20 days: Wild Weekend

I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013 – the day I run in Ironman Lake Tahoe. Less than 3 weeks away! Raised so far: $9,717! Want to help take us across the finish line? Chip in a few bucks to one of our causes here!

Wild Weekend

I guess you could say my Labor Day weekend started on Thursday – the day I turned 40. I won’t linger on that part of the story. I honestly don’t feel any different than I did when I was 20… except that I feel a little less stupid about the world. I most certainly do not fear or dread being 40, and am looking forward to a fantastic next decade.

On Friday we celebrated Vintage Cocktail Friday, birthday edition. Our awesome friend Steph made the journey down from Oakland to celebrate the weekend with us, and we each chose our cocktail of choice. Hendrick’s Gin martini for me, a Manhattan for Lauren (in my fancy schmancy Baccarat tumblers that Papa Jeff and Suzanne bought as a birthday present – so awesome!), and Steph tried out a Harpoon.

From L to R: Manhattan, Harpoon, Martini. All were tasty.

From L to R: Manhattan, Harpoon, Martini. All were tasty.

Of course, I overindulged a wee bit, so Saturday morning was not the most pleasant. I had my long run for this training cycle scheduled for the day, so while Lauren and Steph hit the yoga studio, I started out for my planned 18-mile run in the hot, humid morning sun. And I ended up running just shy of 21 miles – it felt too good, and I felt the need for a 20+ mile run this training cycle – at a moderated average pace of 7:01/mile.

Perfect timing, as when I got home from the run we jumped into the party prep mode – Saturday night was birthday party and fundraiser night. We had specialty drinks to prepare, sliders to get ready, and lots of last minute details to finalize. At around 5pm guests started to arrive and the party kicked into high gear. Football games (and Top Gun 3D) were on the big screen. There was lots of chatting, eating, and drinking throughout the rest of the house and on the back patio. It was truly a fun night, and we raised around $400 for charity thanks to so many generous donations. THANK YOU! The best birthday gift a guy could wish to receive!

The cake. 100% tasty ice cream goodness! Black Cherry on top... Graham Cracker on bottom.

The cake. 100% tasty ice cream goodness! Black Cherry on top… Graham Cracker on bottom.

My bride and I pose with the ice cream cake. Tasty!

My bride and I pose with the ice cream cake. Tasty!

A little Top Gun viewing session in 3D

A little Top Gun viewing session in 3D

Yes. They were certainly enjoying the Top Gun action.

Yes. They were certainly enjoying the Top Gun action.

Sunday morning started off slowly… yep, a  little overindulgence… again! On the schedule for the day: 100-mile bike ride. I started off with one of my usual out-and-back 50 mile courses to San Pedro and back. A quick stop back at the house to replenish my hydration bottles, and I was off again. Instead of dealing with traffic and stoplights, again, for the next 50 miles, I opted to find a local loop. The perfect location came to mind: the Northrop Grumman building (the old TRW facility) in Redondo Beach, has a perfect road that runs behind it. 0.5 miles each direction, 4-lanes, very light traffic, smooth asphalt, and wide bike lanes. Perfect for an afternoon of speed training.

The north end of this perfect little loop is 2 miles from our house. 2 miles there, 2 miles back, that leaves 46 miles… on a one-mile loop… yep! 46 laps! So, I dug in and started churning them out. For the most part this was uneventful. There was a stray dog incident (I tried to chase him down to call a phone number that I was hoping to find on his collar, but he bolted… and a guy in a motorhome took over the chase after a while), and the occasional pedestrian or cyclist passing through.

50 miles of beach riding to the south... 50 miles of circuit training a wee bit to the north

50 miles of beach riding to the south… 50 miles of circuit training a wee bit to the north

Uneventful, of course, until the last turn on lap 46. There were three cars coming through the approaching light, so I slowed down before making the sweeping left turn to head the other direction after they passed… and grabbed my front brake a little too aggressively as the final car in the line, a red truck, went by… Yep. CRASH!

A common saying among cyclists is, “It’s not IF you crash, but WHEN you crash.” I was just contemplating a few days ago that my last crash was almost 4 years ago coming into T2 at the Hermosa Beach Triathlon (my first triathlon), when I came in too fast, grabbed the front brake too aggressively, and flipped over the handlebars in a horrific, spectacular fashion (bloodying myself up and painfully separating my shoulder… but I went on to run the 3 miles to finish the race… and it hurt like hell.) I thought to myself, in ominous omen fashion, “Hey, I’m overdue for a crash…”

This crash was equally as spectacular. The entire bike flipped over, and as I saw the asphalt approaching my face all I could think was, “No! Not at mile 97 of my ride, and just three weeks before my Ironman!” Next my left thumb hit the pavement and bent back. The right shifter on my aero bars followed and the carbon fiber snapped. My helmet was next, followed by my right shoulder and back… the bike tumbling down the pavement end over end – at some point my feet popped off the pedals. All very vivid and spectacular.

The rear derailleur carbon fiber shift lever... snapped during the flip

The rear derailleur carbon fiber shift lever… snapped during the flip

The phone is pretty much dead. The screen is smashed up... but the phone itself - with its Kevlar back, nonetheless - is snapped in half

The phone is pretty much dead. The screen is smashed up… but the phone itself – with its Kevlar back, nonetheless – is snapped in half

Not very evident here - helmets these days are very, very good - but my beloved Giro Prolight is toast. The foam inside is completely broken

Not very evident here – helmets these days are very, very good – but my beloved Giro Prolight is toast. The foam inside is completely broken

I went to go stand up, and everything looked strange… I assumed my sunglasses were messed up in the crash (an out-of-production Oakley model that are impossible to find), but fortunately they were fine as I pulled them off my face. It was my eyes – the head knock, though I was lucid the entire time, made my eyes completely asynchronous. Yep, they were each doing whatever they pleased… that perspective of the world (pretty much how most insects see things) was pretty trippy. Fortunately, this only lasted for about 30 seconds as I regained my bearings, and the guy in the red truck turned around and stopped to check on me. He was awesome – he made sure I was safe, lucid, and not suffering from an apparent concussion. He pulled my bike to the side of the road, and offered to drive me back to my house if I needed some help.

After I composed myself for a minute, I checked out the bike. It could still be ridden, so I finished off the lap, then headed for home. Slower than normal. Grand total: 100.35 miles, a crushed helmet, broken shift lever, ripped up kit (one of my favorites!), a crushed cellphone (it literally broke in half), a swollen left that thumb that was bent backward, a stiff neck, and road rash on my right shoulder blade and down my back.

But, hey, it could have been much worse. And I was way overdue for a crash… my helmet literally saved my life. If I hadn’t been wearing it, I would certainly be in a hospital bed right now instead of typing this post from my couch.

Swim training is on hold for a couple of days to let the shoulder and road rash heal… I appear to be in the clear from concussion-related injuries so far… most of the soreness has dissipated (the thumb is the worst now)… and we head for Lake Tahoe two weeks from today! I am so ready for this!

The thumb needs a little ice... how about a cold beer? Yep, that'll do the trick!

The thumb needs a little ice… how about a cold beer? Yep, that’ll do the trick!

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