Jonathan Senk - 2007 World Championships
I am back...happy to snuggle with my dogs as well as stare at the Huge amount of Hairy Scary Admin work I have neglected...Gonna take the pups for a long walk and swim in the Chatta-hoochee-coochee...but really super down and bummed about the race...
Regardless of how I feel about my personal performance at 2007 WC's, the "Crew Of Stew" at 24 hrs of Adrenaline puts on nothing then a 1st Rate Highly Professional, event. From the course lay out, volunteers, to manned checkpoints, with Gu and Gatorade and Crazed Cow Bells Ringing, to Event Set up and staffing and a hell of a lot more I could mention...in my book there is not a better, more organized and Highly Professional Race Event Organization out there. PERIOD!!! Is it worth the money?-Yes!!! For "Me' though I was once again brought From the High and Hairy Scary to the lowly and humbled (that is probably why I do these things...? I know there is probably not a whole lot I could have done more-maybe.. ...My fellow racers + newly found friends -Team: VELONERDS and Team Tits of Steal ( I met on a ride thru the amazing redwood forests of Santa Cruz) said I came in from my laps to the pit looking like a sugar cookie or a saltine I had so much salt all over me...Out on the course there were guys out there screaming in pain from cramps and just plain laid out from exhaustion from the course and heat ...in the first few laps!! Each lap was 13.8 miles with over 2700 feet of steep climbing every lap...and the climbs were like the steepest in Conyers and long ...and the course had a lot of deep sand and NO tree cover...the solar radiation from the sky and sand was deadly...the first 2 laps were amazingly tough...huh...1st 2 laps...I was thinking "Rut Roe Shaggy whatz up with this?" On the 3rd lap I was feeling pretty good through out the course...both Louise Kobin, Rebecca Rush and Tinker Cheered me on as well as some of the other racers from the 2006 WC's in Conyers I knew..."Go Jonathan!!! made me feel really strong...but in the last 7/10ths of the course my legs started to lock up and cramp...and I was yelling "No!! No!! No!!" pleading to my body not to lock up, fighting back the pain in both my legs, abs, Tri's, hands and back as it was all cramping bad even my jaw muscles were starting to lock up. I couldn't figure it out because I was going through a full camel back every lap and then super hydrating in the pits. I was bombing down the hills as fast as I could go to get back before the inevitable lock up trying to stretch my Hams and quads, leaning way over my handle bars to also stretch out my back and just praying to God "Please just let me make it to the pit over and over again" I was really really scared that everything was just going to seize up out there in the desert and I was just going to be a giant wriggling mess of lactic acid over load, salt and dehydration. I was chanting out loud" Stay Strong, Stay Brave, Nothing hurts, Don't quit" over and over again. The last hill out was incredibly steep...like nothing I ever climbed before Brasstown included here and deep sand and the walking and in the sand pushing my bike up almost consumed me. I made it back into my pit and I was so happy that I made it back out of that solar radiated inferno, but then my body had enough and I was starting to lock up...couldn't get off the bike with out some help and time...totally coated in salt then I tried to drink some Gatorade prepping up for the next lap w a couple of bananas and Gu’s and PB+J...then I cramped and wretched dry heaves really bad and threw everything back up...I tried to drink a little bit of water but my stomach wretched that back up too. My primary support Person Becky Sox also from Tits of Steel is a highly experienced Nurse Practitioner and Life Guard (she was amazingly attentive w/ nothing less than a highly professional
>realistic focus with everything she did to help me-she was so much help words can't even justify what she did for me) and diagnosed severe heat stroke right away....I went to sit in the shade and my muscles just started to quiver + lock up...and here I was the wriggling mess on sweat, salt, vomit and lactic acid, formulating a solution to get back out on my bike for another lap. I told Becky I was going to go take a shower and maybe feel better then get back out there and ride another lap but she knew I was done but didn't say it. I tried to force fluid down my throat with out getting nauseated then got up and walked to the showers. Still thinking I was getting back on the bike. Maaan was I hurting!! I was thinking that was the toughest 40 miles I have ever done...of ANYTHING!! "WTF Over!!?" It's only a 13 mile lap give me a break!! I can handle this I can make it back out there!! After the long shower I made it back to the pit totally dazed, disoriented Nauseated and got my baton to take it in to the lap tent to tell them I was "ONLY" going to take a break. Kevin, a really