railing on some beautiful high alpine trails at his point. I slowly warmed up to the idea of the fact I was racing (duh!), and when we hit the next climb, I stayed conservative but climbed pretty hard. I was feeling just dandy, and when we crested this second climb a guy went by me like a bat out of hell, onto some loose trails. He was riding pretty aggressive and trying to pass the next guy in all the wrong places, when finally he forced an outside move on a fast sweeper turn that took him and the other guy out! This was inexcusable and stupid, and I got his plate number (#320 - if your reading this (you'd be the a33hole) or were the victim (sorry - hope you were OK)). I stayed away from dum-a33 later on, as he couldn't climb all that well, and descended like sloppy leftovers, just on the (or just over the) edge of control. In the meantime, I was FINALLY in full-on race mode and felt great. Eating and drinking more than enough, riding the climbs consistent, not blazing by anybody yet, but consistent and leaving plenty left in reserve.

The race continued on its death march of climbing & descending, until getting to the end of the last dirt road grind, then I tore-ass downhill on a mix of jeep trails and singletrack. I was well on my way to crushing the 2:20 first lap-time from the last year, but not quite at a sub-2 hour lap pace. Riding smart and efficient would help indure a solid second lap. I was focusing on the right side of a loose, fast & hairy descent, thinking ahead to the steep grunt of a climb, then the fun singletrack after it, leading out to an area above the start/finish. Suddenly some guy's handlebars were between my ribs and my handlebars on my right side - where there was NO room at all - let alone a rider making a pass! We were on a slight left-ish sweeper of a blazing descent, and with no where to go and momentum preventing me from pulling away to the inside of the turn, we tangled and went down HARD. So f*$king hard I drilled my right hip, knee, and shoulder at 25 mph into the hard gravel surface and tumbled a bit while my bike cart wheeled away. It looked like this moron not only crashed off the trail, but may have clocked himself on the tree he was stuck to, when HE started complaining about "trying to pass" and "I TOLD you I was coming through when I clarified, in no uncertain terms, that muttering "in the middle" had no relevance when he was on the OUTSIDE, nowhere near the "middle", and that HE was the dumbass who just made me kiss the dirt in one ugly nasty spill, and better shut the fluck up before he got his lights punched out. Another racer who had slowed from behind, seeing the whole thing, reiterated that may be the appropriate next move. I eyeballed a nice, babyhead sized rock in the trail and in a moment of rage nearly picked it up and threw at his head. At that point he was mumbling "are you OK?" so I eased off the adrenaline-fueled blind violence and checked myself. I said "I don't f*@king know", as I can't feel my right leg from the knee down, and my arm/elbow/shoulder are howling in pain, but everything seems to work. I hobble over to my bike and untangle it, and miraculously it seems to be functioning OK. I look back and tell him, more philosophically than angry - "you know, there's an awful lot of race here, ahead of us, you really didn't need to push such an aggressive move at such an inappropriate time". I then got on my bike and attempted pedaling away. After a minute or two, I was able to spin OK, and in fact not many of the guys in my group went by, so I started trying to get re-focused on the next 2.5 hrs. of racing & climbing and stay positive. In fact, despite the blood steadily oozing out of my knee and the instantly burning/sore sensations all over my right side, I was back into it. 15 minutes later, blazing through the transition area, I grabbed a bottle of water from a volunteer, squirted it on my head (ahhhh!), and rinsed my knee/leg off and got some gasps from spectators who saw the blood & gore running down my right leg as I pedaled up onto the singletrack leading out of the transition area. With this fresh boost I powered on through the trail that connected back to the base of the main road/dirt road climb - I felt strong and confident. I ate a little, threw my empty bottle over towards the parking area where the jeep was, put my fresh one in the cage - and then I blew. Funny, I thought of the Firecracker theme, and the almost audible "popping" sound I made. How fitting!

It was like someone threw a switch and I deflated from as good as you can feel after 2:15 minutes racing/crashing hard (would have been maybe a 2:05 lap, without the crash), to flat-lined. It was weird because I never went much past my Lactate Threshold, had rode smart & quick, cleaned all the big climbs, at & drank well, but suddenly found myself spinning up the road feeling scrambled and drained. I immediately felt like turning around, going to the car and puking. I shifted into an easier gear and kept spinning, waiting for this lull to subside - got a slice of watermelon from some cheering, beer drinking guys, and in the meantime climbed the 6+ miles back up Boreas pass Rd. to the start of the singletrack; and still - nothing. I'm pretty sure the 20-25 minutes post crash had been highly adrenaline fueled, and once that spike cleared the system, it left me empty and cracked, more than I have ever felt.

