My Short Track Adventure

About a week and a half ago, over at, I saw a blurb about mountain bike short track racing. After reading and watching the videos, I said, “That looks like a blast. Maybe I should give it a shot.” So Monday was my very first mountain bike race, of any kind (unless you count racing traffic to the next light). But first a little background.

I’ve been biking in one form or another for years. My involvement has waxed and waned as did my time. When I had no time, I didn’t ride. When I had time I did. Then I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona. For those who haven’t been there, Flagstaff is a near mecca for mountain biking. Plenty of trails, great weather, close proximity to places like Moab and great riding all over the West. I never rode. Granted, this was during nursing school where a little recreational riding would have done me a lot of good, for both stress relief and to start dropping the weight I had earned flying a desk for 4 years. But I didn’t ride until the last summer I was there. Even then, I didn’t ride much. After moving up here to the NW, I figured I would have time to ride. I did. But more it became transportation. A discount transit pass provided by work was a far cheaper alternative to $3/gallon gas, with a little bit of exercise thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately my off-road riding has been limited to very few dirt tracks I have found locally, nothing more really than shortcuts through fields. Not at all real mountain biking. But I figured I had a built a pretty good base fitness to at least give the race a try.

Yeah, right. Who was I kidding?

I got there on a balmy Monday afternoon with wife and MIL in tow. From the start I was surrounded in a sea of spandex. Nothing says “fashion” like glaringly gaudy neon colored spandex outfits. I nearly went blind before the race even began. Not me though. I was a little more “blue-collar”. Granted, I had spandex bike shorts on. Underneath my baggy shorts. I’m not letting that freak flag fly, nobody needs to see that.

So I paid the entry fee and went out to pre-ride the track. Around the second turn hit a unseen divot, launched off the seat and jammed my crotch, just a little north and east of the jewels. Except for damaged pride, nothing to worry too much about. I thought, “At least I got a crash out of the way early.” But thanks to the wonderful efficiency of public transit I only had about10 minutes to see the track, not a lot of time. So I headed to the starting line. The gun went off I started quite possibly the most painful 20 minutes of my life.

I didn’t hurl. Thought I was going to. I didn’t crash. I didn’t pass anyone. Everyone passed me. I thought about dropping out. But I didn’t. I made it through the 3 laps that my class (beginners…they didn’t have a fat ass class) ran. I was the last off the track. In fact, they nearly had to shoo me off so that the next class of racers could think about getting going. The course was great. I had a blast. But I learned a couple of things.

  1. Get there early to pre-ride. That way you can scope where you can puke and no one will see. Also, it helps to crash early, thereby getting it out of the way.
  2. Train for the race. You go all out for 20 minutes or more. If you’re not used to that, it becomes a very painful experience.
  3. Line up near the front of the group. If you don’t, when you start you end up sucking down everyone’s dust. I spent the next 12 hours post-race hacking and coughing like and asthmatic COPD’er with black lung.
  4. Realize that you will get passed. I got passed by everyone, including the 7 year old it seemed like. I even think some passed me twice.

Most importantly though:

  • Have Fun!

That’s the key. When I could talk again and my heart rate was out of the 200’s and I no longer felt like I had to puke I realized something: I had a blast. And I couldn’t wait to do it again.

My ride. Nearly 10 years old., still goin’ strong.

I ain’t racing if you ain’t bleeding. Nice farmer’s tan, huh?

Did I place? DFL. Leave it at that. We’ll see if I do it again…

It’s hot.

No fooling. My desktop widget shows 91 degrees outside. I moved from Arizona a year ago and I still think this sucks. Yesterday we hit over 100 and it isn’t even August yet. And they say global warming ain’t real…

I’m just glad I’m off. I’ve been biking and using public transit to get to work and not pay $3+ a gallon for gas. Only problem is that I get hot, sweaty, sticky and stinky on the way, so when I get to work I smell just like many of my patients. Shadowfax over at Movin’ Meat had this post about cycling. I feel his pain. Thinking about moving to the Midwest to get away from them. Ok, not really.

Funny though, since I’ve started this bicycle commuting thing in April, I’ve only driven to work twice. Not that I’ve lost any weight though. But my blood pressure is better. At least until I hit the floor…

The begining of the Code

A while ago GruntDoc had a great post about “The End of the Code” wherein he describes his actions as a team leader in the midst of a code. IT shows the true meaning of leadership. Luckily on my floor, the codes are usually quick, the patient well on their way to the Unit before most interventions can occur. One of the charge nurses said basically, “get a rhythm, get an airway and get off my floor.” We neither equipped nor truly capable of handling complex interventions unless completely necessary. No thoracotomies, invasive monitoring lines, transvenous pacing (all of which have been done…) on our floor, the Unit is much more suitable for this kind of heroics. This is not to say that we won’t in the emerging situation, but the reality is that we need them off the floor and down to the Unit quick.

The other night I had my first real code. Not a Rapid Response. A Code. Dude was dead. Wasn’t my patient though. Here’s how it went down:
We were all hanging around the nurse’s station, in that twilight time of 0500, early AM vitals were done, folks were just starting to wake up. The monitor starts the high-pitched binging of a life-threatening alert. Look and see the patient in V-Fib. As we head down the hall, we hear that it’s back in sinus rhythm and the pacer had taken back over. So the nurse heads in, starts checking the patient out. I’m almost back to the station when I hear frantic yelling from the end of the hall and that binging again. “I need the cart!” She hollered. I’m closest to the code cart and run for it. Mind you, our unit is big, it’s nearly and quarter mile round trip from end to end. I’ve never made the trip so fast in my life. Hauling ass down the hallway to the very end (yep, it’s always the room furtherest away) with the code cart. Into the room, the patient is laying in bed, back arched, mouth agape like a recently caught fish, “oh sit” I said to myself. Then my mind went blank. All that time in ACLS, all that time in previous situations. Nothing. It was like those moments in the Matrix where time s l o w e d to a crawl, my mind was trying to remember what to do next. The arrival of the next nurse behind me shocked me back to reality. He jumped in to start CPR, I went looking for the ambu bag to get an airway. But it wasn’t there. I thought, “Isn’t it supposed to hanging from the outside? Wait a sec, I checked the cart myself this evening…was it there?” By that time more people were flowing in the room, breaking open the cart (where the bloody ambu bag was…) and getting things going. At this point I got out of the way. Let the pros take over. They shocked twice, after the second the patient came back yelling and cursing. Which all things considered was a good thing. Not soon after, with a rhythm and a patent airway, they went off the floor to the Unit.

After this though, amny realized that we needed more training. In spite of the nature of the floor, we don’t do many codes. This was the first I had been in since I started back in December. Sure, we’ve had them, but not anywhere near me. So we’re going to get mock codes and a chance to see inside the cart so we(me) don’t freeze trying to figure out where things are. At least I learned one thing: Ambu bags are inside the cart.

Oh yeah, the patient? Was a frequent flyer and this was not the first time they’d coded. Ends up they came back tot eh floor 2 days after the code and went home a week later. Guess it wasn’t their time.