December 03, 2007

The Off Season

The off season is supposed to be the time when you rest the body and do "fun things". If you don't want to get up at 5 AM to meet for an early ride then you don't. You control the work outs, they don't control you. When my racing season is over, I start riding the trails with my mountain bike. The terrain we ride on is very technical: rocky, single track, steep climbs, steep descents and lots of switch backs. Honestly, it's such a treat after training for 9 months non-stop that I can't wait to get to it. Plus, we ride as long as we can. The cold doesn't slow us down only a foot of snow could.

Unfortunately, on Thanksgiving morning, one of my rides turned into the painful off-season. I was in Pennsylvania riding a very tame trail by myself. It was a beautiful morning when I started out. The temperature was about 60 degrees and sunny. I was in nirvana. The ride wasn't going to be super technical but it would be aerobic, long and fun. Plus, it was a great release to get out of the house. The ride would ease the guilt from all that food and beer that I was about to eat and drink later in the day.

At about 7 minutes into the ride, I came up this slight incline and made a quick right back onto the fire road like trail. This was no typical, gravel fire road but more grass like, so it was easier. As I made the right, I noticed a 2 foot by 2 foot rock in the middle of the trail. At the last second, I decided to lift off the rock like I so often do and with never any trouble. I don't know what happened but the next thing I knew, the handlebars violently whipped to the right and I was heading over the bars towards the ground. I don't even remember having an opportunity to clip out of the pedals in an effort to land on my feet. The ground met my chin and face so fast I was shocked. I hit the ground with a tremendous force, rolling over and landing on my back. I sat there, momentarily dazed, wondering how that could have happened. I mean, this was one easy trail. After a few minutes of shaking the cobwebs out, I righted myself. I had some very sore, bloody scrapes on my left leg which looked like a bear had clawed me. My chin was sore and my left wrist was in pain and started to swell. I tried to ride a little longer but couldn't grip the left handlebar so I reluctantly headed back to my in-laws house.

The wrist really swelled up even with the ice I applied for several hours. Finally, I was taken to a nearby urgent care facility that happened to be open. Lucky for me because x-rays revealed a fracture in one of my meta carpal bones. So, my off season, my easy season was put on hold for 4 or more weeks. I'm in a half cast and watching the calories I take in because my activity level has been less than zero. I'm counting the days to get back on the bike but this time I'll shoot for the hard stuff and leave the easy trails waiting until next year.

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