Baja Rally prep (video)

As usual I am LONG overdue for a blog update.  Over the last few months I have been working on getting the bike ready for the Baja Rally.  In addition to that work has been as crazy as ever so not a lot of time left over.

However, for a lot of the work I did on the bike I did manage to shoot some video of it.  Sorry I didn’t get any video of the final result but I did stick in a couple of still pics so you can see it all together.

Flying to San Diego tomorrow, will try to update the blog from there as I catch up with the rest of the team and do the final bit of bike prep.

 

 

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Scene of the crash

Looking at the videos on my phone the other day I remembered that I had shot a little video of the site where my crash at Black River Stages 2012 was.  This was shot one year later, as you can see I ended up better than the tree did!

 

 

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News… and more news!

Hasn’t been much to write about in quite some time.  I never got around to posting an update after Black River Stages but it was fairly uneventful…. which is a good thing.  In 2012 at BRS I had my crash that destroyed my knee and led to about a year of recovery.  I am glad to say that 2013 BRS went smoothly, I was slow and not very competitive but I didn’t crash.  Will call that as good as a win considering it was my first race back.

Since then winter has hit and I have just been working.  Nothing too exciting… until now!

Big news #1… the book is out!

You may recall about a year ago (just over a year ago it appears) I posted some news about the story I wrote being published in a book of rally racing stories.  There have been some delays in getting the book out but it is now available.

The book contains my story as well as stories written by a few other rally racers.  I have not seen the full finished product but I did see a preview of my section and it looks amazing.  I am excited to read the other stories.

 

The book is available online at http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/449879

Big news #2 – Baja Rally 2014!

The second big news is I am finally going to get myself back into doing some proper Rally races again.  When I had my crash I was in the process of lining up logistics to do the Tuareg Rally in Tunisia.  This was a serious blow when I had to drop out due to injury.  Since then due to the injury and then due to my new job I have not had a chance to do any serious racing.  Hopefully 2014 will be a little more active (however I am still very busy at work).

The Baja Rally is a 4 day “Dakar style” rally race in norther Baja.  This is a bike only event so they should be able to route us through some interesting terrain.  Looking at the highlights video from the 2013 race just about gives me the chills with excitement.

Still not sure how I am going to deal with the logistics of doing a race on the opposite corner of the country but I have a few months to figure that out.

 

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Bike repair update

Another video blog entry.  Overview of progress on the bike rebuild.  Thought I would have the bike fully assembled but not quite there.  Should be able to properly test it out over Labor Day weekend.

 

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Video blog entry – crash damage

Rather than try to describe the damage I figured a video was the way to go.  If you want to see what happens to a Yamaha when it hits a solid object at speed here it is.

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Yes, I am still here!

Since it has been about 8 months since my last post I should probably re-assure everybody I am still alive and kicking.  Lots going on in that time…. unfortunately not much of it motorcycle related.

My knee is mostly healed now.  I had a second surgery in July to have some of the hardware removed which had been holding the repair together.  Now that it has had time to heal the screw wasn’t needed and was causing some issues.  I started physical therapy again after that and am nearly complete.  The knee has lost a lot of strength but I have nearly full flexibility back and no pain.

The bigger news over the past several months is I started a new job.  I am now working at a small tech startup company.  The bright side is I really enjoy what I am doing and if we are successful it can turn out very well for me long term.  The down side is I am working many hours and have very little free time.  Between that and the knee issues my fitness has seriously gone downhill and I haven’t been doing much riding.

So, given all that how is the Dakar 2015 plan looking?  Well… not good to be honest.  I figure the injury alone had set me back a year, add in the new job and that sets me back even more.  Dakar is still the goal, it will just be a few more years away.

I do plan on racing the Black River Stages rally in September.  Yes, the same race where I had my crash.  Don’t worry, I won’t be making the same mistake again.

While I am nearly healed up from my crash the bike is still in pretty rough shape.  I will post pics and possibly a video showing the damage this weekend.

 

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My story in print!

For all of you who say I should write a book here it is… OK I only wrote one section of it.  The next instalment of Ted Johnson’s “Tales From the Bivouac” will include my story from the Mexican 1000 last year.  Ted’s first book which he released last year was all about the Dakar Rally where he had the opportunity to travel with the Rally PanAm team and help American rider Ned Suesse get to the finish of the 2012 Dakar.  This second edition is about some of the other rallies around the world.  Each section has been written by amateur racers like myself who are doing it for the adventure.

I am excited to read the other stories not only because I know some of these guys but also because some of these races are ones that I hope to to myself in the future.

This edition should be available within the next few weeks at and can be purchased online at: http://tftb.org/index.php/publications/volume-2-rallies-2012

And, for anybody who has ever wanted to know all about the Dakar from the perspective of a small team I can’t say enough about how great a read Ted’s first book is.  It can also be purchased on the TFTB site at: http://tftb.org/index.php/publications/volume-1-dakar-2012

 

 

 

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When it won’t bend, force it!

