je ne sais quoi

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Impromptu Off-Season

On monday night I was pretty tired. One of those nights where you're sitting in bed about to sleep, but just as you're about to slip into dreamland, you remember you had something to do. Merde. The sleep sensation can never be the same if I got up. I had to shower still. I decided not to. Procrastinated it away 'till after the next morning's recovery ride.

It's now wednesday night. I still haven't showered.  I can't yet.  My hair is at this terminal level of oiliness so I don't really mind it anymore. I have a couple stitches, a massive bruise on my left shoulder, several contusions, a never-ending headache, and..........that bike. What the hell happened? To be honest, I still don't know exactly, but am slowly putting the pieces together...

Tuesday and Thursday is the Barry ride. 8:30 start in and around la crescenta, and it starts right in Griffith Park. It gets me up in the morning, and is usually a gateway to other rides like the Pomona loop I do or an interval session up Big T or as happened this tuesday, a mellow social ride up the crest to talk about sunday's race. The four of us didn't turn right on Chevy Chase to continue with the Barry group.  Instead we went straight to head up the crest. Like we've done millions of tuesdays before. We reached the intersection of Foothill and Verdugo, where we turned right, again, just as we'd done countless times prior. My memory stops there.

I vaguely remember regaining consciousness because of the sudden pull of the stretcher as I was put up into the ambulance. "Yo, Keith? We didn't even run a red light, man. How'd this happen??" I allegedly repeated 3 or 4 variants of that statement...maybe with a couple expletives (which generally isn't my style at all). Then the memory got hazy again. What was a 15 minute ride in the ambulance only registered as 30 seconds. I remember asking the medics lots of questions. "Is this a good sign?" "How long had I been out?" "Have you seen anyone with my ailments before?" This is what I think I asked, anyway. It was probably indecipherable, because I mumble even when i'm healthy and sober.

We got to the hospital. Lots of waiting. It's really funny trying to recreate it now. I thought I was all there, but it's all pretty hazy to me still. I had lots of x-rays. An IV was put in at some point. "When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?" "huh?" Boom...tetanus shot is in. Pains, but not really. It was just my head that ached then. The hospital seemed busy. Everything had a long wait, and there were babies and adults crying and moaning. I reached in and saw that I had my iphone still! Woo. Snapped up some phots...

My upper body was pretty well (and i think unnecessarily) restrained the whole time prior to X-Rays. So leaned over and snapped a couple. That head brace came off immediately after the X-Rays. That second current pride and joy. You could stick a dime in there, piggy-bank style, and not see it again. They gave me these "custom" super-wide stiches over there because of the risk of infection if they closed it. I really don't know what pierced me there...a sprocket? Pedal? Hmm.

So with that, the formalities of the hospital scene played out. A Sherrif from the scene came to get my statement. "Yeah man, the guy that hit you? He was born in 1920. He has insurance. AAA." "89 years old?!" "88". Geezus! I chatted him a bit.  I told him that I had no idea what happened.  The last thing I remembered was turning right onto Foothill Blvd.  He gave me a card which I lost (where am I supposed to put it, really?) My mom came in, tear explosion. Told her I was fine, and I was. I don't know if they gave me pain killers or if it was adrenaline, but I had no issues then. Just wanted to get out. After 6 hours in that place, I signed a bunch of stuff and got out.

The pieces so far: an 88 year old guy in a brand new Lexus SUV just barely buzzed the 3 guys who were riding 10-15 meters behind me. At this point it just seemed like a guy trying to intimidate cyclists and flex some idiot muscle, you know the type, dime a dozen in LA. Also at this point, I was slowing down to stop at a red left turn light to begin climbing the crest. The guy didn't screetch the tires, didn't swerve, didn't even brake. Just smashed his front-right quarter into me, I flew to the right, landed on (and shattered) my helmet, and the guy, still oblivious, ran over the bike (square over my srm, too), and finally stopped. He was understandably flustered by everything and couldn't be questioned properly as I understand it. Gah. I think that's about all i've got for now. In a mountain of legal and medical headache now, and got some doctors to see tomorrow.

