By Paul Ruchlin

Paul Playin' in the Dirt

Having stopped bouncing down the rocks, head down into the gully, with my bike on top of me, the first thought I had was, “CRAP, I think I just blew out my knee.” I could hear other riders on the trail asking if I was OK. I replied that I was, not 100% confident that was true. It seemed like several, but I’m sure it was more like a minute before Chris and another guy were able to get to me and get my bike off me. Was this the end of my race, barely 7 miles in; another failed attempt? We’ll get to that… After last year’s debacle in the impromptu blizzard, there was little that would stop me from finally completing the Whiskey Off-Road 50 Proof. Pouring rain at the start through freezing sleet and ice to full on white-out at elevation… in Arizona…in April? What the Hell!!! I was not the only unprepared racer who decided to quit not long after the start in 2014. That was a miserable 13 miles, but steeled my determination to get it done this year. So when, on Friday afternoon, it was raining again in Prescott, AZ I was a bit disheartened. I kept faith in the forecast for mostly cloudy, temps in the 50-60’s and no rain till late in the day for our 50 miles on Saturday. A base layer and light arm warmers were plenty comfortable at the starting line and the sun was breaking through the clouds here and there as we rolled out of the start corral and up Copper Basin Rd. Thanks to my winter of Team Veloworks CompuTrainer classes at Spokes, Etc., our awesome team sponsor and bike shop extraordinaire, I was starting this race off in better condition than I’ve ever been before, especially for this early in the season. However, there’s no real training for elevation and by mile 4, where the pavement ends, I was starting to feel the 6000 ft, despite being motivated by having kept up with my friend Chris, which I’d never been able to do before.

Typical Madness at the Start

As we hit the single track, still together, my heart was racing but this should be a chance to recover a bit. The first couple of miles up here are pretty flat and flowy, and slow down or even back up with riders in a couple of the short but challenging technical sections. Kyrie Irving All Shoes So, as we came to the hairpin across the stream gully, a 4-5 ft drop to our inside I’d mostly recovered, my heart back in my chest and my breathing back to normal. Nike Air Max 2016 Dames wit And then, I have no idea what happened. One second I’m pedaling up the slight climb and the next thing I know, I’m falling over sideways, INTO the gully. Now what do we all do when this sort of thing happens? Of course, we unclip and put our leg out to brace ourselves. BAD move. Well, actually it was better than tumbling down in to the rocks without having slowed my fall, so I suppose it was really just poorly executed because as soon as my leg encountered solid footing on one of the rocks there was a horrible pain exploding in my left knee. I Sooooo wish I’d had my GoPro running for this. Or someone else had captured it from the trail. goedkope Nike Air Max 90 I’m sure it was quite the amusing spectacle. And there I was, lying head down in a gully, perched on a rock, bike on top of me, thinking, “CRAP, I think I just blew out my knee.” Once my rescuers, Chris included, managed to get me upright again, which was more of a feat than it seems from this retelling, the first weight I put on my leg was rather painful. Nike Air Max 2017 Heren blauw But the pain was not sharp, my knee seemed stable and did not feel like what I imagined torn ligaments should feel. That was my technical diagnosis. A few steps went ok, with diminishing pain so I decided to press on. We were only a mile or two from the road crossing where I bailed out last year and I figured I would ride to that point and make a decision, desperately hoping I wouldn’t be needing to ride back down that road to town and another DNF.

Red Ridin' Hood Thru the Forest

To my great surprise when I hopped back on my bike, pedaling did not hurt at all. I took that as good news. About half the way to the road crossing was uphill. In some parts steeply uphill. air max 1 pas cher It still didn’t hurt. I took that as better news. I got to the crossing in good order and stopped to take in some food, deposit some excess internal fluid and pop an Aleve. It was an easy decision to make. I was going on. If it got worse later, I’d worry about that then. There were still other bailout places ahead, not to mention medical help if I really needed it. A bit further on up the trail I unclipped and put my leg down. Yes, my left leg. It’s my predominant unclip leg. YOOOOOW!!!!! Ok then, lateral pressure, NOT good. But still, no pain with pedaling. Nike Air Max 2017 Dames Of course, being the super-genius that I am, it took me at least another half-dozen times of unclipping throughout the day to figure out and force myself to unclip with my right leg. For those of you bored with this story already, you can skip ahead. I finished, really without any other problems except the aforementioned dopiness of using the wrong leg. I was, in spots, a bit more cautious with my riding, knowing I could not rely on that peg to help me out. Air Jordan 14 Uomo I’ve no doubt that led to my riding better. Luckily I’d gotten my knee off my mind for the worst, nastiest, most hated, despised and detested part of this whole course. TRAIL 48!!! It SUCKS!!! 2.8 miles of up, steep up, with huge, ridiculous telephone pole sized water breaks. I walked a lot of this. Not only because it sucks, but also because now I was really feeling the elevation. My heartrate was pegged over 170 and I could not get it down. zonnebrillen kopen ray ban So much time revved up so high naturally had me feeling, well, less than optimal. A little nauseous, dispirited, bordering on angry. I was very surprised as I finally reached the summit, to find Chris there, putting on his wind shell, which, aside from stepping back from cardiac arrest, was also my plan as you face a 2.6 mile technical descent from here and with the wind it was quite cool.

Just Wee Bumps in the Road

So as not to turn this in to the Moby Dick of mountain biking I too shall skip ahead. The remainder of the race went very much without incident. My knee did just fine throughout. The leg out to Skull Valley is a bit of a slog, but I enjoyed it. The downhill sections were fast and fun. The uphill sections were quite the challenge, although nothing like that F*^%$*@(^+ TRAIL 48. Cheap Fjallraven Kanken Outlet I was able to control my heartrate the rest of the day and keep it in my 155-165 sweet zone. Near mile 36 I was feeling pretty darn ducky and happy to pause at the Whiskey & Bacon stop for the proffered shot. Unfortunately, the guy in front of my got the last slab of bacon. Curses! Another couple of miles of up, to the peak of Sierra Prieta (7065 Ft), and it was all, almost all, downhill from there. Going in to this race I was predicting 7.5 to 8 hrs to complete. I was astonished coming across the finish line at 6:34:32. Thank you again Spokes, Etc. and Veloworks. This is a HARD race, but immensely fun with spectacular scenery in a fantastic setting. If you’re ever looking for an out of town race to do, whether you’re competitive or not, this is one you must consider. Of course, now that I have my 50 Proof pint glass, I never have to suffer it again. Nike Air Max 2016 Norge Nettbutikk Unless YOU want to do it with me.

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