Yeah so Beverly didn’t turn out so hot. One full lap into the race, the rider in front of me wrecked in turn one (the notorious hairpin). We had the same line, and I couldn’t get out of it, so as he hit the deck, my front wheel hit his curled-up body and I am sent flying off my bike, over him, and onto his bike. I landed head-first on my mouth, and I felt it instantly. I could feel swelling and torn skin on my lips and my teeth were numb. Definitely an “oh shit” moment. I popped up and frantically asked spectators if I was missing any teeth. Fortunately they were intact.
It was a crazy moment – my knee is bleeding from road rash, my fingertips are bleeding from chainring punctures, my mouth is a mess, and people are yelling FREE LAP FREE LAP. I get my chain back on and kind of go back out there. I guess I could have waited for the pack? I have no idea. I’m not even thinking. I just start riding.
And two corners down the road, Ryan Kelly is yelling CHRIS PLUMMER WHY AREN’T YOU MOVING UP from the side of the road, wholly unaware of what has just happened. Or possibly aware and simply being motivational.
I complete two laps, the field nowhere in sight of course, and I’m not getting that post-crash adrenaline rush. My inner monologue is like “Is this a Jens situation?” “It’s definitely Jens to be out here right now.” “Hmm, I gotta be honest, I’m not really tapping into that.” “I think we need to go to the ambulance.”
They (ambulance) were nice folks. I spray out my knee with a garden hose. That was fucking gross. It looked like torn meat. They bandage me up. The guy asks if I feel dizzy or lightheaded. I lie and tell him no. I know he will want to transport me if I say yes, and all I want to do is walk it off and watch some more of the race. I get an ice pack for my face and off I go. Nick and his wife lead me around for a while, which I needed. All I could think to request was a grape soda and a cookie, which got me home.
The next 5 or so days were awful. The skin on the outside of my lips healed fairly fast, but inside, different story. Half a dozen ulcers where my teeth had cut the skin, a flap that was too big to tear off, and eating and drinking was a very deliberate and painful operation. Eat the wrong thing (spicy, acidic) and it was excruciating. The base of my teeth hurt, my jaw hurt, my face hurt, and it woke me up and kept me up. Tylenol and Advil were marginally effective. I was starting to regret not going to a hospital, as I surely would have been given a prescription for something that would have helped.
The knee actually went fairly well – Tegaderm is expensive but really does the job and minimized the pain. Still painful and swollen from the impact but has improved over the past few days. I actually rode on it for an hour and a half on Tuesday night and it’s fine. It needs another half a week or so before I can uncover it.
So that Tuesday night – a rare night alone, temps pushing 100 after work, and it just didn’t matter – I had to get out and ride. I took my time, loaded up on Skratch, and within a half an hour I pulled over to check a map, maybe explore something I haven’t ridden before. I look up and I see a group ride bearing left on a road I would normally be taking to circle back home. Opportunity, hello.
So much for exploration. I take the left a minute later and drill it; the paceline dangling in the distance. Just the spark I needed for tonight. I overtake a couple of guys blown out the back, and then catch the rest at a stop sign not long after. They ask me to tag along, and I hang in with them for eleven miles or so until my turn toward home. It took a long time to get comfortable. This is only my second group ride of the entire year, and my strength is just not there right now. Not like it was in March and April when I was riding my singlespeed every week. It’s depressing. I know it was there before, and I keep digging for it, and it’s not there. It was enough for the group ride, they seemed impressed (with the bike anyway) and I felt like pulling the whole thing for the second half of it, but I can fool anyone for half an hour except for myself.
Mid-July leaves six weeks to get my shit together for the fall. Time to bust out the Langster, get Stompy built back up, and put a charge in these legs. Stella is going on seven months old. She is more predictable now, so it’s in my hands to identify pockets of time and then maximize them. I’m perpetually exhausted, but if I sit around and wait for that to change, I won’t race again until 2030.