Going to do the megavalanche injured, with minimal training, will I die?
Is it a braking finger? Otherwise, tape it to it’s nearest neighbour, get some painkillers down thee and crack on.
(raced the qualifier with a broken wrist a few years back. Was all going fine until I tried going for an offpiste overtake which ended in a 3′ drop to flat. The pain was, yes, umm, painful… 😯 )Posted 7 months ago
Messed up the dates and thought it was in a couple of weeks, but got an enthusiastic phone call last night, telling me to get my arse to France… sorted ferry for the morning, and have a long drive ahead.
How much grimacing will I be doing, considering I have a very injured finger and haven’t ridden a bike nearly as much as usual for the past few months?Posted 7 months ago5labMember
I broke my hand day one of a trip involving the mega – the middle finger bone within the hand kept ‘popping out’ (you could see it poking at the skin) whenever I put a twisting force through my hand. It could be popped back by pulling down on the finger. I didn’t do qualifying, but I did the whole race, popping my finger back in (by biting the end of it and pulling down as I was riding along), and didn’t do too badly. The scarey bits were the high speed sections as the lack of strength in my grip meant my hand occasionally just bounced off the bars. You’ll be finePosted 7 months ago
Still alive; left home in Wales after 11pm, then drove for 27 hours with about an hours sleep en route, picked up 2 teams of hitchikers doing some competition from Amsterdam to Barcelona along the way and arrived in Alpe De Huez around 2.30am, disturbing a wild boar by the side of the road on the way up the climb.
Rode tentitively the next morning, after 6 weeks off the bike, seeing if hand was up to job. Hell yes I’m tough enough…
Was lucky enough to have the help of the Ride It Out team to get to grips with the various sections of the track (s), however, never got around to scoping the top section of the quali track, so come Friday morning, was riding blind… Not to worry as some weapon managed to wipe me out on the 2nd turn to the extent I supermanned over the bars before rolling up like a very sweary armadillo for fear of being crushed by the blind masses of riders behind. On recovering, discovered dropper post was stuck up, so by the time I attacked it with a leatherman to give me any hope of getting down the hill, I was dead last, with about 4-500m gap behind the next rider, so I got in predator mode and made like a cheetah chasing down a herd of gazelle. My bloodlust was satiated when I decided to use the clear track to make up time and was primed to smash a rock section in record time; instead, the rocks chose to set their own record, smashing both the visor of my box fresh helmet and my already massively injured finger leaving a tattered bloody mess of my digit. After the blow to the head and the sight of all the blood, I was damn close to giving up…
To be continued…Posted 6 months ago
Now where was I? (At the Bourg St Maurice Funiculaire station, nabbing wife with about 4% battery, that’s where… (still there now, but with more battery, thanks to heatwave lucifer and plenty of solar panels))
So anyway, there I was about a 3rd of the way down the mega qualifier, with a pinky that looked like it’d been through a mincer, seeing stars and now last but 2. I was ready to jack it in, but thankfully, some well placed spectators gave me the encouragement I needed to shake it off and get back in the race. I parted with them giggling at my quip about my signature style and got back on the hunt… could be that the adrenaline did me good, cos I started overtaking a few folk; not too bad when you remember I was the best part of 500m back after the dropper incident. In the end, think I got past about 12 folk with some good natured hollering. Began to regret wearing Elvis shades when I came into the tunnel mind; blindness, gravel and front wheel washouts are never a good look, but somehow I held it and coughed and sputtered my way along the final straight.
After a bit of sweaty socialising with some dudes I met on the start line, I found the medics tent… talk about VIP treatment; at one point I had 4 medics tending my various bloody bits all at once; it was like being deluged by caring zombies, or perhaps a squadron of sympathetic vultures repairing a carcass in the wake of those nasty predator types.
All the while, I was wondering how I did, but that would have to wait
To be continued…Posted 6 months ago
Blimey, time flies when you’re killing brake pads and causing mischief in sleepy Italian ski resorts thanks to loads of free booze cos it’s 15th Agosto. The prospect of typing on a touch screen phone that performs as if it’s got a poltergeist mucking about inside wasn’t a great motivator for me getting this story finished.
Now, where was I… that’s right, zombies and vultures; now, weird dreams aside, I was very fortunate to have the tender care of so many warm and friendly medics, who could just of easily let me drip slowly to death.
In the bigger scheme of things, I was lucky; Chris, the friend who rang me and set in motion the events that led to my harebrained dash from Mid Wales, had managed to break his foot earlier in the week and Sam, who doubtless played a part in inspiring me to get a van in the 1st place was sitting it out after having done the Millau EWS with broken ribs. So my flesh wounds were a bit less of an issue than for example the Black Knight’s in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Now, by the time I’d farted about doing whatever it is that bike bums do (eating, showering, throwing squeaky pigs for crazy collies etc) by the time I made it down for free beer and results, there was a hoofing great crowd, so I hung around with cripple Chris, by the bins, cos being a crutch rookie, he couldn’t navigate through the crowds. And chicks dig bins.
