Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lumberjack 100 Race Report-the day my knee got axed!

All Photo's by Jack Kunnen 

The attacks started early this year at Lumberjack, and I'm not talking about attacks from fellow racers. I'm talking about attacks from the Michigan Mosquito Militia

It had rained all night, and there was standing water in the ditches next to the start line. I honestly think the mosquitos were organizing into groups as they attacked us because they seemed to be coming in from all different directions. We were all swatting at them frantically and I barely heard Rick (the race promoter) say "Go!"

The start on the road was definitely neutral this year and all 280 of us rode along nicely. It wasn't until we hit the dirt that the pace really picked up. I could tell that my legs did NOT feel as great as they did at Mohican, but I was hoping that they would "open up" quickly. 

I have a love/hate relationship with the Lumberjack course. It's fun singletrack and nice because it's in my home state. I never had so many people cheering for me before in my life. I could totally feel the Michigan love. However, the course itself is a little difficult for me because it has really short hills that you have to power over again and again. I would much rather have looong climbs. But oh well, that's kind of what makes the NUE series so appealing. Each course is different!

Each lap was 25 miles long and after the first lap Scott informed me that I was in 3rd place and 4-5 minutes behind Betsy Shogren (the female race leader). I wanted to make up time in the 2nd lap and tried to pick it up a bit. I was having a little too much fun on the downhills and hit one downhill WAY too fast. The bottom of the downhill had a bunch of wet roots that you had to turn on and you can probably imagine the rest...

Left Knee I'd like you to MEET My Bike Stem

It had been over a year since I last hit my left knee and I almost forgot how badly it hurts. Holy Moly, the pain was so intense I wanted to vomit.  I looked down and saw this white substance oozing out, but that's all that I'm going to say-just in case someone is eating while reading! A few racers came by and moved me and my bike into the woods (with my luck it was poison ivy) and I basically had to double over until the pain subsided. 

I have to admit that there were a few moments where I was having a total pity party for myself. I was thinking about how in past seasons I had a lot of flawless races, but that lately something seems to go wrong in every race I do. Not fair since I'm in way better shape this year!!! But then I realized that's part of bike racing-it can't always be good. I gave myself a few mental slaps and got back on my bike. Now, don't think that I'm some crazy-psycho-martyr that rides through any sort of pain. I'm not. If it were really bad I would have been smart about it. It hurt, but it was the type of hurt that was going to be OK. 

I started feeling better during Lap 3 and 4, but that's because I was riding in my 24 hour pace. I was going at a pace I could have ridden at all day, and started to pick racers off one by one. Unfortunately I couldn't go much faster because my left knee was being all difficult and would start throbbing like a M'Fer. 

I crossed the finish line in 3rd place (31st overall) with a time of 8:46-something.  The competition keeps getting tougher and tougher at these races and I'm liking it. I think it's freaking awesome to line up with 20 plus women at the start line and it's no walk in the park to make the podium. Congrats to Betsy (Cannondale) for taking the win again, and Karen Potter for 2nd place. And congrats to all finishers and attempters for that matter. Showing up at the start line for a hundred miler takes some serious guts!!!

Crossing the finish line....

My bloody Knee...
Podium Pic
After the race Scott and I did a not so quick trip to the hospital in Manistee. My "laceration" was small but really deep. No one could get the dirt out and I'm NOT one to mess around with infections, that's for sure.  The ER was filled with bike racers :-(

A nurse started to clean my knee out, but eventually got the Doctor to make sure it was all OK. He said that it was too late for stitches, so they did a little snipping of skin before attempting to clean it again. Luckily they put a topical lotion on to numb everything before the snipping! I got the OK to ride again and all is good. I just need to get rid of a little bit of swelling!

My knee started to get a polished look!
The hospital gave me a bag full of dressings and cleaners to take home. When they handed me the bag I was in full "Interbike mode," like I was getting free samples. But then I realized that I was in a hospital and this is the U.S. I'm pretty sure that stuff wasn't for free. 

On a side note, my fellow racers, I will bring my new cleaning kit to all races. If you need a knee cleaned out, I'm practically certified to do it :-)
Thanks to my hubby Scott for taking care of us this weekend. He cooked homemade spaghetti sauce that clearly had a little bit of race "oomph" in it as everyone in our cabin had great results. Jeff (Trek)-1st, Chris (Trek)-3rd, Roger (Trek)-2nd (SS), Eddie (Topeak-Ergon)-14th. Nam had a great start as well but her pesky knee flared up...bummer! I hope it heals quickly because she and I have some serious racing plans for the remainder of the summer. 

PS. Thanks to Jack Kunnen for taking such awesome photos!!!


Mark said...

nice work and way to work through that knee injury. I smashed my toes at the Mohican on a stump. It's all mental I think, getting through that stuff. Great time and great placing considering...
pedal hard


Emily said...

great job Danielle!

Sean said...

AWESOME!!! Good to hear that you got the OK to ride too!

oldmanandhisbike said...

Thanks for posting that knee bash picture; I really wasn't that hungry anyway! :^)
Congrats on your finish despite the blood and pain.

Doug Curtis said...

Glad you're going to be ok. Great expression on your face in that Start photo, you're definitely in attack mode.

Carey said...

Your day will come. We have plenty of wet roots in Tennessee if you want to come down and practice.

viagra online said...

Hey! As some of you may know, over the last few months I have been dealing with some knee problems.Now that my legs are feeling strong and healthy, I thought I'd give a little guide over what the problems were and what I did for recovery.Hopefully this will be useful to people who may have had similar experiences.

Viagra said...

I hope your knee is better now!

Elliott Broidy said...

Yikes! U had fun tho!