This past weekend were 2 of the Cal-Cup races, Dunnigan Hills (air quotes) Road Race and the Suisun Harbor Criterium. Dunnigan Hills is a sprinter's dream for a road race. 700' of climbing in about 43 miles. And this year would include a flat finish.
My teammate (MaryEllen) and I leave my place at 5 a.m. on Saturday to get to the race. She was asleep, but we were making good time until we got to Vacaville. Traffic jam!!! Construction running late. OMFG. I had to pee, and I would have made it to Yolo, if not for the traffic jam. We lost about 20 minutes. By the time we got past it, I was pretty uncomfortable. Exiting 80 onto 113 North, there were seams in the pavement (or so it FELT like), which were killing my bladder. We missed stopping at the first exit, which had a nice Starbucks, a service station, etc. Argh! The next few exits contained nothing but farmland, and the bushes were looking pretty good. MaryEllen has a talent for spotting McDonald's signs and there it was. Just at the offramp in Woodland. I literally ran into the bathroom, whilst she strolled in behind me. Although I usually put my car keys into a pocket or someplace else, this particular moment, they were in my hand. As I turned to flush the toilet, they fell INTO the toilet. It all happened in slow motion. I was too out of it to take a swipe at them to knock them away, so all that was heard was, "Plink" followed by "f**************************************ck!!!!!". MaryEllen calls out, "I'm NEVER touching your keys again..." I didn't even want to touch them, because what do all bike racers do prior to races, besides pee? Awww, nuts. I grabbed them after standing there, horrified. Flushed the toilet and ran screaming to the sink where I threw them in the sink and proceeded to wash both my hands and the keys with soap and water.
Once we started the race, I was fine, till about 45 minutes in. My left hip has really been bugging me, and it's tight. WAY tighter than it's normally been. Jane Robertson attacks and I went with her. Well, I tried to go with her, but I didn't quite have enough to get there from here. We got caught rather quickly anyway, and I was sitting in, trying to recover. I seemed to be recovering, heart-rate wise, but I can't explain what happened other than I had barely any power. The pack started to ride away from me. And despite my accelerations, I could not stay. I chased for awhile and got within about 10 bike lengths and then they just rode away. MaryEllen was looking like she was going to come back for me, but I waved her on. Considering what was going on, I'd not have been able to keep up much longer anyway. My hip/glute continued to degrade until the pain was shooting into my low back, and down my left leg. I was barely moving on the slight rollers (around 5 mph) and nothing is steep on that course. As I was making the long trek back on the straight, boring, 99West, I decided to eat some of my GU. I pulled the GU flask out and when I went to eat it, it was pooled in the bottom. So I held it upside down for about a minute and then ate some. It went into my mouth, and all down my chin. ARGH. I put it away and wiped it off my chin. Then I looked down. It was all down the front of my shorts and my left leg, clear to my knee. And it was a combination of chocolate and espresso (read: brown). God. I tried to wipe it off, but it wasn't keen to leave my leg, so I left it. A few minutes later, I looked down to find a big blob of it, pooled on the top tube, near the seat post. ACCCK. I scooped it up with my thumb and ate it too. When I finally got to the finish line, MaryEllen was waiting for me (she'd won! And I'm so bummed I missed it, but thank God she didn't need me!). "Dude, what's all over your shorts?"
After arriving back at the registration area, I went into the bathroom to clean up. Wiped it off my shorts and my leg, and then went to clean the bike up. Man, that stuff was all over the place. Top tube. Seat post. Even in my rear brake! Threw the towel away and went to mount the bike. Looked down at my left (white) shoe. Sick. It was ALL over my shoe! Back to the bathroom. Stuck foot in the sink and washed my shoe off. Back to the bike. All is well. In talking to 2 girls from Touchstone and MaryEllen, the one girl points at my chest and said, "You missed some." MaryEllen starts laughing and said, "You're right! They DO catch everything!!!" :o)
The next day, the hip issue is still bugging me, which basically takes me out of any contention at Suisun Harbor, so I ride back to my car, shove a gel ice pack down into my skin suit (do these shorts make my butt look fat?) and proceed to roll around town and around the course, encouraging MaryEllen. I came back to the course to find 2 of the women from our race on the ground! I hadn't realized the Virginia Perkins AND MaryEllen both went down in this crash too, because they were both still in the race. Later, Virginia comes out of the race, and we're standing there talking. MaryEllen comes rolling up, and yells, "Dude, give me your rear wheel!" "What?" "Give me your rear wheel! I have a flat!" So I yank it off my bike, Virginia holds my bike and MaryEllen and I go running back to the pit. Mind you, I still have the ice pack in my skin suit and said running action sends it South, so now it's basically fallen down below my butt and is attached to the back of my leg. We arrive at pit in record time (sprinting in road shoes is not recommended) and they tell her, "Sorry, free laps are over. You have to chase." She takes my wheel and takes off, and I head back to my bike with her dead wheel. When I put it onto my bike, someone points at it and said, "Whoa. Look at that!"
Whoever thought a safety pin would flat a tire? Damn. She ran over it a few times too, so it was bent pretty good and looked like someone just fastened it in the tire.
While it was a less-than-desirable weekend, it was still a lot of fun. I have great (albeit, disgusting) stories from the experience, and I'll be more careful with key placement in the restroom in the future. Thank God I didn't drop the keys in the porta-potty. Cuz ewwwww.