great, funny Chanuk who was working for 24hrsOA was sitting there told me "I looked pretty good for a barbecued piece of crap" ... "Thanks Kev... you really know how to make me feel like a lady + boost my spirits" I replied. I told the lap person who was managing times and laps that I am "only" taking a break !!" and that if Kevin tries to take my baton you have my permission to jam it up Kevin’s ‘where the sun doesn't shine’"!! Kevin said they were taking a lot of heat casualties off the course...that didn't necessarily make me feel any better because in my greatest delusion I was "Bigger, Badder, Better, Braver, Bolder..." than those racers.. I thought to my self, “ok...Jonathan...just a little bit of shut down + recovery time, just take a break eat drink recoup and recover, let the sun go down then pound out some cool night laps.” I told Becky what I was thinking so she made me a solution of electrolytes, and Gatorade in a quart bottle. And she said before you go out you have to drink 2 of these!! Well every time I tried to drink or swallow I got Nauseous and it all came back up...Becky would come by to check on me, she would look at the bottle and say "Yupper your going out alright… Not!!!" Sooooo...then my strategy was to make it through the night get those 2qts. down and try to eat and get some sleep. It really sucked because the five man teams of Velonerds and Tits of Steel were going out for night laps...so I promised my self that I was going out in the morning and at least get in a somewhat respectable 100 miles in. The night was horrible...nothing but fighting of cramps all over my body, retching, dry heaves, getting up out of the tent to stretch out the cramps and force a leak and no sleep. All I could think about was getting back out there and riding just a few more laps...I started trying to play mental positive motivational games-"just get back on the bike Jonathan get back on the bike and ride...I am always a lot happier when I ride-happier than anything else in the world!!...Better then wriggling around in this miserable little pup tent" Ride?!! Who was I kidding I could barely walk with out getting dizzy and disoriented and cramped up… I couldn't allow myself to understand how bad a shape I was in.. And no still no drinking...Becky would check my bottle every now and then through out the night to see if I got anything down...I almost felt like faking it and pouring it out just to get her to quit checking on me + believe I could ride but knew I had to drink. Morning came and I was still cramping and nauseated. I was so crushed with disappointment and shame because I knew I was done I was so low and hum-hum, humbled and humiliated begin the same...That is the worse feeling to have...to have to DNF...to go out to the World Championships with high expectations for a respectable result then bail sick lame and limp...When you lose, nothing hides or helps the deep disappointment + overwhelming hurt. It feels worse than a death in the family. For me, it is all encompassing and so thick you can breath it.
Coming home all I could do was replay what I could have done better to prepare, going over all the things I could have done. Yeah there are endless equations firing through my skull right now. Did I Hydrate enough? Yes I went through 4 gallons of water in three days prior. Did I train enough? maybe/maybe not. I trained as much as I could- tried to get anywhere between 40-60mile a day cut between road and trail riding. Could I have lost more weight? – kind of hard to do when at 190lbs you are already at 12% body fat. So I am wracking my brain trying to find a formula for my failure so I won’t do it again...
Coming home not only immersed me in what I could have done better but it also gave me time to think about what I am going to do in the future. My father picked me up from the Airport and always the eternal optimist -"right!!" said, "when are you going to give up on this racing thing? When are you going to grow up? You’re not going to be 16 yrs old forever... You’re going to have to accept the fact that your body is getting older and can't handle it... It seems such a waste where all you do is train, eat, sleep, work and train…” That was a very expensive 3 laps on a lot of levels, the very simply equated ones, he was right. But I know if I quit trying, quit fighting, quit struggling for "more" what ever "that" is, I might as well buy a 357 magnum w/ hollow points and bore a couple of holes in my head.
Hearing my father basically try to convince me to quit - quit being who I am - quit doing what I love because I am reaching a certain "maturation" - for “fear” as a more descriptive word - that was all the fuel that I needed to fire up my nuclear furnace to start thinking about training and racing - Gutt'n, Cutt'in, Runn'n and Gunn'n for the next 100 years!!! Anything to prove the Old Man wrong and chase Mr. Diddly Squat Death down the hole he came up from!!! GRAAAGH!
See You Out there!!!