Saturday, May 17, 2008

Adventures at the St. George Triathlon

This post is kinda long, but it's worth it if you can stand to read it all. Well, it's worth it if you like semi-gory videos of stitches...

Last weekend I went with a bunch of folks to St. George to cheer on my friends that were participating in the St. George Triathlon (not to be confused with the St. George Triathalon, which doesn't exist). As a precursor to this blog, you may want to check out what happened last year. Basically, the thing was canceled a year ago due to bad weather. We should have taken it as an omen, but it seems the hubris of the determined tri-athlete is not easily brushed aside. (And I don't want to give anything away to those that don't already know the story, but if you're a little squeamish at the sight of blood, you may want to proceed with caution. There are a few photos and videos at the end that are... well, bloody.)

I guess I should start at the beginning. We left Friday afternoon for St. George. When we finally got there, it was off to The Pasta Factory to carbo-load. Ok, more like 7 or so were there to carbo-load. The rest of us just got some good food. Being in the pit crew is not as strenuous as running a triathlon. But we had a good time and we were excited for the morning.

Later that night, a few people went swimming or hot-tubbing at the hotel. I, regretfully (ha! right...) forgot my swim suit, so I watched the Jazz game. I'm pretty sure the Jazz lost. I don't remember, but they're not doing so well, and the fact that I can't remember it (or that I've blocked it out) makes me really think they lost. Buncha losers... Anyway.

sleeping that night was... interesting. The girls had like 3 rooms between them. Two of the girls' rooms were in the same hotel right next to each other, so they kept the divider doors open and had a slumber party.

In the guys' room, there were two queen beds and 4 guys... so we sucked it up and slept two to a bed. The other unfortunate thing in this situation is that I snore. To help the rest of the guys sleep, I stayed up as late as I could and told them to throw stuff at me if I was snoring too loud. My feelings wouldn't be hurt at all. Well, I only got a pillow thrown at me once, so it must have worked out ok.

We woke up at the crack of dawn and headed off to the race. As I mentioned there were about 7 racers, but there were like 20 in the pit crew. We had fun waiting around for the race to begin, finding places on the beach to sit and watch swimmers, watching the helicopter, and soaking up some sun. But it was crazy windy. At one point I thought I was going to witness a helicopter crash into a lake. It kept getting really low to the water (to get good shots of the swimmers waiting on the beach I assume) and hovered there, visibly shaken by the turbulent wind. But thankfully, it didn't crash. I would have gotten some awesome pictures if it had.

Anyway, here's a bunch o' pictures of the race before it actually started, with the faithful pit crew and racers.

I guess it's fitting to end with pictures of swimmers getting in the lake, because they canceled the swim while the triathletes were in the water. They had let a few groups go before, but water just got too choppy and scary to swim in. The wind was relentless. So we move on to the biking portion... Here are a few pictures of our biker friends before the tragedy struck.

Rachel is in the red helmet, Matt is mounting his bike in the blue and white jersey and sunglasses:

This one is Rachel by herself. She doesn't know she's being photographed.

Here's Matt taking off. ...poor, poor Matt.

Ok, I'm going to have to get a few more pictures from the rest of the group, but this is all I got. Why you ask? Well, thus begins the story of Tragedy at St. George. Remember the wind that I thought could fell a helicopter? Well, turns out, Matt was a little more susceptible than the helicopter. Matt, more than a little upset that the swim was canceled, went strait to the bike and hoped to make the best of it. He was going along great, down in the arrow position to go faster, when a huge gust of wind blew him over. Because he was in the arrow position, he couldn't get his balance fast enough so the wind pushed him over into some gravel, then knocked him right over and he hit the ground hard. He couldn't get his feet out of the clips fast enough, and just ate it into the gravel. His hands were torn to sheds and he ripped off his finger prints. But the worst was his knee.