In the meantime another of our squad, Jon went in to get results and collect the sticker for his plate. Because of the queues, all this took a while and by the time he got back, Jon was probably quite hungry… maybe that’s why he told me that since I was in one of the affiliate races (the ones for the rubbish guys, who the organizers feel too sorry for to say you didn’t qualify to actually race) I didn’t need no sticker and lets go get some food dammit.
We ate some food, it was nice.
Saturday Morning I got up, necked as many painkillers as I figured I could get away with without getting drowsy, then did the whole bonkers lift queue thing and several hours later, finally found myself at the top, ready to drop in (albeit solo… no mass start if you’re rubbish) (I’m not actually that rubbish, I’ve been on a few podiums here and there). Anyhoo, as I go to drop in, the lady with the clip board at the top asks where my sticker is… I tell her, entirely truthfully that my friend said that since I was in an affiliate race, I didn’t need one. Can’t remember if she had glasses or not, but if she did, she would’ve been peering over them: “does your friend work for the race organizers” she said, making me feel like an insolent child “erm no” was my witty counter. With that, she wrote +5 next to my name, meaning I had a 5 minute penalty.
Thank’s Jon’s tummy! Grumbles work both ways pal.
What happened next was long and arduous, so rather than bore you with every detail, I’ll tell you about the angry dutchman. At least he sounded Dutch, but he never offered me a smoke and a pancake, but there again maybe that was just down to circumstance.
I’d been tailing some guy that was slowing me down a bit for a few hundred meters, but I figured in the bigger scheme of things, it probably wasn’t worth risking an overtake considering it was still fairly high up on some rocky exposed stuff that I’d only ridden once before. So anyway, the guy I was following came up behind this guy who was slower, who then got off his bike for a gnarly bit slowing down both me and the guy in front right down; since the Dutchman (who was not yet angry) had slowed us down, we both had to get off as we lost the momentum required to roll the techy rocks. The guy in front got by no worries, but then when I went past too, he lost his shit, screaming that I was slowing him down. I was like “cool, whatever, let’s just race”. Now I don’t know if it was this outburst, or the adrenaline of the confrontation that allowed me to pass the guy in front within the next couple of hundred meters, but basically, I pulled away and got on with being a badass in my peakless helment and Elvis shades.
Considering my injuries and relative lack of fitness, I’d figured on a quick stop to catch my breath and have a drink (my camelback was being a dick, so had to rely on a bottle (in my backpack)) a bit before things got pedally, so I stopped a little way after the waterfall at the bottom of those sweet turns. After a couple of minutes, I’m sitting there with my helmet off swigging from my bottle when our dutch friend appears:
“Sorry, you were way faster than me after all”
“No worries man, have fun” I reply, sportsman that I am.
Few more breaths and I fill my bottle from the stream get everything together and put my helmet back on, ready for round 2.
Pass him again in short measure, with no complaints.
Fair bit of pedalling later, get to the climb where all the spectators are; do the climb where all the spectators are, taking my hands off the bars and punching the air like Rocky, then as soon as I get to the last spectator shout “That’s enough of that business” and get off and push (A tradition that dates back to when I was a pedicab rider in Edinburgh… when you’re pedalling 3-400kg up the mound every weekend, it’s nice to take it easy on your days off and helps with drivetrain preservation).
Some time later, after some frickin sweet trails, I come to the long fireroad traverse, a perfect place for your saddle to completely disintegrate for no particular reason, I’m sure you’ll agree. All I know is I felt some weird shit going on under my ass and the next thing, all that’s holding my saddle on is my arse cheeks, like a very sweaty, hairy and not particularly attractive take on a G string. There was no way I could clench the entire rest of the track, so me and the saddle had a tearful goodbye. (It probably celebrated escaping my sweaty crack)
So, I ended up doing most of the fireroad traverse alternating between standng pedalling and coasting; after the traumatic departure of my beloved saddle, I was not ready to get intimate with it’s murdered remains (just yet).
Doing a bit of a road climb with some bugger on a rigid fatbike who would’ve dropped into the singletrack in front of me if I didn’t improve relations with my saddle’s skeleton was just the aphrodisiac required to bring back that loving feeling. Though some bolts were sticking out, so it was a bit like Frankenlovin’. Padded shorts are a godsend at times.
On the final stages of the race, I was having epic battles with a super friendly dude from Malaysia; I passed him, then washed out in a dusty corner, before he also wiped out in the same corner. Because of my stubborn reluctance (and sub par fitness due to spending most of the winter kitting out a van instead of riding) to pedal uphill he passed me on the final road climb, so for the next bit of singletrack, rather than putting the pressure on, I held back a bit to preserve energy, then burst past on the final straight after the bridge.
Regardless of results, all that exercise and such a non stop orgy of adrenaline makes for guaranteed smiles.
If you haven’t done the mega before, do it.Posted 5 months ago
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