Sunday, July 25, 2010

the week from hell, complete with demon and all

So the Monday after GCC started out like most Mondays after a race, with a visit to the chiropractor.  Dr. Wahner is an elite cyclist  has been helpful about keeping me aligned through my many crashes, especially since I have not been right since that truck decided to take a detour over my leg last July.  But this morning, when doing his final adjustment, he tweaked a nerve in my upper back.  I felt it was soon as I stepped up from the table but I figured it was a result of me getting back into alignment and it would pass in a few minutes. Ian and Claudia were out in the waiting room and we were laughing about this and that and I ignored it.

 When I got home it was really uncomfortable, and it soon became so painful that I stopped back to Wahner Chriropractic on my way to work and just missed them as they went to lunch.  So I headed for work, but the pain got worse and worse.  It was a sharp stabbing pain in my upper back under my left shoulderblade and radiated through my chest. It was about as subtle as a really bad toothache. I could not turn my head.  It hurt to breathe, and laughing or coughing or sneezing was excruciating.  I went back for another adjustment the next day, but that only made it worse.  I was not able to ride my bike all week because of the pain.  Between that and my saddle issue.

My saddle issue?  After Marysville I developed an abcess on my left perineum.  It was severely swollen and angry, I had never ever in all my years of riding seen anything like that, that huge.  I had already gone to the gyno to have it drained, which yielded virtually nothing, then to Steve Collina MD (a mountain biker himself and a Best of the Main Line kick-ass sports med doctor) to have it shot with cortisone.   Riding a bike was almost unbearable.  It did shrink after the first set of shots, but after GCC it was angry again, so on Monday afternoon he graciously fit me in. He shot it again several times, which feels great by the way, and of course after that there was going to be no riding anyway.  Again, it's still Monday, mind you.

That night we had torrential thunderstorms and my basement flooded.  I was actually in my basement when it happened, I turned around from grabbing some paper towels and water was pouring in from the bilco doors.  By the time I gathered up enough towels they were soaking though every half an hour.  This went on into the night.

Then Tuesday am I somehow lost my favorite David Yurman ring.  It was in my backpack because I was all set to ride into work  Monday but then I was able to get the appt with Steve.  Somehow the ring was in my hand, then it disappeared. That pissed me off.  Rich had given it to me years ago and I had a set of three.

Then I got a notice in the mail that my car insurance company, Erie, was not going to renew my policy in September.  Because of the 2 accidents I had over the winter that were not my fault, but I could not get Erie to return my calls to hear my side of the story.  Great.

So on Tuesday morning there were more thunderstorms, and calling for even more in the afternoon, so I called Chris and asked him if he could bring some stuff home for me so I could work from home so I could monitor the flooding situation. He agreed, but when he got here I could tell he was agitated.  It was hot and, of course, sunny, and I was praying for rain, even though it would mean hours of work in the basement to stem the flood of water, so I could justify my working from home.  I was hating my job these days, overwhelmed with all the paperwork I was doing that should have been the job of my assistant.  Eventually we just had it out on my front steps, until I realized that I was not wearing sunscreen.  With my typical lack of segue, I asked him to come up to the porch so we could finish telling each other off.  It was there that I told him to go fuck himself, which I'm pretty sure is a fireable offense in the employee handbook I am currently working up with a lawyer.  Hopefully she does not read this blog either. 

I was so stressed out that I canceled the little sioree I was going to have Tuesday night in honor of Francois Parisien's visit with coach Colin.  Kelley had picked up wine, but I was basically having a meltdown by Tuesday afternoon and was swamped with work, so I pulled the plug.  We ended up doing it on Wednesday. Which meant again I got like 5 hours of sleep.

Then there was the whole mess with my new bike rack, which I am not even going to get into here, but needless to say I was PISSED that Colin had taken my old rack off my car because I could not take Cadence class Tuesday night.  Nevermind the fact that I was in so much pain there is no way I could have taken class. But don't let reason get in the way of a woman having a really bad week who cannot self-medicate herself with cycling as per usual.
Did I mention by Wednesday my back was spasming so badly that I asked Colin to punch me, hard, in the back?  Which he did, and almost knocked the wind out of me.  He punched me hard enough that Francois let out a incredulous  "whoa!" which sounded funny in his French accent.  Obviously Colin was not deterred by the golden rule that guys should not wallop girls.  It seemed to stop the spasming but the next morning I was not a happy camper.  We did have a nice dinner Wednesday, the four of us, and Francois taught me the art of finding potential dates on Facebook.  And I thought it was just about being "friends."

Thursday morning Gryphon peed all over the floor, I mean all over the rugs, the hardwood, everywhere.  I was angry, and I pushed my poor weak dog out through the dog door in an attempt to get him to finish outside.  I was an act of cruelty that I will never forgive myself for, because little did I know it then that he did it because he had an advanced stage of cancer.  And that it would be the last Thursday of his life. 

