Sunday, May 8, 2011

PMBAR 2011 Experience: First Ever DNF!

Un-#%@-believable.  Last year Jay and I had a great 1st PMBAR.  We worked through adversity, we made some good strategic decisions, and we finished the event on our single-speeds with four checkpoints in eleven and a half hours.  Neither of us knew the trails that first PMBAR but after the first checkpoint we caught up to another team (Camye's) and she let us follow her as long as we could keep up.  This year Jay and I studied the trails, studied previous checkpoints, studied which trails were better in which direction...heck, I even made a small map (which I left in the campsite, but it did not matter).  We were ready to go at it.  We were given the passport, read some funky rules like no Black Mtn start/return, turn in a wooden nickle and no out-and-back on Pilot, then we were off.
Checkpoint one: Thrift> Black> Maxwell> Clawhammer> Buckhorn> S Mills>Squirrel.  We were rolling fast and passing a lot of geared teams on the climbs.

Taken 4 hours later at Davidson
Checkpoint two: Squirrel>Mullinax>S Mills>Bradley Creek (yes, we should have taken Horse Gap to Cantrell to save a few minutes, but we went the way we knew for sure). Arrived at 11:58. I Had a cookie, a donut, two pieces of bacon and we were off with ~ three other teams.
Checkpoint three: I am feeling pretty good at this point...even better than a couple hours ago.  The plan was for Bradly Creek>1206>Yellow Gap>Trace Ridge.  After that we would back track to 1206, up Laurel Mtn to Pilot for #4 and down Pilot, Down S Mills to Buckhorn Gap and retrace our path to the finish.  Unfortunately ~5 miles up Bradley Creek I was carrying my bike across maybe the 6th river crossing when I took a bad step on a large slippery rock and went down hard.  Don't know what happened really, other than I banged my knee on my bike and it felt like I was hit with a ball-peen hammer.  As I started writhing in pain, I noticed  chunks of white flesh dangling from my knee.  I limp out of the water with my bike and instantly my lower leg is a sheet of red and the pain is immense.  The next river crossing was only 30 ft away so I limped to it to wash off my knee, hoping I could walk this off.  I went into the river gingerly, it was hard to walk.  I could still see the pieces of flesh dangling around in the water.  As I exited the river, the blood again began to flow freely.  And while the cold water certainly helped a bit, I was hurtin' for certain.  As Jay is getting out his first aid kit to patch me up, another team comes up behind me and asks to take a look.  Of all the people who could come up right behind us, I get a guy who works in an ER.  He tells me to sit down and assists in stopping the bleeding.  He just happens to have some prescription strength Liquid Stitches which he proceeds to apply to my leg after a bit of applied pressure slowed the bleeding.  He gave me instructions to sit there for a few minutes to let it dry, then it should be good even through the river crossings.  He said to expect some seepage due to the movement, but I should be good.  He was right.  As his team went forward, Jay and I knew our race was done, but our adventure was not over.  We still had over 5 miles and several river crossings to get back to the last checkpoint near Turkey Pen.  The stitches held up great, and I ended up riding with my right leg dangling and my left leg peddling as hard as it could all the way back (with some limp-a-bike mixed in).  We eventually made it back, and one of the guys at the checkpoint was going to give me a ride back, but he could not fit both of us in his car.  Fortunately, I had met a nice couple at the bottom of Turkey Pen as I waited for Jay who went up to the parking lot to catch the guy.  They were just finishing fishing for the day and offered to throw our bikes in the back of their truck and get us back to the start.  They even offered to push my bike up the hill for me, though I declined, because I did not need them to, and because it served as a crutch while I was walking.  After Jay rode down the hill, I ended up riding up to the parking lot with him (using only me left leg).  When the couple arrived, they gave Jay and me beer while we waited for them to get out of their fishing gear.  They got us back to the start where we told Eric about our DNF, but considering what had happened, I still had plenty to be thankful for.  This was my first ever DNF and I felt really bad for Jay; but he was a fantastic PMBAR partner (and an all around good guy) and he was great through the whole ordeal.  Heck, by the time it was over we still had ~40 miles of Pisgah.
Felt like a bad son & husband for being gone on Mothers Day.
The best part of the trip was the riding, the hanging out with all the other riders before, during and after the event; convincing Eric to give an inebriated Rich Dillen a seat for a prize (like that guy needs more free stuff), and hanging out with fellow like-minded mountain bikers.  Jay, campground crasher Camye and I also really enjoyed spending meals with Jeff, Kelly K. and Kelly's family (Dad, Mom, wife, mom-in-law).  Good peeps, good times.  The worst part of the trip: listening to all the darn 26" jokes (there were plenty, too many really), and naturally many focused on how I would not have gotten injured if only I rode a big-kids bike (lame).  Still, a PMBAR to remember (the scars will ensure that).  Pisgah, you may have gotten the better of me this year just may have to be the tie breaker.

Note:  I had a close-up pic of my knee posted, complete with oozing puss and blood, but the wife insisted that no one wanted to see I switched it with a couple of bad sons and a bad husband.  Though luckily I still made it home in time to have dinner with my wife and mother, so all is good on the homefront, surely earning me positive points toward another mtb weekend hall-pass. 

1 comment:

  1. Dude! That's gross! I can't believe you did that. And to have done that and kept going is pretty incredible. I honestly don't know many people who could have pulled that off after that much riding. I mean seriously... a cookie, donut, AND bacon?? Wow!

    Oh yeah. The knee sure looks like it hurt! My bike is almost done. Ready for a ride!?!? :)