No broken bones!

I can walk!

I live!

Wear your helmets please!

(sunday's race report when my wrist heals a bit more)

Friday, February 06, 2009


Class guy, David. He's been in my head for days. Perhaps it's the rain. I'll hear a chord or two from other songs and think, "hey, there's a bowie song that has that..." Every song has that. But Bowie's been flowing out my brain. No complaints here. Put your raygun to this blog entry yeah. First off, head over to . Brent is just a kid from the Big Mitt who's down racing the Tour of Qatar. Better blog entries i've never come across.

I've been a bum this week. I tried to do a threshold test on wednesday. Lasted 8 minutes (of 20), turned home, and felt like shite the rest of the day, and today. i'm just taking it easy for a bit. The rain definitely helps with the laziness. I'm not racing Boulevard, nor the crit the next day. Going CBR. Slump breaker I hope. And finally, your hasty SUPER late race report:

Poor College Kids RR

Vintage! But I look exactly the same in both, somehow. Even in the same position relative to the race (first -or almost first- in the second group). Tip of the hat to the photographer (Goodman Graphic) of the second one for bringing out the "former soviet bloc crusher" look in me. The race! It was a positive one, even though the legs and the composition of the field made it seem like it wouldn't be so. To start, PLENTY of Team Type 1 guys, and a smattering of ProTour guys (allright, just 3), and most all the local scenesters. Nice field. $25 entry, $250 purse. Beautiful course (reminded me of the theme to Huel Howser's Show)...and the kicker? 80 degrees, no wind. Perfect.

We lined up. Right on time, 11am start. A small group got off, and got a gap. We were going 6mph, so no big deal. I vaguely remembered the course from the time I did it years ago (the above photo...I think I was a cat 4?). One hill, out and back course, so that same hill, twice. Things got shuffled on the first ascent (which is more mellow than the return trip), and a group containing a ton of Team Type 1 guys was gone. Plenty of favorites still in the peleton, though, and I felt fine. So on the return, I was right up front. I knew something would go. Sergio Hernandez hit it hard, with C-Walk in tow. The race was happening right in front of me, but I didn't change my rythm. Should have...but I was already red lined, and didn't want to risk complete collapse. Dumb strategy, ah well.

So of course, the race was done. 17 or so up the road. 10 of them from the same team. Slightly hurt peleton behind. Last climb of the day, I went up to my old teammate John McKeen. "It'll go at the climb, a little group will get away. My legs are shite, but if you got it, get to the front and go to town." He uttered a "yeah right" after I'd said I don't have the legs. And......yeah. I made the little front group along with John. I HATE those guys. The guys that lay out the verbal "safety nets" before and during races. Really, i'm not one of them usually, so John, i'm sorry for being a tool. So...about 8 of us crested the top. I knew I could outsprint everyone in this group, though Rudy (formerly of Rock) might have been even money against me. Minor placings, but hey, it's a sprint. After a couple kilometers of what was probably the worst paceline ever, the 1k to go sounded. I was last wheel in the break, focusing on Rudy....and the yellow line that meant instant DQ. Two guys jumped with something like 800 meters to go. Blah. I reacted slowly, and brought them back. Rudy was to my left...At 200 I started the sprint, basically on the yellow line, so he had to pass around and to the right to get it. I took that side of the sprint, but totally lost sight of another guy with legs to my right, and he took it. Ironically, Rudy was DQ'd for yellow line violation...gah. 18th on the day. That's the dull late race report.

And on a final note, i'd like to say that though 18th ain't that swell, i'm secretly very happy to have finished in front of every rider on that "team from the west side with the french-sounding name". I wasn't mal-treated in any way, and am friends with most of the riders on the team, know how it is. I plan on doing this in every race. Just a touch of motivation...