Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Racing with giardia?

with what i thought was food poisining on friday morning, i mustered up the courage to drive the 4 hours to hurricane for the 2011 cholla challange. the whole drive down i was wrecked with extreme gas and intestinal dicomfort. i know "TMI", but i felt really bad and i was thinking i would right as rain on saturday for the race. well i got there in the afternoon and managed a slow granny gear investigation lap to learn the course. i did a few of the tricky parts a couple of times and was secure i could race it. the first flatish section had a few moving obsticles. big ones!!! an obsticle laying down. lucky we didn't have to cx jump this one.
the trail turns into a jeep road with varing loose/hard terrain and a few soft/dusty turns


this was later in the course. its the gavel road of slow death
next is a not too steep slick rock cilmb in two parts. a few ledges here and there to flatten your rear tire if you were lazy or too fast.

they came in two's appearently



a fun twisting single track that had way too soft turns, a short rolling climb, a short loose rock downhill, more single track, then a gravel road and a jeep dirt road into the wind.


got through the night with some pleasent team revolution company and woke up to lots more intestinal pain. ate a tiny breakfest and got ready for the race. although i was drinking lots i noticed i was very thirsty. my first clue.


i brought my protable fire pit.

this is dennis's honda element camper top
ellen guthrie had her sportsmobile camper top.
carl irwin was host mechanic for the team as ryan was busy. he worked on my brakes that have been working perfect all month and they decided to lockup again as soon as i got down south.


so this problem is either a altitude or heat issue. either way we both could not figure it out and i had to race with both brakes rubbing bad enough to stop in one revolution if spun hard by hand. rick of sage cycles told me i was losing 75-150 watss on that alone.

i did a generous warm up and got in line to the start. i was eyeballing the porta-potty as my stomach was hurting and gurgling really loud by this point.


decided to let everybody by at the start and then reel them in on the second and third lap. well that never happened. i kept at the back of the first group until the seond lap where i boinked hard.


cramping in both legs, arms and back. i went through my entire water bottle and was still cramping. the giardia was the culprit. i most likely started the race dehydrated and it didn't take much to kill me.


limped the second and third lap barley pedaling and pumping all the bumps, ruts and turns i could find to keep speed. on a side note the white jet9 was sceaming fast on the slight declined single track and the two tiny rocky downhills. i could easily catch people that were in the distance there. mostly i just never touched the brakes and let the bike do its magic.


at the turn around on the thrid lap on the flat i got a rear flat. the stans sealed, but left me with a low tire. i had to pull way off the course to be out of the way. my tiny little 8 gram hand pump took forever(30 seconds) to get back up to 22psi and i was on my way. or was i?


i looked up and could not find the trail. there were a few trails to pick from and they all looked the same. i choose the most obvious one with most tire tracks and then noticed a ride in the distance coming at me. i quickly turned around and got going the other way. my legs felt rejubinated and the cramping was gone. i passed quite a few riders as we were all in a spaced out group at the end of the course.


about two miles from the end the cramps came back and i was forced to slow down to almost nothing. the passed riders passed me back all with big grins and words of encouragemnet. i must really looked cooked.


barely made it to the finish line, and when i say barely i mean if it was 10 more feet longer i would not have finished. the voluteers took my ribbon pinned to the back of my jearsey. i took three steps and stopped, not being able to take not even one more step.


my head felt like i had a million degree fever, throat extrmely dry, brain not working at all, rest of body not responding to any comands. then i noticed the promoters table with three water coolers and the middle one even said gatoraid. i so much wanted to go there, but could not.


just then a young girl that was helping with the race earlier came up and said "mister do you need some help".


i almost cryed. for most of my life it was I who pulled over at the side of the road to help others, borrowed money to friends i new couldn't pay me back, volunteered countless hours to elderly/sick/search and rescue..... my karma has always been repaid in a lucky wonderful life, not in actual assitance when i needed help.


this little angel, my savior, was the first time in a long time that someone actually asked to help me and was in a position to do so. i croak out "would you please get me a drink from the middle cooler" and managed a semi-smile. she skipped over there and carefully brought back a full to the brim dixie cup full of sugar water. it was the most increadiable tasting thing in the world to me. she offered to get me another, i nooded and even was able to take a few steps to the drink table. a few more drinks and i made it to the table and dimissed my little rescuette with a thank you.



i hovered at that table for a long time, drinking 30-40 more cupfulls and talking with other racers. a lot of my discomfort was lessening. at least i felt like i could make it the 50 feet to the porta-potty if i had to. i decided to ride the slight decline to the car and lay down for a spell.


no sooner that i sat in my lawn chair, some little nerdy guy in my catagory came up sputtering and saying something. i calmed him down and in my feverish/worn out state i got the message that he thought he passed me, but some how i finished 2 minutes ahead of him. i explained to him that i might have cut the course by a minute when i flatted and then sped up, but that i finished 26th out of 30 racers.

he totally hit the ceiling saying that i need to go "right now" to the race director and notifiy him of this tremendous illegal move. i tried to explain to him my weakened state and that i could not even make it back up the hill for a while to fix the problem. the little guy exploded with more "this and that" and how unfair it was and .....blah blah blah. i just shut him out and layed back down.


he was upset because he came in 27th, not 26th out of 30 racers.......really i thought? half hour later i managed to get to the race director and explained the situation. "really"? he said. "yes" i had to answer. he said don't worry about it. i said, "no you should fix it for the little guy, he might have a heart attack if not". so the director placed me one minute behind the last finisher to appease the little guy that was now standing aways behind us ready to explode again if nothing was done.


i really didn't care, as if i don't podium, its the same as last place. but the little guy(i think his name is bobby) was beaming with pride on his 26th place finish. really? it takes all kinds i guess. high point of his life.


i decided i was not going to feel any better, so i drove home after the awards. it was a long misrable drive. dehydrated and beatdown from the race boink. i noticed that everytime i ate or drank, that i felt worse, not better. thats when it hit me that i had giardia not food poisining.


for the next five days i was in a world of hurt, intstinal pain, gas and fever. i know, TMI again....


my saving grace is that we are going to hawaii on sunday for a week. that should make it all better. at least i can sit on a sunny beach and relax to blue ocean waves.


i am going to totally take apart my barkes and see if that fixes them. i took the winter tires and parts off my single speed and put on all the carbon fiber and new titanium parts. got it down to 17 lbs even. nice!!! may even race that for the next time. at least the brakes won't be slowing me down.