Saturday, November 3, 2007

Steve's Race- Tidewater Mountain Bike Challenge, 2007

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Once again, Steve and the Eastern Virginia Mountain Bike Association put on a great race. Even though we had more rain in the week leading up to the race then we had seen in months, the course was still almost as dry as could be, and was a real joy to ride.

I had signed up for the inaugural "Duo-Enduro" category with my buddy Rob, a six-hour tag team race. I've been playing around with on-bike video cameras, and even purchased a little ATC-2K helmet-cam from the guys at Oregon Scientific. I loaded up on batteries and memory cards, and hoped for the best.

My plan had been that while Rob was riding his laps, I would hang out at the pit and get to shoot some footage of the race scene. But not twenty minutes after the start Rob rolled in to the pit and said, "Dude, you gotta ride for me. I think I broke my finger."

"What? You're kidding!"

"Nope, I'm not," Rob said, and pulled off his left glove to expose a compound pinky fracture. Just to confirm that, indeed, bone was jutting out from flesh, some helpful soul walked by and stated, "That's a compound fracture."

One of the volunteers saw the what blood there and blurted out, "Should I call an ambulance?"

"Naah," Rob said, "I can drive to the hospital."

"But shouldn't we do something?" she insisted.

"Well," I offered, "we should elevate his hand above his heart, and maybe splint it."

"What do we use for a splint?" she asked, triggering a flashback to my dog-eared Boy Scout First Aid merit badge booklet,

"Umm, well, we need something hard for a splint. Something about the size of his hand."

"Like what?"

"Well, aah, a water bottle would work."

"OK!" she shouted as she ran over to the check-in table where dozens of commemorative 20th TMBC Anniversary water bottles were lined up.

Meanwhile I got Rob sitted in a chair and fished in my bag for my gaffer's tape. (It's like duct tape, but with a cloth backing & less adhesive.) When water bottle lady returned I told Rob to hold the water bottle in his maimed hand, then taped his hand to the bottle. Someone else sensibly suggested that we should keep his hand cool, so water bottle lady ran to get a bucket of ice. I filled the bottle with ice, then looked at Rob and asked him, "Which hospital are you heading to?"

"Oh, Norfolk General."

"You'll be able to drive."

"Yeah, it's only my left hand. It's an automatic transmission, so it won't be a problem."

All during this time riders were whizzing through the pit, some hopping off their bikes as their waiting teammates started in on their laps. While Rob and I had initially hoped to be able to place decently in the Duo Enduro category, even though we only had 2 gears and 1 suspension fork between us, I realized our competitive hopes had vanished. There was no way that I could compete against 2-man teams by myself. But since Rob had ridden to the pit, he had met the rules for switching riders, and I could technically continue the race as a team. But Rob wouldn't be riding anymore.

So I walked Rob to his Volvo wagon and got his bike on the roof while he settled his kids in the car. I waved him off, then headed back to the pit for my bike.

I rode for the better part of the next 5 hours, stopping to rest and adjust my cameras, generally just having a good time. So let me know what you think...

The YouTube version offers a bigger picture, but it's resampled and compressed more than the blogger version at the top of this post. But I'm including it if you want to watch it in big screen...