So, about that picture. The photo in my header probably doesn't look that special, especially to anyone familiar with mountain bike racing. It's just a racing picture, the likes of which you could see on hundreds of racer-guy blogs just like mine. To you, it says very little.
You can see that it's cold. The trees are void of leaves. Some guy is glued to my wheel. I'm smiling or grimacing. Our numbers are pinned to the front of our jerseys. We're on single speeds. The course looks boring. That's about it. Far short of the requisite thousand words a picture should tell.
I can add a few details. January. Completing the first lap of a two-lap race. A bitter north headwind. A flapping number. I muster a smile for my spouse. I'm oblivious. Care-free. And minutes away from my first real injury in 23 years of racing. Wrist. Broken. Shattered. Shadoobie.
It was a TBF race held out at Granite Bay on Folsom Lake. I had done a number of TBF races in the past. They are expensive, and the course isn't very exciting, but they are only 30 minutes from my house. I used to live less than a mile from a ride that included parts of the race course, so I know the area well.
Race day began like any other except for the bizarre request at registration to pin our numbers to the front of our jerseys, something I had never done in all my years of racing. It was breezy that day, and the number flapped about and made a lot of noise. It crackled with nearly every pedal stroke. Did it distract me enough to make a big mistake on the course? Probably not.
I don't want to go into a blow-by-blow account of the race, so I will get to the juicy part. Basically the guy you see on my wheel was there for about eight miles, and he was getting on my nerves. I decided to either get rid of him or blow up trying. I knew a little area with some technical sections was coming up, so I hit the gas. There was an S-turn with a big granite boulder in the middle of it that you go over. I went into the first turn way too fast, swung too far outside over the top, then ended up too far inside on the second turn. I clipped a smaller rock and went down.
Typically one wants to tuck-and-roll in this situation, but there was a rock heading straight for my face. I put my left hand out to protect myself and that was that.
The pictures below tell the story:
The result was surgery, a plate, screws, rehab, and some time off the bike. It's been far too long a journey for this post, but I'll add tidbits here and there when relevant.