Super-fun time making history in the relay event at the 2007 Black Diamond Powder Keg. There were eight teams, and over 30 racers….pretty good considering yesterday’s tough course. I was part of Team Media Circus, which also included Lou and Lisa Dawson, as well as Peter Kray.
The gun when off and it was a sprint start as usual. In these relay events, it is very important to get out of the gate quick and keep the throttle pegged. Quick transitions are key, since there are so many. The pack quickly spread out and Team Trab 1 seemed to gain a solid lead, with Pete Swenson being the first one down on lap one. He also had the fasted combined lap time of 15:42. It was hard to keep tack of the positions once the laps started adding up. I was running anchor for our team, so I hung out and heckled the racers until it was my turn.
One trick that I saw was a nice way of ripping your skins apart. This racer slipped his tail clips on his binging, allowing him to use his whole body to yard on the skins. This can really help when your skins are very wide…like these Verdicts.
I guess the big excitement came when Brian Harder and I were battling it out for fourth place. Brian got out of the gate first, and Lisa Dawson came in and pass me the baton about 20 second later. I ran up the hill until my heart felt like it was going to explode. I think the gap was about the same by the time we got to the top. I could tell Brian had a good transition, cuz he was gone by the time I got in. The downhill section had softened up a bit, and skiing the gates was a bit smoother than in the pre-runs.
Anyway, I came into the transition hot and cruised as high as I could, pulling off my ski as I came to a stop. My transition went well, a crowd favorite in fact, and I got back on the course before Brian. I was psyched to be in front, but I knew Brian would put on the pressure…but he never started his second lap. When I got to the bottom, I found out he had cut his hand during the transition.
I called Brian on the drive home and he was scheduled for surgery back in Jackson at 6pm last night, to fix a lacerated tendon in his thumb, and he’ll be in a cast for 6 weeks. I’m bummed for Brian, cuz his season is probably over and I was hoping to try to scare him some more on his skis in the mountains. Really, hope the hand heals well Brian, look forward to more skiing next winter. I’ll make a few turns for you on Shasta this spring.
I saw the blood as I was wrestling with my skins, but everyone was yelling “paper cut”, so I kept driving, watching Randosteve smoke through his transition. But the blood got copious and I could not grip my skin. This confused me at first but when I finally looked at the paper-cut I saw that it was deep and that, in fact, I had probably severed the flexor tendon. Since I work for an orthopedic surgeon I knew this meant my race was over and I was headed to the operating room. Great!
After a few phone calls I drove back to Jackson and was in the OR by 7pm. The tendon and pulley were both repaired and I was back home 11 hours after the injury. Good to have friends in the business.
Now it’s 6 weeks in a cast most of the time and 6 months before I will climb hard. Ouch!
Thanks to everyone for helping out and just being concerned. Extra props to Jake Jones…you RULE!
The 2007 Black Diamond Powder Keg Massacre
Team Trab 1, Grant Guise, Monique Merrill, Pete Swenson and Ethan Passant won the event, but it was more about having fun and cheering on your fellow racers today. Thanks to everyone involved with this year’s Black Diamond Powder Keg…this was the most fun I’ve had in Utah in a long time. Click here for race results and split times. Click here for some cool videos on Wildsnow.com…including one of my heart getting ready to explode.