For as long as I’ve been racing I’ve always wanted to make it to the Joe Martin Stage Race. It never was in the cards for me until this year. In years past, it had fallen on Mother’s Day weekend, and last year my wife ran the Memorial Marathon so my girls and I were in full cheer mode. This year was my year to check it out and I was pretty excited about it.
I would be racing the Category 1/2 race, which meant that our racing would begin on Thursday with a short 2.5 mile uphill time trial. With this being my first time at this race or to attempt this TT, I was a little unsure as to how to approach it. Sure, I had been training to do it in under ten minutes, and had a plan as to how I would go about it, but after talking with a few others who had just finished I started to doubt my strategy a little.
My goal was to gradually increase my wattage every two minutes until I was maxed out for the last 1K. My finish time was 10:19, so I didn’t meet my goal and I also felt like I left some on the table. A few things I wish I would have done differently:
1) had my Garmin set to show total time rather than just intervals. This would have let me see how close I was getting to the ten minute mark, and I think I could have met my goal.
2) At 1K I hesitated a little, doubting how hard I could go. Before I knew it, I was at the 200M sign. At 1K I should have just went full gas and totally emptied the tank. It was a good first attempt at this course and lesson to be learned for next time.
Friday and Saturday were both cold and rainy days. Friday was a 110 mile course with temps in the upper 40′s and rain throughout most of the race. I got caught in a wreck around mile 30 that led to a 9 mile chase to get back to the field. Unfortunately after chasing, once we hit Mt. Gaylor, I wasn’t able to hang on. I picked up a few riders as I rode in and wrapped the day up riding with Chad Cagle of Tulsa Tough. Saturday, 91 miles, cold and rainy again, but with added fog. Saturday wasn’t my day. My legs never really felt like they were coming around, and instead of opening up like I would have expected, they felt heavy and full. I rolled in with another chase group, and this time considered throwing in the towel. That was until I saw the results. Over 100 people were registered and only 69 remained. I was one of the 69, and we had Tony Baca still in the race. So, I decided to stick it out for one more race.
Then came Sunday’s criterium. Here is where my weekend went really bad. Honestly, I don’t remember too much. I remember warming up, getting to the line and “GO”. After that, all I remember are flashes of one curb, then another curb, then a street light pole. When I say flashes, that’s really all, not even a whole image just short segments of curb. I remember laying there with a very nice older gentleman holding my hand telling me everything is going to be okay. I remember EMSA standing over me but not being able to see their faces. I remember them asking me the name of my wife so they could find her. I remember seeing the blur from the bikes speed beside me, and I remember my teammate Evan standing near me. I remember seeing the look of concern on Amie’s face. I remember squeezing that gentleman’s hand as tight as I could and trying to find comfort on the pavement. I’m not sure how long I laid there, I’d guess around 30 minutes or so. Then I made my way over to the ambulance and they checked me out a little more. Everything looked okay, at that time, and they let me go – just in time to see Tony Baca cross the line in 3rd place.
I was pretty sore and we loaded up in the car and headed home. We made it to about 10 miles from Broken Arrow and I told Amie I didn’t think I could make it. We just needed to find an ER. We check the Garmin and the closest ER was St. John’s in Broken Arrow, so that’s where we headed. Once checked in, they were able to get to me quickly. Their staff checked out the main area of concern, and determined right then that I would need to be transported by ambulance to the larger St. John’s in Tulsa. While we waited on the ambulance, the doctor put some stitches in my chin and in came the stretcher. In what seemed like just a few minutes later we were pulling into St. John’s Tulsa. Off to another ER for a CT Scan, blood work, IV’s and all kinds of other tests. It didn’t take long once into the CT Scan for the doctor to determine surgery would be necessary. And the rest is history.
What I really wanted to get to in this is a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who helped me out in Turn 4. Thank you so much for being there. If you know the gentleman who was by my side and holding my hand, please, tell him thank you for me or give him my contact info. Kristy, thank you for watching my girls and not letting them see their daddy on the ground. Thank you to my wife who stayed calm and hasn’t threatened to take my bike away yet. Thank you to my girls who take such great care of their daddy. Thank you to my folks who made the late night drive to Tulsa to make sure I was okay. Thank you to my incredible team who has reached out and helped me in so many ways already. Thank you to my cycling family who has texted, tweeted, fb’ed, emailed and checked on me. You are all amazing and I’m so proud to be a part of this community. Also, thank you to St. John’s who took great care of me. Dr. Cook, thanks for being great at what you do, talking bikes and not letting me freak out. To Jason our nurse, thanks again for your positive attitude and always smiling.
First ever Joe Martin Stage Race: stitches, ambulance ride, surgery all wrapped up into one weekend. Let the road to recovery begin!
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