RACE REPORT:April 26 2004 Michaux, Gettysburg PA
Michaux has a CLYDESDALE Class!
Hearing that Michaux had a Clydesdale class combined with the powerful roots and rocks reputation of the races hosted at Michaux really got me jazzed about racing this Sunday past. The buzz that surrounds this race caused a mixture of anticipation and anxiety, a level of anxiety higher than the usual prerace jitters. It was not until the day before that I had confirmation that I was going to go to Gettysburg, PA for this event. With my big blue truck in the shop and the presence of my 2 sons Dean and Grant, Grant only being 2 and a half months old it seemed like an unlikely weekend day escape. All the talk of others heading to the race was making me jealous, new captain Pooch was headed there, retired captain Kemler was headed there with my brother Marc traveling as film crew, the Team list serve made it appear as it others were itching to go, then I heard the fellow City Bike Mountainbike newbie and Mount Pleasant Neighbor Dave Vannier was going. Figured it was worth a shot and put in my bid. Asked the wife...Lisa gave me the go ahead with no hassle, there seemed to be no attitude or any hidden emotion, sure there was the "if it is important to you." But sometimes women say what they mean and mean what they say, so I left it best to take her words at face value and not try to find any subtext. I made the call to Dave, he was willing to pick me up for our 2 hour drive at 6:45 am. The prerace preparation began! Gear was gathered. Grub was packed away. Several Red Bulls were put on ice, Gatorade was set aside, and a Camelback was loaded with water and all of the race essential tools and tubes. Then a quick look at the bike. Everything seemed in order, the bottom bracket was no more loose then it was last time I rode the Rocky Mountain Blizzard and the seat post did not seem to be slipping any faster. A few turns of a truing key, slight tightening of the brakes, no more air needed in the tires, a generous application of PSYCHO LUBE on the drive train and a quick run through the gears. Everything was in order.
Both boys were down for a night's sleep and I was going to settle down in front of the TV with a glass of wine before I went to bed. It amazed me that it was already after 10pm, the night comes so much faster when your time is occupied with feeding toddlers, changing infant diapers, and bathing all the above. Lucky for me my wife is a machine and carries more than her fair share, as the portion that I take on is often more than I can chew. Get Dean and Grant crying at the same time with out Lisa here to help and I am tearing the last few hairs out of my nearly hairless head.
The time was getting late and there was nothing captivating my interest on the tube, nor did I want to start in on a full movie which would cut into my much needed sleep time, so I marched up to bed a few minutes before 11. My head rested gently upon the pillow, my eyes closed, butterflies flew within my stomach as I thought about the rock gardens of Michaux, a place that I have never been to but have heard so much about. It is said to be a course that wrecks riders and eats bikes. Part of me was pleased that the CLYDESDALE distance was set at the same as the beginner distance. Usually I contact race promoters asking them to extend the distance, there was even a case on a 104 degree day at the Susquehanna Scorcher where we were offered to do the race with on less lap and I objected. Trying to be some sort of one man Clydesdale advocacy group, aiding in earning clydesdales the respect and understanding that they deserve. The promoter oferred one less lap, before any other rider/racer could speak up I demanded our money's worth! As I slowly got the butterflies to flutter away my eyelids started to get heavy and I started to drift away into sleep. Then I heard an oh too familiar watery splash from the next room. After the splash came tears, another night with the RODA virus. I rushed to Dean's side pulling him from his bed. He was crying and covered in vomit. I held him tight and tried to console him, he wiped the vomit off his cheeks onto my shoulder than threw up onto my back. I ran down the hall with Dean in my arms and put him down in the bathroom and said, "face the toilet." Like a mullet wearing Florida redneck on COPS he assumed the position. Over the last few days he has grown oh too familiar with this position. He grasped the toilet bowl on each side and leaned in. He threw up several times as I went back to survey the area....his bed was trashed. The bbq feast I had grilled that evening and handmade ice cream from Dos Gringos were everywhere. I removed sheets, pillowcases, comforter; and then wiped down the walls. This was one of several nights were Dean made Linda Blair's famous pea soup scene from the Exorcist look like child's play! After the quick wipe down of the room I met up with Dean in the bathroom. He had filled the toilet bowl with vomit, he was cute and pitiful at the same time. His face and hair had a mixture of saliva and vomit, I did my best to wipe him clean and then dry. We went to by bed and I got him dressed in some clean clothes and they lied him in my bed beside me. He was asleep before I put him down. With some quick calculations I thought of how much sleep I still had time to get before the departure for the race the next morning. A little less sleep was not going to be a good enough excuse for me to dodge the rocks of Michaux. There had been enough sleep the night prior to make up for a little less sleep the night before the actual race.
