Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Let me just cut to the chase and mention that I crashed my bike at Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens.  This is my first crash in training or racing since starting the sport.

Around mile 30 and after the toughest climb and steepest descent, I laid the bike down on a dusty 90 degree corner made slick by the rain.  I scrubbed all the speed I thought was required and as I was entering the turn, I found myself on the ground; it was that instantaneous.  I'm pretty sure I yelled as I was falling and hit the pavement.  I got up and the traffic officer asked if I was ok and was I going to continue.  If so, I needed to head to the nearest medical tent, get cleaned up, and checked out.  I obliged.  The tent was nearby.  I got rinsed a bit and was asked lots of cognitive questions.  They checked my helmet (it didn't hit the ground apparently) and I was on my way.

I was wounded pretty badly, though I didn't know how bad until later.  My bike was wounded...  this I knew for certain.  My front derailleur shifter had broken off, leaving me in the big ring.  My rear derailleur was bent in and I couldn't shift to the top of the cassette without the derailleur hitting the spokes.  If I was to finish, it would be me and my bike finishing wounded.

I could handle the descents ok, though in pain due to some major forearm bruising and bleeding, but the ascents were tough.  I was zigzagging up the hills sometimes as low as 35 rpm.  I chastised myself most of the way, telling myself I need to make back up the ground I lost and find a way to get to the run.  It was all heart, good nutrition, and some good fitness that took me to the line.  I got into T2 with a 2:49:50 bike split.


Prior to the race, I was settling into a state I can now call "ready".  I was pretty mellow.  Getting ready, I was less crazy and more purposeful.  I let myself chill, didn't stress, incorporated some quality time with Eli and my Dad by going to the race site together, and relaxed in the evenings with Jen.  I trusted I could make the race happen.  As the clock ticked closer to the start, I had fewer and fewer things to worry about.  After all, there's fewer things you can affect as you get closer to a big race.  I slept well on race night, getting a rock solid 5 hrs of sleep on top of 9 hrs the night before and a restful day.  Like I said, I was "ready".

Even the weather couldn't get me down (yet) on race morning.  I did my routine, got my food in, etc.  Everything was falling into place.

The swim was good.  I swam well but kept running into people from earlier heats.  That's both a good and bad sign when you're running people over.  Other than ending up underneath a course marker (scary) everything went to plan in the water and exited under 33 minutes.

The first 10km on the bike were rough, but I settled into my rhythm, knocking out my splits and was well on my way to sub 2:35 on the bike, which was my goal considering the wet weather and chilly temps.

Then the crash.  Then the salvaging.

I got on the run in pain.  My hip was angry.  Like the biggest red bird from Angry Birds.  Yup, that angry and that big.  I still wanted to do well.  I still wanted a qualifying spot.  I thought that if I could run down as many people as I could, I might still have a shot.  Wouldn't that be a triumph!  I kept picking people off during the run.  I hit the last 2km with everything I had left.  I got the run done, even with 3 stops at first aid to flush the wounds, in 1:42.

5:09 and change, 18th in the 35-39 age group.  In other years, it could/would have made Vegas.  Today it didn't.  Lake Stevens reduced their spots from 50 to 30.  The two spots for my group went to first and second.  No roll down.

All I got to take home was a sprained and scraped left thumb, sprained and scraped right pinky, scraped and bruised right shoulder, forearm (with a bunch of gravel under the skin), hip, knee, and ankle.  I haven't yet fully inspected my bike, but damage seems to be limited to the derailleur and shifter.

So what now?  I'd struggle to be ready for the other two qualifiers that are proximate (Calgary and Boulder).  And even if I healed, could I get on the podium and get that Vegas spot?  Not too sure.

One thing is for sure:  I'm feeling a bit wounded physically and mentally.

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