Getting Injured at the 7-Eleven Tour 2019: Continue or No?

7-Eleven Tour 2019 4:30am, April 7, 2019 - after a three-hour drive from Manila to Pampanga, we arrive at Clark for 7-Eleven's Tour 2019. Me and my friends entered the 48km category with a 4-hour cutoff. Gun-start is at 6:39am.

All in all, there's 3,000+ bikers participating in this big event- a big improvement from 2012's 1,000+!

7-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 2019
Left: assembling the bikes with Dave | Right: 7-Eleven mass-producing their free Hotta Meals for participants

It's been six years since my last official bike event so I was really pumped for this one! I almost wasn't able to make it as I wasn't feeling well just a few days before the event- I was unwell to the point of going to the emergency room and spending two grand for meds. Thankfully it all worked out.

We met with Joal and Riel (who registered for the 106k wew) since they were already there the night before. We ate breakfast at a nearby Lawson, went back to our cars to prep, and then proceeded to the festival area.

7-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 2019
Left: Hey, it's Paul! Too bad we weren't able to ride together as he was with a different group ;(

Feeling a bit lightheaded due not having recovered 100% yet, I was a bit nervous and worried that something might happen along the 3-4 hour ride we're about to be in.

Little did I know that something much worse than regressing to being sick awaits me just a bit yonder.

7-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 2019
Kudos to the growing biking community in the PH!

7-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 2019
13 waves for 106km, 8 waves for 48km = 21 waves for 3,000+ bikers

Final selfies with friends before gun-start! Was amazed we started EXACTLY on time.

7-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 2019
With Joal, Dave, Josh, Janine and Gene

Aaaaand we're off to a good start!

7-Eleven Tour 2019
Photo c/o 7-Eleven Tour Series Facebook Page

From here on out until the end of the race, there'll be no photos since I wanted to focus on my pace. I also didn't want to finish beyond the 4-hour cutoff time.

But here are Google Map photos of some of the places we passed through:

7-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 2019
It's all highway and either lushes of green or barren wastelands

The first couple of kilometers went well, personally. Even though a lot from my wave and even those after passed me by with no effort, I know I couldn't complain since I had zero to little training.

After a while, I caught up to some who passed me during the uphills. It is as Dave says- upward slopes are Great Equalizers. You can see bikers piling up and slowing down when the roads curve up.

Surprisingly, I passed by others on the downward slopes- I guess it's mostly thanks to my road bike that weighs a lot less and is more aerodynamic than mountain bikes. That, and my poser attack position lol.

One thing I found fun was that even if you don't know anyone in the event, you get to familiarize yourself with those that have the same pace as you since you'll be seeing them occasionally- you passing them and vice versa every now and then. They'll notice you too and then you have a silent joint struggle.

7-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 2019
Left: Saw a friend after my crash so I hid the pain away lol | Right: Tried biking but thought of giving up

So here's how the accident happened...

The course is 48km of SCTEX spanning from Clark to Floridablanca and back.
When I was nearing the U-turn point halfway, I felt some slight cramping on my left leg.
Upon reaching the U-turn point, I decided to stop to rest at the drinking kiosks stationed there.
As I unclipped my cleats on the left (which includes twisting the leg), the cramps went on full throttle!

The jolt of surging pain made me lean to the right where my other cleats are still attached. That also meant there's no stopping me from falling to the ground. Which I did. Looking back, falling shouldn't be too bad.

The grave mistake here was that the fear of falling made me stretch out my arm to cushion the impact to the ground. And my right arm kind of broke due to that.

One of the replenishment staff helped me as I struggled with a cramping left leg and a dead right arm. I was like a worm sprinkled with salt on the ground lol. He stretched my leg and gave me ice cold water and Pocari Sweat. Ah, good ol' Pocari Sweat. I somewhat felt better but I still couldn't stand by myself.

I sat there on the sidewalk thinking about what just happened, and if I should continue the race- I wasn't even sure if I can continue even if I wanted to.

The thought of not finishing dreaded me- that 6-hour drive to-and-fro; the cash spent before, during and after the event; everyone else finishing but me- my mind was blanketed with regret. It was a totally preventable accident but here I am lying disabled on the floor.

