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Old September 18th, 2019, 04:37 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Mountain View, CA
Posts: 504
Default 78 seconds in Two Harbors, Minnesota

The air was a little brisk on the 14th of September 2019 in Two Harbors. Despite this, my prep time passed more smoothly than usual. I got in more warmup time than usual. I wasn’t happy super happy with my left frame alignment but it wasn’t terrible and little good was going to come from trying to fix it right before the race. I spoke with a newcomer about an important safety point: Wave A1 is crazy but the mayhem mostly happens toward the back. If you can get to the front quickly you are more likely to escape with your skin intact. I dropped off my bag, kept the arm warmers and positioned myself in the second row. Gu swallowed and washed down. I waited for launch.

0 seconds: I scampered across the start line and accelerated quickly. My path was clear.

21 seconds: My rear right skate clacks with another skaters’. Crap! I was hoping to avoid that kind of thing. But I can cope. Odd that no one passed me at that point.

~51 seconds: Shoulder check. WTF? This is not post-race commentary. I actually said this loud enough to be heard. Only I didn’t abbreviate. There was no one on my left or right. I dug deep and accelerated to try to shake the dangerous ******* I was sure I had on my tail.

60 seconds: I was starting to run out of steam. I saw a line of 10 or 12 to the right and slightly forward. I eased over to the right crossing some slightly suspicious pavement, emerging smoothly on the other side.

76 seconds: I paused momentarily to assess where and when I would merge in. I was still nearly a lane width away. My speed dropped from 27mph to 26.

78 seconds: <SMACK> The wheels of a trailing skater crashed into the back of mine. Both skates shot out from under me. There was no torque and no emergency manoeuvrers, I might have been airborne for a moment. My back crashed hard against the pavement.

90 seconds + unknown: A skater who had crashed on the right side asked if i was OK. I was not OK. I was 90% sure my race was done. A quick glance at my deformed left wrist removed all remaining doubt.

Some time later, a large group of skaters passed by. A2 leaders?

A little later, a volunteer came out and helped me into the support van. I was having trouble breathing. The I remembered that I was still wearing the Camelbak. I keep my pack secured low and tight for stability. If my lower body had swelled after the impact, there might not be enough room for free breathing. I removed the pack. It worked. I could breathe again. At 7:57 I stopped the Garmin.

As the volunteer helped me out of gear, she explained that all of it needed to go into the bag she was filling. Anything that didn’t go into the bag was likely to be misplaced.

I was transferred to an ambulance and shuttled to the hospital. Next day I learned the medium term implications of the damage. In addition to the broken wrist, I would need to wear a back brace for eight weeks. My 10th Northshore was gone but that’s not all. A2A and Saguaro are also impossible. I can stop fussing over my current lack of costume for the Halloween Friday Night Skate. If I’m lucky, maybe I can be whole enough for the once a half marathon now only eight miles Silver Strand.

After every race that i plan to repeat, I like to reflect on what I can do better. But what can I do when someone is drafting me in an unsafe manner? This isn’t rhetorical. If anyone knows I want to hear it. Yelling out WTF didn’t work. HANDS IN FRONT is more clear but in my experience the most egregious practitioners of dangerous pace line behaviour are dismissive of anyone trying to correct them.

Last edited by ese002; September 20th, 2019 at 08:16 PM. Reason: typo
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Old September 19th, 2019, 05:50 AM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 43

Wow, that sucks. I'd wondered why I didn't see you at the finish. Wish you as smooth a recovery as possible. Wrists seem like a hazard of the sport, but back or head injuries are more worrisome.
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Old September 19th, 2019, 06:03 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 431

It has been many years since I was moved up to the pro divisions, but I still remember how scary the advanced packs were. I hope you heal fast and completely.
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Old September 20th, 2019, 06:16 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Illinois
Posts: 154

Wow, I don't know what to say! Although inline road racing is a relatively safe sport compared to some others, it still has enough inherent risks to get the adrenaline flowing which in turn ups the euphoria factor and that is what makes the sport so attractive. Unfortunately those inherent risks sometimes mean inherent downtime from injuries.

Keep thinking about that day when you finally show up again on a starting line ready to go again. It will greatly help you get through this PITA chapter in your life.

I have some idea what you're going through. I'm finally getting back to skating after a long layoff due to various health problems. Yesterday I skated 3.6 miles. That doesn't sound like much but it's twice as far as I was able to skate last week. That encourages me. As long as I keep bringing my skates with me when I go to the clinic for my daily radiation treatments so I can stop by the park afterwards to get a skate in, who knows how far I can go. Maybe I'll even get back to Northshore next year!

All the best for a speedy and total recovery!
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Old September 22nd, 2019, 04:41 AM   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,406

Hi ese... so sorry to hear of your tumble. Hope very much that you have a speedy and full recovery.

As to things you might do next time? Smack the person in the face! I know it sounds implausible... but my wife has done it to me! NO KIDDING, SHE HAS. This is something she learned in her youth during longtrack training at the Pettit Center (when it was an outdoor facility). As soon as someone clips your skate you do an exagerated arm swing and make your arm/hand swing WELL BEHIND you rather than beside you. There is a very good chance you will swat their face.

Another thing you might do is drop the person. If you've got the room, slowly drift to the right a bit and slow down just a tad. Then explode to the left with a couple of powerful crossovers, jump forward a couple skaters and work back into the line.

Otherwise, it looks like your other choice would be to pop out of line and drop back a few skaters in order to work to identify you trouble-person so that you can stay away.

Anyone else have ideas for ese002?? What have others done in his situation?

Again... best wishes for your recovery.
Quando omni flunkus, moritati
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