Ok, so this update is a week later than it should have been, but perhaps unsurprisingly typing it out one-handed hasn't been that appealing (so excuse the typos!). More on that later.
What was on our racing menu was race 2 of the incredibly popular GNCC series of XC moto racing. We'd missed round one due to other commitments but weren't about to let this opportunity slip by. Nic was chomping at the bit to get more ride time on her new KTM, and I was just keen for racing. My bike speed was good and I was looking forward to testing it in a race environment.
First up was Nic, taking her place rather nervously in the rookie womens field. The GNCC organisers have done an amazing job of encouraging women into what is an intimidating domain of men who think they know everything. 25 women on bikes of all sizes fronted the starter. More than many MTB events.
One of the harder obstacles seemed to be the tyre chute that was perhaps a tad challenging. The 1st lap saw many caught out and toppling over struggling with the slow speed balance required. Motorcycles are not that close to the ground. Thankfully, the chute was modified on the fly by proactuve organisers.
After a tentative start, Nic started to really get to grips with the 2-stroke and started carving up. Lap times got quicker, and the powerslides got bigger. Eventually working her way throught the field to a final place of 10th after 1hr30 or racing. Solid, and very encouraging.
My turn, and I was quietly focussed and confident of a good result as I faced 2hrs on a demanding loop featuring a mix of tight singletrack, and wide open farmland. I fluffed the star and bogged the bike down, entering the first corner last of my start wave, which got me angry. I buckled down and focussed on riding smooth, fast, and patiently. All was going well, and 2/3 of the way through the lap I had already passed 15+ riders from earlier star waves, but things were about to go pear shaped very quickly....
On an open (fast) and rough section I pulled out to pass a guy, but thought better of it as our bikes danced sideways. I tucked in about 10m back and looked for an opportunity. Passing through an open gate we both overshot a turn marker, and glanced left up the hill we were suppossed to climb. At that split second, rather than slowingthe leading rider jammed his brakes on, as I glanced back it took another split second to process the scenario in front of me. I hit the brakes, but at 50km/hr+ it doesn't long to traverse 10m. we collided with a rather sickening impact.
Initial thoughts were of the damage to him as he lay in a ball. I got him up, he was ok, but understandably shaken. We untangled bikes and got him on his way. It was then I looked at my left arm which felt kinda strange. With good reason, my hand wasn't pointing where it should be and there was a big bend in it. Many thoughts went through my head, most of them unprintable.
The response of race organisers was fairly swift, and with the help of some laughing gas I was soon back in an ambulance. Soon after than I was on a rescue chopper for a very scenic to Tauranga ( the chopper was for a girl with a suspected spinal injury... she was ok in the end). A snapped radius, and dislocated ulnar were diagnosed. 48hrs later (and lots of starving too) I had surgery in Rotorua to plate it together.
So my arm will be heavier from now on... I am hoping it will benefit my swimming. Perhaps give the left arm a bit more momentum and correct the directional challenged technique I exhibit in the open water?! Either way I am facing a long break from the bikes (pedal or engine powered) so plenty of time to think about it. I am gutted. But at the same time thankful it wasn't worse. These are the risks we take and sometimes things will happen and we have to except that. Such is life.
In a random addition to this update, I had to post the picks below. Whilst I was laid up in a hospital bed an insane hailstorm hit our suburb. Absolutely nuts. It shreded leaves of trees and bushes so on the bright side much of our hedge trimming has been done for us