Thursday afternoon Nate was flying in and we were planning on riding Belmont together that night and then racing Fair Hill together on Sunday.  I was really excited about it. He was bringing both bikes, road and mountain; I would pick him up at the airport, he would build his bikes downstairs at Liberty while I did some work and then we would cut out of there at 4.  I needed to get in early to pull this off, and Gryphon peeing all over the floor did not help my efforts much, so I was stressed driving in.

On my way I was on 76W right where it splits into 3 lanes funnelling traffic to South Philly, the WW bridge, or the airport.  I was going about 70 and this white van pulls up behind me right on my bumper.  WTF?  This was not even a passing lane, it was the ONLY LANE you could be in if you were heading to the airport, and this asshole was on my bumper at 70mph.  So I did what any self-respecting redhead would do, I slowed down.  I made sure I slowed down so I was going the very same speed as the slow poke in the lane next to me, as he was trying to get around me. I closed the gap.  Sorry asshole.

This pissed him off.  So we rode like that for a about 20 seconds, and then the person in the right lane started turning off.  Dickhead in white van darted into the right lane to pass me, but I veered over in front of him and cut him off.  This REALLY pissed him off.  The next thing I knew he was trying to play bumper cars with me and run me off the road.  Holy shit, this guy was crazy.  I accelerated, fast, because he was racing me to get into the tunnel, and I could tell he was going to do anything he could to do run me off the road, like knock me into the side of it at 90mph.  If I got into a collision with him, he was going to win.  And another accident would pretty much mean I would be eligible for car insurance that costs less than 5 grand a year about when I started collecting social security.

I floored it.  That Infiniti accelerates fast.  Those vans have big engines though.  I don't know how fast I was going when I hit the 2-lane tunnel that dumps you from 76 onto 26th street, but I had to use both lanes, and he was right on my tail.  It had to be close to 100.  Then we were on 26th street and he pulled up beside me and veered into my lane to try and force me off the road.  I saw a truck up ahead and knew I had to put that truck between us.  My heart was beating so fast that it blocked and the pacer kicked in.  I was really freaked out, but really angry myself.  I managed to get in front of a large truck and Dickhead recklessly raced between cars, and I watched 2 other cars almost collide trying to get out of his way,.  He made a right onto the Platt bridge and that is when I decided that I need to get Dickhead's license plate.  So I raced up the Platt bridge right behind him, and managed to get this photo:

(Note how close Dickhead is to the truck in front of him.  We were all going about 70mph at that point.) Then I decided that was not enough, almost being killed by this whacko, no, I needed to get a picure of Dickhead himself.  It was not going to be easy because we were about to dump onto 95 now and he was weaving in and out of traffic like a madman.  I was undeterred, because as I said, I was mad by then.  So at 80 mph I rode up next to him on the left and held out my camera.  He was a caucasian, middle aged Dickhead with graying brown hair and an creepy, evil smile.  When I rode up next to him, he threw back his head in laughter and waved at me.  I smiled and held up my camera.  click.

If you look carefully at this picture, in the top left corner you can see the outline of half of his laughing face, the picture is fuzzy and gray, as if his demonic visage is appearing in a swirl of smoke. 

So that episode upset me just a bit, my pacemaker did not stop pacing for about a half an hour after I got to work, although I was not exactly an innocent victim.  I did post his plate on platewire, after realizing that it was pointless to call the police because at least in PA they don't really do anything about road rage if no one dies.

Nate came, and suddenly things got a lot more bearable.  He cheerily built both bikes while I was upstairs in my office pulling my hair out, still in extreme pain from my back and my peach.  On the upside Chris was being sweet as pie to me, an odd turn of events that always happens in the days following one of our fights.  Nate and I drove home and headed out to Belmont.   So fun to ride with him! We had gotten so much rain that it was an abbreviated course, more like a STXC, but I felt good and rode fast for an hour so I was happy, despite pain in my back, wrists, and peach.  Nate got a little taste of Belmont, and  I could not wait to show him more.
By Friday am my peach was enlarged and pissed off.  Gryphon was in bad shape, and I called the doggy chiropractor to come to the house with Nate there while I rode my bike to work, but 20 seconds out of the door I realized that it was a mistake. By the time I got home Friday night my perineum was unspeakably swollen and painful, I had to ride standing the entire last mile up to my door.  Gryphon was very weak and I should have taken him to the vet right then but I thought it was more of the same we had been dealing with for the past couple of months.  But actually, he was dying.

The rest of the weekend turned out to be different than expected, but this post was only supposed to be about my shitty week, that is the week leading up to Gryphon's death and the end of my racing season.  So if you got through this post and thought to yourself, how could it get worse? well, I'm about to tell you. 

Be careful out there, or I guess I should say, "don't drive like me." 


Neil said...

Funny, my last post was about how bad my week was but comapared to yours, it was just mickey mouse.

Ian said...

Yes agreed... In many ways this past week seemed like the end of days... I did notice last night as I drove home through the suburbs of Collegeville on my way back to the city that the moon appeared especially full.

Great to see you the other night. I was glad that I could put the chronology of all that you were talking about then together just now from reading about it.