My 2008 tri season has been wonderful. Great races, fun new friends, training weekends, a family relay... and this past weekend was no exception - well, until I crashed.
Gail and I have had many conversations about riding to her parents place in Brevard, NC. Through a few emails the trip came into fruition... Chris Giordanelli, Rick & Gail Kattouf, and I would ride from Greenville to Brevard. Janis Giordanelli would drive our gear up and my parents would come over from Franklin.
So, on Saturday morning we met at the Kattouf's (overachiever G-man actually rode his bike there from Simpsonville). Janis collected our stuff and we set off. About 1 mile into the ride Rick already had to pee... and announced that he would be making frequent pit stops.
The ride was gorgeous. Furman to Caesar's Head. We climbed to the top - and I hoped they didn't have to wait long for me ;) Making our way to Brevard was breathtaking: smooth roads, downhill, tailwind, clear day, cooler than avg temps... Gman and Rick even added a time trial effort for good measure.
Right when we pulled onto main street, we saw Janis waiting at a coffee shop. A block later, we spotted Doug and Sally Long. The decision was made to have lunch at a burrito joint - so, we all made our way to the restaurant.
Lunch was hilarious... Gail fashioned braces out of foil, Gman imitated himself trying to tie a cherry stem with his tongue, I showed off my tongue tricks, and Sally got pictures of it all.
After lunch, the 4 of us got back on our bikes for the 15 mile ride to Gail's parents home. My parents and Janis would meet us there... after my dad made a stop at the Sears and ABC store - which were next to each other, heaven in his eyes.
Man, that last 15 miles were more difficult than the entire 45 that got us to Brevard. The neighborhood itself is a roller coaster of asphalt - Gman's garmin even went into "rest mode" since we were going under 3.5 mph.
Finally, we made it to Gail's parents home (they are in Florida - so we were free to party down). Oh and cut loose we did ;) Gman busted out the grape Gatorade and we toasted to a great ride. After a bit of R&R, we literally suited up and headed to the lake. Beautiful, even though I was toasted - this lake was too amazing to pass up. Dad, Gail, G, and I jumped in for a swim... I think Sally did her own 800. Rick and Janis were great cheerleaders. The ride had seriously spent my legs, so I did the 45 min without any kicking. Gail and I tried to keep up with Doug (who rotated between breast, back, and free).
When we finally climbed out of the water - Gail suggested a very easy hike. Really, does this girl EVER slow down... I think NOT. Normally, the hike would have been no big deal - but with tired bodies, G and I noted every hill and climb. We hiked to the Falls - Awesome sight, and worth the extra pain.
Making it back to the house, we all cleaned up and went into downtown Brevard for dinner. Wonderful outdoor seating at a restaurant called Maple - good food, good conversation, good times... and good marathon updates from anyone going inside to the restroom.
My parents split off after dinner - while the rest of us went on an ice cream hunt. Rick, and the savvy use of his cell phone / gps / navigation thing found us some options. We ended up at Sonic... in some horrible act of fate, we got a male server - on skates. I haven't been that embarrassed since high school. Rick and Chris - you guys are horrible.
We got home right as the Kenyan made his way toward the Bird's nest. Perfect timing. Some Olympic viewing, then it was off to bed. I had no problems falling asleep.
Sunday morning was a relaxed pace. Rick made coffee, we caught up on the olympics, people were stretching all over the place - and we got our stuff together for Janis to sherpa back to Greenville.
Again, Rick had to pee even before we left the driveway. Then, we were off. I knew the neighborhood was hilly, I knew it had rained during the night - and still, I took the first major downhill too fast.
By now, many of you know the story. Thanks to Gman and Jen for getting the word out. I hate that I had to interrupt this epic weekend with an epic crash. I remember it all TOO well: going off the road, trying to stay on my bike, hitting some rocks, avoiding trees, then rolling and rolling and rolling. Smashed my head during one of the rolls - but a great Rudy helmet saved my skull. As I made it back up to the road, hoping Gail and Rick would see me, I felt the 1st signs of pain in my shoulder. It hurt so bad, I couldn't yell for them to stop. They did pass me, and see me... Chris made his way back.
**thanks SO MUCH to Chris for fixing my bike while we waited for the ambulance, to Chris and Gail for collecting my gear (the lenses had even popped out of my sunglasses), and to Rick for flagging down a car and getting EMS on the scene.
It made no sense for Chris to come to the hospital, so we sent him on his way. Rick and Gail came with me to the ER - and called my parents. The next few hours included MRI's, X-rays, IV's, pain meds, a tetanus shot, etc... My parents got there and my Dad took Rick and Gail back to their bikes.
I was released from the Transylvania County Hospital that afternoon. Diagnosed with a broken clavicle and 1st rib. Not too much road rash, but a pretty sore left hip (pulled hip flexor).
I stayed at my parents place in Franklin, NC until Tuesday. My mom gave me a bath and force chocolate milk down my throat. Yesterday, I saw an orthopedist at Piedmont Orthopedic. They took another x-ray - and said I'll need surgery to pull the clavicle bone back down. Can't do much for the rib, except avoid laughing.
Right now, I sit here in major pain - but disappointment is setting in. I'm bummed about missing nationals, and the rest of tri season. However, up until now - I've had a great 2008. I've made so many new friends, friendships have grown stronger, and training/racing was the best I've known.
Thanks to everyone for the voice mails, emails, text messages, blog comments, etc... It reminds me why I do these crazy things. Athletic accomplishments are one thing - but Epic weekends and Epic friendships make this ride of life worthwhile.