|Left eye looks better now. Photo taken by Joe Todd.|
Things were going according to plan through the end of April, with three each of 200, 300, and 400 brevets behind me. I deliberately picked a couple of tough mountainous brevets to help prepare for the Taste of Carolina 1200 in August. However, a little nuisance called an Achilles tendon inflammation made itself known for the last 100K of the NCBC 400. Just a little rest is needed, thinks me. Two weeks later I participate in a 100K charity ride, and finish with more pain and swelling. So much for the 600K brevets scheduled for the next 5 weeks (May and early June), and it's time to seek some professional medical advice and physical therapy. Overuse injury is pronounced, followed by a couple of weeks of therapy to be continued at home. The therapist said it was good that I did not delay seeking help, as chronic injury could have resulted from pushing through the pain.
The choices for 600K brevets were quickly slipping away. The record setting high temps in late June scared me off from one possible 600 starting in Salisbury NC. A month later I attempted a very hilly 600 that also started in Salisbury. The 13 mile climb to Jonas Ridge totally depleted my time bank as I was forced to stop several times, and at one point had to ask for water at a house. I made it as far as Blowing Rock (200K) before deciding to pull the plug.
There was one month left before the Taste of Carolina, so I focused on riding some permanents (one of which was R-12 insurance for August), being careful to keep up with the therapy exercises, and general preparations. The T of C arrived and I felt reasonably confident. Unfortunately, at the 300K point a pothole leapt up to bring an end to my ride (see previous post). I still had no SR for the year (qualified for T of C using SR from 2011), and by this time I figured I would have to end 2012 without even a single SR. I communicated the same to a couple of rando friends. One of them committed to "rescuing" the R-12 series and we bagged a September permanent with one day to spare. Only one chance left (in NC) to snag a 600 - Lumberton a week later (Oct 6). I made a final decision to go for it on Wednesday. There were a few other randos signed up that I had ridden with before, so I felt I would have some company most of the time.
Other than dealing with some leftover shoulder pain from the T of C accident, the Lumberton/Sunset Beach/Lumberton 600 went well. Weather was better than forecasted (the 1000K riders had to endure all of the bad weather). I was blessed with great riding companions for the whole distance. Our particular group only had to deal with one dog, who apparently had a short term memory loss, as it needed a second dose of Halt! within minutes of rubbing its face in the grass after being sprayed once.
During the low points of this year (riding to the hospital in an ambulance and later trying to deal with pain from bruised ribs), I was ready to give up on night riding since that is when I have had mishaps. However, another commonality is that I was wearing a NC Rando jersey while riding in Virginia. I appreciate the rando buddies who have been encouraging and helpful.