Cyclocross and Guacamole: Over Before It Began

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Mark's thumb after surgery.

Mark's thumb after surgery.

Mark is a recent Texas transplant who was responsible for bringing cyclocross to Rutgers University while living in New Jersey. Last time we heard from him, he had started to find a “family” in the TXCX community, much as he had in New Jersey years before. This was his first season of racing in Texas, and it ended a bit earlier than expected.

by Mark V.

The Texas cyclocross season kicked off this weekend with a double in Mineral Wells, Texas. I can’t tell you how much I looked forward to this race weekend and writing it up for Cyclocross Magazine.

Instead, I’m sitting on my couch with a cast on my left hand. My season ended even before it got started.

About two week ago, I headed up to Austin for the Peddler Dirt Derby. The Dirt Derby is a Tuesday night training race series that runs throughout the ’cross season. I was thrilled to get on my cyclocross bike and see how I measured up to other Texas ’crossers.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get that chance. I took a few laps on the course to check it out and warm up before my start. On my second time through, I augured my front wheel in some soft dirt and went down. It was a minor crash at best. It was one of those crashes that anyone who races ’cross will have five or ten times a year. I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and got back on the bike.

When I went to grab the bars I realized something was definitely wrong. My left hand couldn’t grip the bars. I took off my glove to find my thumb was totally dislocated. Like any foolish bike racer, I popped it back in and tried to keep going.

It wouldn’t stay in the joint.

I must have landed strangely on my thumb or hooked it on the bars when I crashed. I ripped my left thumb, as I would later find out, completely out of its joint.

Instead of racing at the Dirt Derby I drove myself back to San Antonio and to the emergency room. A day later, I visited a hand surgeon who confirmed my worst fears: surgery was necessary to repair my thumb. My season is over.

I had the surgery the following week. Right now, I’m living with a bright green cast on my left hand and two pins holding together my thumb. It will be at least two or three months before I am out of a cast or splint and able to ride outside again.


I’m sad that this was my introduction to Texas ’cross and even sadder that it will be another year before I get to race cyclocross down here. Still, I feel incredibly lucky that my crash wasn’t worse, and I’m very happy that I’ll be able to return to training inside very soon.

Maybe next year.



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