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Snakes on the trail

Arrived home Monday from my cycling journey across the great state of Wisconsin. Clothes aren't even in the washer and it's time for master competitor to transition into preparation for the next great adventure of the summer - the Rattlesnake Trail 50K near Charleston, WV on July 10.

The "Snake" is one of my greatest 50K's of all time. The promoters do an excellent job with runner services. One year they trucked in a generator, which powered a freezer, so that all finishers could have Popsicles and ice cream bars.

And it's a great race course in Kanawha State Forest. Six major climbs, six descents, plenty of rocks, a few obligatory snakes and in some years, a black bear or two.

I've been hitting the trail loops near my apartment in Boone. Instead of being the wimp I can be, I'm opting to look for the hills and methodically shuffle up and over the crest of each. And I met with a great surprise when finding that many of the paths had been groomed with winter tree fall removed. Summer is upon us and the forest begs for our attention.

I'm feeling the effects of the ride. My legs are like stumps. Ran on the Appalachian State University track where a summer football camp was in session. A ball came across my path and a youngster motioned for me to throw it back; I did, my shoulder almost exploded, and the pass fell 20 yards short.

It's time to put stick-and-ball athletics on the back burner, and do what I do best.

Run, Tommy, run.


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You have to look closely (click and enlarge photo if needed), but when you do, check out the 5th metacarpal (bone furthest from thumb).

The diagonal break is symbolic of what happens when your mountain bike handlebars snap around 360 degrees, and those bars catch your hand against the bike frame during the rotation.

Well there you have it. I got up after my ride over the bars and knew something was wrong, but didn't want to admit it. Rode about three miles back to the car, then went a week with some ice and heat. Thought it was good, until I smacked the same bone on the bars during a road ride the following weekend.

Time to stop the charades and get to urgent care.

For the past three weeks, I have been in a formed splint that kept the pinkie and ring fingers immobilized in a hooked formation. Don't want those tendons to move across the bone. As the doc stated, it's a "forgiving" break, but nonetheless you don't want to give the bone any excuse to shift; that…