7 Weeks of Neck Pain and IMBCS #3 Race Report...

It's been 7 full weeks since my endo on the bike which tore plenty of soft tissue in my neck. Day by day, it is slowly getting better and I have to admit I can notice in the past few days all of the muscles used in my neck for supporting the singing voice have started improving. Wow! That took 7 weeks to get to this point. It doesn't hurt to swallow, sneeze, cough, talk or sing as of this past week. Now the only pain that remains revolves around position on the pillow, when waking up in the morning, on the bike and I still don't have full range of motion turning the head right and left to look while driving or riding the bike. It has improved, but still a ways to go with the range of motion. Everything I read stated one should evaluate the neck injury at 8 weeks to see where to go from there for rehab. Next Saturday will be the 8 week mark and I am pretty sure I will have improved a bit more to start on the next level of range of motion exercises for the neck. The shoulder will take a bit longer, but it is showing positive signs of improvement as well. It's not ready to carry heavy items (such as sling a bag of garden dirt over my shoulder and haul it from the car to the backyard) yet. But I can almost rotate onto my right side in bed at night without too much pain. It's still to tender to attempt to sleep on the right side, but by the end of the summer it should be okay. I had to go in and get one of my "new teeth" ground down a bit on Friday as the extra material they added had suffered a small chip. It took the dentist only about 10 minutes to grind it and polish it smooth again and I was good to go.

Thursday and Friday went well at Simpson as I met 1/2 of the incoming Freshmen class and registered about a dozen for classes in the fall. I will meet the other 1/2 on Monday and Tuesday as we finish up the Freshmen Orientation.

My apologies for yet another blog post sans pictures. My camera is on the down and out and I haven't had time to move pictures over from Tara's phone to my computer yet. On top of that, I spilled a bottle of water on my cellphone in the car on the way up to Ida Grove making it "unavailable" at the moment for use.

IMBCS #3 - Moorehead Mayhem, June 9th XC Race

I made the 2 1/2 hour trip up to Ida Grove on Saturday morning for the Moorehead Mayhem XC race. Road construction slowed me down a bit and I didn't arrive an hour before like I usually do, so I had to scurry to get ready, mix my bottled drink concoction and get warmed up. Temperatures were plenty warm (around 90) which was far different from last year's race when it was 58 and had a bit of rain at the start. CAT 2's did 2 laps last year, but we were scheduled for 3 this year which meant I needed a bit more liquid in my water bottle with the heat and lap count.

There was a nice turnout including quite a few racers from Nebraska who had crossed the state line to join in on this course's excellent singletrack. Last year, I was 1st Place in the 45+ CAT 2 age group which is not a big deal at all since very few showed up for the race. ;-) A couple of guys I compete with head to head in the Psycowpath series - Jerry Hoff and Jon Downey - were in attendance. So I was going to have to work for a podium spot. It was good to see the Psycowpath racers come join the fun at an Iowa race as it raises our numbers and increases the competition. CAT 2's took off in one wave and I cranked my way off the line to be up in the top 4 going into the singletrack. I consciously backed off about 10 minutes later on one of the longer doubletrack climbs knowing that this was a 3 lap event and I would be out there close to 90 minutes.

Here's a video of the course courtesy of Karl Crash Kenoyer who has been shooting the Psycowpath races as well this year and posting them up for all to enjoy:

Coming through the finish line area at the end of lap 1, Jerry passed me to start lap 2 and I followed him. Ron Cooney from Iowa - who has lost a lot of weight since last year and is riding strong - was passing us every now and then and then we would catch him and pass him from time to time. The heat was certainly keeping me in check and about the middle of lap 2 I started to up my pace to grind out the final 1/2 of the race. I saw Jerry ahead of me in the distance, but somehow lost him after passing the finish line as Ron Cooney and I started our final lap. I really don't know what happened to Jerry. Maybe he stopped at his car for another drink bottle.....I'm just not sure because I don't recall passing him on the trail (unless the heat really had such an effect on me that I don't remember).

Anyway, Ron's chain got stuck so I went around him again (for good this time) and decided to power out on all of the climbs with whatever my legs and lungs would allow. The top two CAT 1 riders (Mark Savery and Cam Kirkpatrick) caught up to me and flew by in the middle of my 3rd lap. At the base of the final climb, the eventual Women's Expert Winner - Cheryl Dralle - passed me and said hello. This was to be her first Expert win (congrats Cheryl!!!). I latched onto her wheel and got out of the saddle to muster myself up the last climb. From there, the descent back down to the gravel road start/finish area is the section where we all achieved the highest speeds (30-32 mph) and I caught back up to Cheryl simply based on my weight. She had another lap to do and I was finished, so I sprinted past her to the line to wrap up my race and come in 2nd place for the CAT 2 45+ riders. I was only 44 seconds behind 1st Place and I probably left it out there on lap one when I consciously decided to back off due to the heat and distance of adding a 3rd lap. I wasn't sure how my body would respond to the heat and in thinking back, I could have pushed a bit more throughout lap 1. Regardless, I was happy with my time as last year I averaged 32 minutes per lap and this year my average was 28 minutes and change which meant I was faster and able to maintain the speed for an additional lap - in the heat no less. Some of that was due to the track being dry compared to last year's 1st lap that was a bit on the slick side of things.

Kudos to Jesse Bergman and his crew for hosting yet again a great event (this was the 5th version of this race). He said every year the race has grown by about 12 racers, so yesterday was the best attendance yet.

The drive home had me fighting to stay awake (not sure if it is age or the side effects of the neck, but it is what it is), so I stopped for a Diet Coke and to stretch. Then about 30 minutes later, I stopped again at a Rest Area to stretch and get some fresh air. That allowed me to keep on driving home without having to stop for a nap.

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