As time passed here was some gurgling from my stomach as well as Dean's, yet we both slept. Then maybe and hour and half later there was that same splashing sound followed by crying, I jumped awake and grabbed Dean and rushed him to the bathroom, he clutched me close then pushed back and vomited right onto my chest, then down into the toilet in the appropriate fashion.As Dean threw up in the toilet I cleaned my bed, removing the comforter which absorbed all the vomit like a the paper towel that was modeled after it. Then retrieved Dean from the bathroom, shared some words of consolation, gave him a big strong hug and returned him to the bed beside me (Lisa is sleeping downstairs in the office/nursery with Grant, as he is only two and a half months and is still feeding in the night) after putting on another fresh set of clothing I went to put Dean into my bed, he asked to be put in his own, this worked for me. So I went and laid a towel on the mattress and pulled the quilt and pillow from the top unused bunk bed. I then settled in for some rest before the early set time for departure for Gettysburg and the race. The math was again calculated in my head, so I was short on sleep...this was not enough to stop me from racing.
The data is all a little fogged. Our system carries some sort of amnesia effect on the topic of pain and illness. As in the case of pregnancy, my wife delivered drug free when Dean was born, in great pain, inspite of the pain she consciously delivered Grant the same way. Somehow she forgot the pain, the blood vessels busting in her eyes, her violent clutching of my hands, all she remembered was the newborn baby in her arms. Not unlike a 24 Hour mountain bike relay race....where the racer leaves saying. "I am not doing that again!" only to relive the pleasures and sign up early the next year, I can not recall how many vomit sessions occurred or the span between them. But some time passed after I put dean down in his bed and I was up in that same position. It was daddy's turn. Out of my mouth shot with great volume and great pain was a pint of ice cream, a turkey sandwich, some jelly beans, a couple of glasses of wine, and then everything that was eaten at dinner. After hurling everything that my body could dredge up I pulled down the seat and sent some food out the other end in the same liquid form. Not too far into the process Dean was crying in front of me waiting patiently for his turn. A wipe of the seat and a quick flush and Dean was vomiting like a teenager in Tijuana. We were miserable. Dean finished his painful hurls and asked for some apple juice. I figured he could use some hydration and offered some GATORADE, he agreed. I had told him that he may throw up anything that he drank, but the fear of him dehydrating was great so I figured it was worth the risk.
As I came back upstairs Lisa was up tending to Dean, he was in the tub being consoled by his momma. The Gatorade was handed off to him and I was off to get some rest for my race.
By this time it was the middle of the night and the morning was rapidly approaching. The race was still in sight. No need to calculate the hours of sleep, just put my head down and steal the last few minutes of dreamtime.
Well, dreamtime became a recurring nightmare. In an hour plus time I was up at the toilet again. Tossing and hurling food I did not even know was their. How could I throw up anymore. My contractions dug deep. Some convulsions came up empty, while others splashed the the walls of the toilet. My eyes welled with tears as I begged that vicious RODO-VIRUS for forgiveness. The words were in my mind but it was as if I was saying them.....
"RODAVIRUS! OH POWERFUL AND CRUEL RODAVIRUS YOU OWN ME! SORRY IF I DOUBTED YOU AND YOUR POWER.....NO, I AM NOT GOING TO RACE TOMORROW! I WAS FOOLISH AND VAIN TO THINK THAT I COULD BEAT YOU! YOU BEAT ME! YOUR OWN ME! YOU ARE STRONGER THAN ME! LET ME LIVE! LET ME SLEEP! LET ME WAKE TO DIE ANOTHER DAY!"
With that I was released to go back to bed. Never to doubt the power and control of the RODAVIRUS again. Shortly after I woke. Diarrhea was the final symptom. The calm after the storm. A painless symptom in comparision to the violent convulsions of the night prior. At 6:45 I was half wake and heard the phone ring. Although I could not limp down the stairs fast enough to get the phone, it was clear that it was Dave in the alley behind my house. I meandered out back and greeted my carpool. As a father himself he understood the events of the night prior oh too well. I warned him of the cool weather that I anticipated in Gettysburg, wished him well, and dragged my worn and tired ass back to bed. I felt worse than most any mountainbike course could ever make me feel, only without the boastful tales.
Guess I will have to wait till the next race at Michaux to sample the rocks and roots.
All is better now.
Slept nearly all of Sunday day, then a long night of sleep into the morning on Monday. Had the foresight to call in sick to work on Sunday night. Monday was symptomless. By late lunch I was able to eat again and my system seemed back to normal.