Monday, October 17, 2011

A Crashing Good Time!

A few weeks ago Ellie joined a mountain biking team. She had so much fun at her first race: she could hardly wait for the second race. After the cross race on Saturday, we headed to Monument to pick up Laurel so that she could go out and preride the course out at Peaceful Valley Scout camp.
After taking a few laps we headed back to the Rathbun home for a quiet and restful evening. Mike made everyone a lovely dinner of meatloaf , mashed potatoes made from scratch, glazed carrots and a nice salad.

We were off in the early morn to make sure the girls could get settled in at the race location. As you can see above, Ellie got a great start right off of the line. Her roadie skills paid off with the up hill start. The kids had two laps to race. Ellie raced in the Freshmen Girls category.

I positioned my self at the most scenic and interesting spot on the course near the rock section. It does not look like much from this angle, cut was in fact pretty impressive. She came flying through, cutting a quick corner, and then...

Through the viewer of the camera I saw her crash. There was an audible inhale as all of the viewers gasped at the sight of Ellie doing and endo (this is where the bike wheel hits something, in the case a ditch, and the bike flips over, propelling the rider along with it.) Frankly, I was stunned. Then time went into overtime. Ellie's coach, Kathy, jumped onto the trail and scooped Ellie up. A race official steadied Ellie and her bike, checking to make sure she was okay. She was anxious to go. Kath said, "There's no blood and she wants to go...let her race!" The official, satisfied that Ellie and the bike were in good enough shape, jumped back into the race. As she sped off the official asked her to go slowly at first, but I believe Ellie was already too far to hear him.

She speed up to catch up lost time. I stood in the same spot for a while, waiting to see if my girl returned for a second lap. After listening to the coaches talk, I decided to go up farther on the trail to advice her to carve the rocks to the left. It was a long, anxious wait as the
the laps were about 25 minutes long. Ksenia's mother rode by me, telling me that Ellie was flying. That brought me relief to know that she was not only okay, but really back in the game. I had worried that she might have suffered a concussion or some other non-bloody problem. Sure enough, she sped past me and down the problematic rock section. The announcers had to scramble when Ellie finished the races as she came in many minutes ahead of the expected finish time for the freshmen. Later we were delighted to find that she won first place,
about four minutes ahead of the others in her category.

Like fire, rumors spread about her crash. Many people thought it was a girl who looks much like Ellie. The races continued, we cheered on her team mates and Ellie hung out with her other biker friends. Though she was sore, she was happy.

We were sad to learn that one of her varsity team mates, Audie, who was the race leader and expected to win his race, crashed, breaking his collarbone in two places. He had to go to the hospital straight away. He has since had surgery where they placed six screws and a titanium plate, helping him to heal quickly and grow strong again.

Her coach advised her on how to get onto the podium as the first place block is pretty high. At the awards ceremony later that afternoon her name was called and she tripped her way onto the box. We all had a good laugh about that, including her.
The drive home through the plains and gentle valleys of Elbert County was beautiful. As Ellie unwound she began to feel the pain of her crash.

Later that evening Kathy sent out a note praising each rider. For Ellie she wrote,

"Ellie you are the Princess today!!!! You did so great. Going from a nasty face plant to winning by four minutes is phenomenal!!! I knew when you took off it was your day to SHINE! You did it Girl! I am so proud of you recovering so quickly and continuing on. Most girls would have started crying. YOU just get up, spit the dirt out of your mouth and keep going - Can I ride with you? GREAT JOB!! Let's hope they let you finish as a freshman."

We hope that Ellie will be able to race as a freshman for States. It is possible that she will be upgraded to
Junior Varsity based on her racing results.

Since the race Ellie has sprouted many bruises, all black and purple. They are badges of her tough girl status. Her arm hurts, as does her head. She feels a bit better each day. Today she skipped mountain bike practice in hopes that sh will heal more quickly for States on Oct. 30.

At the cross race on Saturday a colorful hot air balloon sailed gracefully past the race.
She had a good race that morning, too.
She won the girl's prim (first girl over the line in a specified lap) which included a pair of Pearl Izumi socks, a character to color, and a few other things. A person from Coldstone Creamery gave the older riders gift cards for ice cream. That made the kids very happy.

Ellie also won the JR Women's 15-16 race. Prizes included a "Fast Girls Unite" shirt and an excellent pair of racing gloves, both from Pearl Izumi. I was especially thankful for those as a prize. We are pretty sure that she lost her usual long fingered gloves and we were goin to have to replace them. Thanks to Pearl Izumi for providing such wonderful prizes!

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