I stopped. I drank a little. I thought about the other climbs ahead - and the descents, and the long drive home, and life and lot's of other things orbiting near and far - and made the decision to pull myself out of the race. I was DOA. The crusty blood on my knee had a pebble the size of half a penny sticking out of it and my shoulder ached deeply, making it hard to climb efficiently. I turned around and rolled back to town, now seeing all the guys in my group, and others, and felt ashamed. I had never quit a race before. I've had rock-bottom lows, and an unintentional DNF (knocked out cold) but this was the first conscious DNF. The thought of a visit to the medical tent, some clean clothes, and a shower helped ease the shame - barely, as did the waiting beer & BBQ.

Turned out to be a few nasty flaps of skin - no stitches needed, just deep cuts and scrapes, and man the bruises are building beneath the damaged tissue, but all told nothing "major" except for the damaged morale. No permanent physical damage; so there it is - I flailed & failed. I went from "possible contender" (I thought, anyhow ;-)) to beer drinking, limping DNF'er. I snapped a shot of my buddy rolling in at 4:08 (yow!) and we made plans to clean up, eat, and hit the road. By the time I got back to Santa Fe my leg had just about seized up, and was hard to move. I popped 3 ibuprofen and hit the hay. Time to recover, lick the wounds and come out strong - next time!

Next Stop: Snowmass Nationals
 

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wow!

I could tell how excited you were about the race and i was certain it would be a great one for you. With all the training/preparation and the results you were having - you definitely deserved better than being taken out. that really sucks.

I think there were a LOT of casualties yesterday. Even though this was an "A" race for me - I had the my worst riding day of 2 years. Oh well...there's always next year, eh?

I do love you race reports - well written and riveting. Looking forward to the next one! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
lidarman said:
Wow, Glen, sorry to hear the ending, but your great write-up held me to the screen.
Hope that knee heals fast.
Thanks Rich - glad even a "flop" race/report can be worth a read. My knee & lower leg are still howling in pain, in addition to the sore knee joint. Fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
brg said:
I could tell how excited you were about the race and i was certain it would be a great one for you. With all the training/preparation and the results you were having - you definitely deserved better than being taken out. that really sucks.

I think there were a LOT of casualties yesterday. Even though this was an "A" race for me - I had the my worst riding day of 2 years. Oh well...there's always next year, eh?

I do love you race reports - well written and riveting. Looking forward to the next one! :)
Thanks brg - wish I had the chance to see/meet you. Indeed, it seemed like there were a lot of casualties! What was going on? Seemed like evryone was racing this 50 miler like a short track. I was so looking forward to cruising by the bonked masses up to Little French Gulch and so on.... but maybe next time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
forkboy said:
Yowza.

Well... at least you aren't in jail on manslaughter charges...

Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de do.

Ice and ibuprofen are your friends.
LMAO! Yeah - it could have been a much worse day had I "lost it". Thankfully I'm a big enough wimp I only think about that stuff - but boy, it was a close call.

Bright side. Hmm. Yes! The BBQ was excellent. And yes, Inuprofen & Ice are the coctail of choice today, as my leg oozes and throbs while typing this. *sigh*
 

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i worship Mr T
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i feel your pain Glen. been there. done that.....quite recently in fact. sometimes it is better to pull out than to push onward. you made the right decision. sorry it was the result of someone else's stupidity.

heal quick & strong, and you'll be ready to kick butt at Snowmass.

rt
 

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Occidental Tourist
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Sorry to hear your effort was spoiled by a tool. Hell, I'm impressed that:
a. you didn't bean the jackarse
b. you got back on the bike after such a crash
 

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Hey Glen,
I was wondering what had happened. My wife and I had gone up to catch you and a few other guys coming through, and then to see the fireworks. In any case, we watched the Experts come in, and I would make it a point to be at the last switchback when I saw an orange jersey with a black bike... no dice. I started thinking that maybe you didn't make it up. Now I know. Sorry man. Hope the bruises and scrapes heal before Snowmass.
 

