by Seana Hogan,
My training began in January for this year’s racing. I had not been in serious racing mode for about 10 years, it felt really good to be back into it. The focus of the year would be the Furnace Creek 508 as this would be the 20th anniversary of my first race there. These plans were short-lived.
I walk my four dogs every morning on our twenty acres; they run loose and play. One morning near the beginning of February, two of them were wrestling/running. I turned to see them coming toward me, but I had no time to move. They bowled into me, there was a pop and a lot of pain as I fell. I was about 1/4 mile from my house and it took me an hour and a half to crawl back. I assumed that I tore my MCL because my leg flopped to the inside. I did not go to the doctor because I figured I just needed to stay off of it to let it heal. I got around on crutches.
After about four weeks, I tried to ride again. I was able to ride on my Computrainer, but not outdoors, I could not successfully pedal over the top with my injured leg. After six weeks, I finally rode outside with some discomfort; it is hilly here and I must stand on the pedals at times. By now, it was near the end of March. My injured leg had no muscle and looked like my 90 year-old grandma’s leg. I decided to make a short-term goal…the Davis Double in May. I had six weeks to get into condition to go two hundred miles on the bike.
I finished the Davis Double in 13:20; not the best time, but not too shabby under the circumstances. I decided that the next goal would be Race Across Oregon at the end of July (baby steps, you know). I had six weeks to prepare and my injured leg was still quite atrophied…but ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.
I managed 400 miles of the 500-mile long RAO. I had to stop, but the conditioning that I built from all of the climbing made me stronger. My injured leg was still substantially smaller that my other leg, but it seemed to be okay. I set my sights on the HooDoo 500. I was determined to finish this race regardless of anything!
Only two women entered HooDoo, I was the only one to finish; I broke the women’s course record and set the women’s 50+ record. I was happy with my time, but I know I can do better (next year perhaps?). After finishing this, I was confident that I could race at the 508 without a DNF (did not finish), although I still lacked strength in my injured leg.
Before the 508, I finally went to the doctor about my injured leg. It was NOT a torn MCL, but I was diagnosed with a tibial plateau depression fracture; this has caused a misalignment in my leg that I am still dealing with. The only permanent solution is a partial knee replacement. Unless the pain is too great, I will not have this procedure done for a while.
I felt pretty good for most of the 508. I rolled throughout most of the race in the top ten. Mentally, I was okay, but felt frustrated that I did not have the speed that I am used to on this course. I consoled myself knowing that I was improving and doing pretty darned well after starting from scratch in March. In the last 100 miles or so, I developed some sort of respiratory condition, I call it asthma for lack of a better word; I was wheezing and could not get enough oxygen. At that point, I just hoped I was far enough ahead and going fast enough to not get too stomped before the end. It was quite disheartening getting passed by rider after rider, but I stayed strong mentally (in the past, I might get very upset, perhaps age has its advantages!).
I ended first place in my division and my time was faster than my time of 20 years ago!
Thanks to my crew: My husband and son, Pat and Austin Enright, and ace crew guy Mark Colton.
Please visit Seana’s website at: http://www.seanahogan.com/
Feature Image at top of this page courtesy Mark Colton.