Sunday, June 03, 2007

Crashing back to reality

Things can sure go downhill in a hurry. My last post covered how I had set a personal record at Run Thru the Vines and almost made the top 3 in my age group. The next morning I set out to ride the bicycle course for the triathlon. The first 13 miles were uneventful and I was enjoying the new course. Then came the dogs.

I was riding down a flat stretch and looking for the next turn when a group of three dogs came running out to the road. Two labs and a mutt made up a very noisy and intimidating security team for the double-wide they called home. I was far enough out in the middle of nowhere to be unsure of whether the dogs were just in it for the chase or if they had a mid-morning snack in mind, so I tried to out run them. The mutt and one of the labs quickly fell behind. I turned to make sure I was clear of them and as I looked back up I saw the remaining lab had done the geometry right and was a little ahead of my front tire. He had decided that the attack from the right wasn't working for him and he cut in front of the tire to attack from the left. Of course he didn't check to see if he was clear and didn't signal this change of plan, so when he cut over he ran into my wheel and took it out from under me.

After skidding to a halt -- see the picture above -- I just lay there swearing at the sky. I realized that while the dog may have had the courses in advanced car chasing to be able to catch me, he hadn't had the final course in the series, "What to do when you finally catch something." All three dogs jumped in the ditch and kept barking because I was still on their territory. The worst part of the wreck for me was the realization that laying in the road like I was there was potential for a much bigger accident if I didn't stand up and create more of a profile. I picked myself up, brushed off the gravel, and managed to ride back out to the car. After the great feeling the day before, this certainly wasn't how I had planned to spend my Sunday morning.

My bike survived with just a few scratches. My scratches weren't too severe either. One of my ribs was bruised badly enough to make running and swimming a little intense, but I fought through the pain. Two weeks after the crash I completed my triathlon. I had hoped for a significant improvement over last year's time, but it wasn't meant to be. I didn't get the shot of adrenaline at the start I was expecting, and at several points in the race I just felt like this was something to get done, not a race. Next year I'll have one more shot at the event before hopefully moving on to a new home.

In the month since the race our home has been a one stop shop for respiratory illness. Lidia and Ana traded a couple of viruses before they found one that was good enough for me. I thought it was just bad allergies and literally ran myself into the ground with training. I've just finished the first week of drugs and no exercise, and everyone in the house is better now. I've probably got another three or four days before I'm back on the road running, but it's time to start climbing back up for the next personal record.

It seems my work has inspired some in the house too. I leave you with a picture of the next triathlete in the family. Just sixteen years or so before she's ready to compete.


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