Warning: This is where it gets gory, so beware--but it is gradual, so maybe you'll be desensitized by the time you see video of Matt's sick, gouged knee being stitched. I'm just gonna start adding pictures. There will be a few with captions, but you get the idea...

These ones are at the tri before we left. The ladies there that helped him get some bandages on didn't really know what they were doing and barely had a first aid kit.

Oh, I should probably mention Matt is a die-hard Utes fan. We got like 30 pictures of him with that BYU blanket on, and everyone that came over to check on him always pointed out the blanket. Way to add insult to injury, right?

Next, we got to the hospital. It was a little worse than we originally thought. Mat actually thought he would try to finish the race after he fell, but thank goodness he didn't. He may have done some serious damage to his knee. Anyway, Tyler and I took Matt to the hospital and had to carry him with an arm around each of us. What a lucky bugger he is to have such good friends, right?

Here are a couple videos of the nurse cutting off some of the bandages that the amateur first-aid ladies at the tri put on.

Ok, now we're getting into some more close up action on his wounds.

I don't think I've said it yet, but Matt was really in pain. He was gritting his teeth while we waited for our chance to go back to a bed. They had to take off the crappy bandaging the ladies at the tri put on him and that hurt, too. Then they wanted him to soak his hands in a couple tubs so they could get clean, and that hurt. They had to give him a tetanus shot, and that hurt. After that, they had to numb up his knee before cleaning it out, and even the numbing hurt. It was really rough for the guy. But that didn't stop us from taking pictures. And here they are.

Once the knee was cleaned out, the doctor realized Matt had ripped open a sac of fluid in his knee. There are sacs of fluid at all your joints to lubricate and help you actually bend. Matt had broken that open and actually had gravel up in there. They cleaned it out real well, but the doc had to call an orthopedic surgeon to make sure he was doing everything correctly. Well, turns out you can't stitch up the wound like you normally would. They had to only sort of put the flesh back together and let the fluid sac (I really wish I remembered the actual name so I didn't have to keep writing "sac" all the time) heal itself from inside. That meant that he would probably have an infection, so he really needs to keep the knee clean and take some strong antibiotics. Oh, and percocet for the pain. Awesome huh?

Ok, now time for stitches. We've even got some video here. The doc was really great about letting us take so many pictures and everything. Anyway, enjoy.

Here are the videos.

So that's that. Tyler, Matt, and I had a bet going on how many stitches he would get. Tyler said something like 13, Matt said 17, and I said 7. Turns out we were all high. He got 5 stitches. 4 on the knee, one on the Thumb. It probably would have been more if he hadn't ripped open that sac. And don't worry, Matt will be ok. When everything heals, he'll even be able to get back into the whole swim, bike, run routine. But his career as a knee model is pretty much shot. That's gonna be one nasty scar.

We had to carry Matt out to the car and basically everywhere else.

He also couldn't use his hands because they were zombified with bandages and they still hurt. I actually had to feed him food so he could take a percocet... but now he's doing a little better. he couldn't really do much at work with no hands, so he took like a day and a half off. But all in all it was fun. Well, fun for me because I didn't have to do a triathlon or wreck my bike attempting one. And from what I hear, the bike ride sucked and the entire run was in sand. Sorry guys. But here's how you all look to me, in spite of the crappy and crazy race conditions.


Bonny said...

whoa...those pictures are...something. I like the word zombified. Hilarious! I had a friend do the tri that day too and have heard that it wasn't a great day. too bad for all those that spent so much time preparing.

Tiffanie said...

ok, you have convinced me, when I get my butt in gear and doing triathlons again, I will NEVER do one in St. George! Poor Matt!

Jentry said...

Wicked awesome post.

Tyler and Cassidy said...

I had to quit reading when I got to the liquid sac part. Sometimes I get squeamish. But way to go tri-athletes. And it really isn't triathalon? I thought I would know better.

Jared Sorensen said...

I miss the STG. I'm glad I was such a deep sleeper when we were room mates.