It has been 3 months since my incident at Black River Stages, 2 /12 months since the surgery, and 2 months since I started PT.  The doctor is very happy with the repairs to the ligaments themselves but the biggest concern has been getting the flexibility back.  By the time I started PT my knee had not moved in about a month so getting this back was a difficult task.  I had been doing therapy 3 days a week and much of the sessions was spent with the therapists pushing on the knee to stretch it out.  It was painful but each day we managed to get a little more out of it.  As long as I see progress I can stay motivated and deal with the pain.

That was up until about 2 weeks ago.  We hit a limit to my flexibility.  They kept pushing but we could not get it to bend beyond 112 degrees and that was with great pain.  They would push harder and it would just hurt more… no more progress.

The doctor had considered performing an operation on my knee to clean out internal scar tissue a couple weeks before but decided since we were still making progress he would give the therapists some more time.  Now that we were no longer making progress the decision was made (which I agreed with at this point) that it was time for the operation.

So, last Thursday I went in for the operation.  This isn’t nearly as invasive as the original one to repair the ligaments so it was to be done as day surgery where I would be back home a few hours later.  But, it was still going to be under general anesthesia.

When they woke me up from the anesthesia I was given some very good news.  The doctor decided not to operate.  He was able to forcibly manipulate my knee while I was under and break up the scar tissue.  Considering how the pain from PT was unbearable I am very glad I was out for this, I imagine it took a lot of force and probably would have felt like he snapped my knee in half.

bent_knee

While I was knocked out the doctor was able to force the knee to bend.

 

bent_knee_gravity

Flexion of the knee just from gravity after the doctor loosened it up.

They had done a “nerve block” on the leg so it would be completely numb for 24 hours or so and also sent me home with some serious pain meds.  They knew it was likely to be seriously aggravated after that.

Now that it was loosened up the concern was to make sure we didn’t loose it so I need to do PT every single day (including Saturday and Sunday) to keep it loose.  The first session actually went very well because the nerve block still made the let numb.  The therapist was able to get it to 135 degrees.  Still was not at all pleasant but worth it.  The next day was a bit worse since I had the feeling back in the knee but we got to just short of 135.  Each day we seem to get there a little easier and I just have the extreme pain for the last couple of degrees.

Now that I am making progress again I am once again much more motivated.  The pain still sucks, but worth it if I am recovering.  I will be doing daily PT for the rest of this week then assuming the flexibility looks good I can get back to building strength.

 

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Recovery

As usual I am long overdue for posting an update.  Those of you who follow on Facebook have heard some but have not told the full story yet.

Four weeks ago I went in for surgery to repair damage to my knee due to a crash at the Black River Stages rally.  The surgery took much longer than expected, 6 hours when the doctor has expected 4, but he felt like it went well and is optimistic for the recovery.  I felt OK that first night in the hospital but I was still on a lot of serious pain drugs.  Even managed to get a little sleep that night.

Around mid day the next day they started to take me off the IV drugs in preparation to send me home.  Then the physical therapists got me up out of bed for the first time.  It was extremely difficult and painful but I managed a few steps on crutches and a trip to the bathroom.  That was all I could handle and after getting back in bed I had the worst sustained pain I have ever felt in my life.  I called the nurses in a couple of times but they had trouble reaching the doctor to get permission to give me anything.  Finally 30 minutes later I was given a shot of morphine which took what felt like forever to do anything but 20 minutes later the pain subsided.

The relief lasted about a half hour and I was calling the nurses again.  They ended up putting me back n the IV for more continuous pain relief.  I was going to need another night before going home.

The next day went better.  Before I was sent home I needed to be able to walk farther and be able to handle stairs, all on crutches of course.  The therapist got me out of bed again and I made it to the end of the hall where they had some practice straits.  It was slow and painful but I made it.  Later that evening Jane drove me home.

The first week pretty much blurred together.  I laid on the couch and watched TV.  Jane took a couple days off but by Wednesday we figured I could manage to take care of myself while she was at work.  On Thursday Paul visited for lunch and brought steak and cheese subs from Nadeau’s.  Was nice to socialize a bit to break up the monotiy.

I started PT 2 weeks after surgery and have seen slow but steady progress since then.  Big issue is flexibility of the knee.  The goal was to be able to bend it 90 degrees by now.  At my last PT appointment I was at 60, but last week I could only do 45 so I am making progress.  The therapist says I must be there before 2 weeks from now and while it may be painful it will be much worse if he has to help force it.  So if I am not there in one week he will start to help.  That is some motivation!

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Knee surgery today

About to head off to the hospital for surgery on my knee.  Plan is they will keep me overnight for observation. If all goes well should be home tomorrow.

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