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rohloff rich
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Sorry about the crash and subsequent pop. I think you probably haven't been eating at India Palace often enough. ;) Maybe you should just stay away from racing in Colorado--it sounds dangerous.
 

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Preemptive Revenger
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ahh dude that sucks. Probably the best news is that it doesn't sound like it will impact any of your bigger goals for the season.

It surprises me that there are such d!ckheads in the higher classes. My Saturday race at Eldora was also impacted by similarly foolish/risky/rude passes by a couple of guys who were either pro, semi-pro, or expert. I would have thought that such bonehead, unrisky moves would be limited to beginners and sports...
 

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Chickittey Check or Rickittey Wreck Yo'self

glenzx said:
Firecracker 50 - Fantastic or flop?
..... I eyeballed a nice, babyhead sized rock in the trail and in a moment of rage nearly picked it up and threw at his head. At that point he was mumbling "are you OK?" so I eased off the adrenaline-fueled blind violence and checked myself.
Hey glen,

I think Ice Cube said it best; "You better check yourself, before you wreck yourself....because big dicks in your a$$ are bad for your health"

That hack will get his own someday, so good job in backing off and doing something you would regret later. You would have probabaly missed him with the rock anyway, cause you throw like a girl. Ha!

Hope all heals well..........

See you at the UCI Nats. in Angel Fire this weekend? We'll be there for the X-C races on Sunday.

M
 

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the cool nerd
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Dooohhhhhh..

glenzx, i can not tell you how sorry I was to read the end of your still excellent race report! Man, I thought that my luck sucked..

Guess we'll be going to Breck for the 4th next year? I want to make up for last year, and you for this year...

Heal fast my brother
 

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Preemptive Revenger
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Timo said:
you throw like a girl. Ha!
Po', po' GlenZX:

"GlenZX [insert verb here] like a girl"

Which brings me to think, do you have a nice falsetto, as in "wooooot! woooooot! big fella!" ?

J/K, you da man, please don't tip me over on the trails.

PS - I think I got "chicked" by Allison Dunlap this weekend...it's a lot more fun being passed by a pro than it is another sport racer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
brg said:
yep - that would have been me. I ended up having 0% climbing legs. Sorry you missed out on that fun. ;)
Nooooo! I'll have to "read all about it" when you post the tale!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
YuriB said:
Sorry to hear your effort was spoiled by a tool. Hell, I'm impressed that:
a. you didn't bean the jackarse
b. you got back on the bike after such a crash
LOL, thanks for putting it in perspective - there'll be another day, and other fools out there. I'll just stay even further away! It was sure tempting to go all rambo and all, but in retrospect I'm glad I rode away. I'm pretty sure he got the worst of it, so I left it at that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
*rt* said:
i feel your pain Glen. been there. done that.....quite recently in fact. sometimes it is better to pull out than to push onward. you made the right decision. sorry it was the result of someone else's stupidity.

heal quick & strong, and you'll be ready to kick butt at Snowmass.

rt
I know you do, my buddy! Funny, the first thing I thought of after I crashed and started riding away was "wow, now I have a good crash story too, like *rt*"! It didn't seem as humorous later when I pulled out - but I still chuckled inwardly at a lot of our paralell ups & "downs". Even that inward chuckle hurt! But I believe you are right - that it was the right move. What a mess it would have been to wrecked AGAIN due to lack of focus!

Thanks though - seems like there's no bad 'structural' damage - so in a day or two I may actually hop back on the bike(s). Snowmass, here I / (we/ocky/etc) come!

woot, woot....
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OdaNelli said:
Hey Glen,
I was wondering what had happened. My wife and I had gone up to catch you and a few other guys coming through, and then to see the fireworks. In any case, we watched the Experts come in, and I would make it a point to be at the last switchback when I saw an orange jersey with a black bike... no dice. I started thinking that maybe you didn't make it up. Now I know. Sorry man. Hope the bruises and scrapes heal before Snowmass.
Awww, shoot man! Sorry I missed you guys! I sure appreciate that you were out there trying to get a shot - that's cool! How 'bout that freaky little Killeeen? 3:39 or some such SICK, sick time. Jay Henry was right there, 30 seconds back too. Those guys were fun to see come in - while drinking beer and checking myself out of the race at the timing trailer.

We'll strategerize Snowmass this week. Hopefully you're getting through the blahs and are preparing for a strong race or two in the near future.

g
 
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