I WANTED TO FINISH. I tried standing up but my leg is still cramping. That, and my right arm couldn't even do a simple task such as open a water bottle. I was clearly in no condition to bike.

After around 30 minutes of resting and debating with myself, I walked the U-turn slot to see how my body would fare doing it. It was a struggle lol. I was able to do it, so I tried biking again. This time, support, maneuvering and braking rested entirely on my left arm so it was a bit scary. I didn't even lock in my cleats just to be sure.

It was really hard, not to mention dangerous to me and the bikers around me. "This isn't gonna work" I thought to myself. And so I finally surrendered myself to a medical kiosk a few kilometers away.
They asked me what's wrong, I told them what happened, and they did some 'physical troubleshooting' on me. They doused my left leg with liquid I don't know, then proceeded to massage both my leg and arm.

Their 'lead' PT focused on my right arm. I don't know what happened, but him doing specific massages based on my answers to his questions made my right hand's grip return- although still weak and painful AF.

I definitely felt better with the field medic team's help. Thank you, whoever you guys are.

I was about to throw in the towel, but I felt better.

It was magic- with them, I got the capability and determination I needed to push on and finish the race.

7-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 2019
Left: Riel being interviewed on his 106km finish | Right: Riel with fans lol!

The way back was a struggle of tolerating pain, maintaining balance and persevering the heat.
24km seemed like forever when you're faced with a lot of handicaps. I tried not to think about it. What I did think about was that I needed to make the 4-hour cutoff. So I pushed on and kept my mind blank.

The bad thing about being slow in this race is that the noontime summer heat will catch up to you. The longer you take, the hotter it gets. With no clouds in sight and a reported 35-45°C area temperature, 10am might as well be the hottest time of the day.

I pushed on even though the way back has more uphills than the other way around.
After an enlightening journey back, I was finally able to reach the end.

Alas, my time was 4:06, six minutes late. But hey, the new goal is just finishing so I'm all good.

7-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 2019

I was happy I got to the finish line despite all that's happened. Really, words can't describe how I felt then.

It was a fight with myself and the dire situation around me, and in the end, I won. No more regrets.
After the race, I met up with the others and told them what happened, and of course- take pictures!

7-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 20197-Eleven Tour 2019
Injured arm, tanned skin, and yey, a finisher medal!

We didn't stay long for the end program as it was boiling out there and there was little to no shed for the participants. There was a raffle for a P200,000 bike but meh. After getting our freebies, we headed straight on to this famous Kapampangan restaurant named Matam-Ih.

7-Eleven Tour 2019, matam-ih7-Eleven Tour 2019, matam-ih sisig7-Eleven Tour 2019, matam-ih talong

Sad to say, we had a cruel experience with the restaurant. Here's the gist:

1.) Our orders took more than 40 mins. to be served- yes, we looked at the time
2.) The table beside us came in late but had their orders in just 15 mins.
3.) Our bill took more than 20 mins. to arrive
4.) The table beside us immediately got their bill
5.) Our change took another 20 mins. to arrive
6.) The table beside us immediately got their change
7.) We followed up around half the waiting time for each to no avail

See the pattern? Can't help but feel a discrimination there since the other table were foreigners and they ordered a lot, while we just ordered three dishes, five cups of rice and some drinks. We wasted more than an hour waiting. Oh well, it's not like we'll be eating there again anytime soon anyway so we let it go lol.

7-Eleven Tour 2019, medal
I was dead as a rock after getting home and taking a shower lol

So there you have it! My painful but satisfying 7-Eleven Tour 2019 experience.

Today, two weeks later, my right arm's around 75% usable already. It only hurts when stretched or twisted in certain directions (directions that are supposedly okay to stretch or twist to). Not cool so I guess I'll have this checked if it doesn't completely heal up by next week.

Anyone reading who also went to the Tour and had a peculiar experience? Share your story in the comments!

If you've managed to read this far, thanks! Will try to post more in the blog in the upcoming days.

P.S. I would have finished between 3:00-3:30 hours for 48km if it wasn't for the accident- but check out the winners. They're monsters completely on a whole different level!

7-Eleven Tour 2019, winners7-Eleven Tour 2019, winners

Post a Comment