Perhaps this rough start is the fuel I need to keep my competitive fire burning or perhaps it's a reminder that nothing in sport is a given. General Patton once said "Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory" and that's the line I'm sticking to as I move forward in the year. I have a finite amount of time to race at the highest level and I am as determined as ever to make the most of it. Before looking forward, here's a quick rundown of the past weekend:
I was looking forward to getting back to Knoxville after winning the Rev3 Series here last year. I love the challenging bike course and having experience on the twists and turns really works to my benefit (well, I thought...) I arrived in town and spent Saturday taking care of last minute preparations, leading a swim clinic, and participating on the Pro Panel. With the question of Professionals' worth heavy on my mind, I did my best to be visible and helpful to the race organization. Thank you to everyone who listened to me talk and congratulations to everyone who took my advice and ended up the day ahead of me!
|Up Close at the Pro Panel|
|Supporting the IMTX athletes!|
The race morning weather looked perfect with zero percent chance of rain until 11am and relatively cool conditions. Of course, weathermen have a tendency to be wrong and as I warmed up the rain started to fall. Lightly at first, but by the time the race was in full swing, it was a downpour! The non-wetsuit swim went smoothly with no real effort expended to sit in the front group and bide my time. I wore my Wattie Ink sleeved speed suit folded under my BlueSeventy PZ3TX for the first time and really liked the way my bare shoulders felt. With only a few seconds of work to pull up the sleeves after the swim, I will be doing this again in the future.
I hit the bike with Cam in my sights and settled in to a conservative pace knowing that if was going to catch him it would be on the run. By the first turn around, I was 2 minutes down but felt well within myself and ready to make a push the back half of the course. I stayed on top of my nutrition with the incredible EFS Pro and stayed comfortable on the trusty ISM attack. I marked the chase group at roughly 3 minutes so I was confident my position was secure going into the last 1/3 of the bike. On the final climb, I turned the screws and started to wind up my effort for the last 15 miles. I wanted to limit my losses to Cam and get my legs ready to run for the win.
At the top of the final hill, everything was going to plan, but with the rain really coming down, I was cautious as I started my descent... or so I thought. Going into a left-hand turn, my rear wheel skidded out and I lost control. I managed to put my foot down and did my best Fred Flintstone braking job as I tried to stay upright. I drifted down into the turn and thought I was going to be able to make it. A mailbox had other ideas and I hit it hard at 30 mph. My poor Dimond took the burnt of the force, demolishing the head tube. My left shin also tried to take a chunk out of the post, but unfortunately lost the battle. I knew my day was done and I laid on the ground wondering what exactly was going to happen next!
Luckily, I had a great group stop and help me along the side of the road. After a long ordeal with Firemen and Ambulance personnel (THANK YOU), I was finally able to get back to transition and eventually to UT Med Center for a dozen stitches. It was definitely not the way I was planning to end my day, but looking back I am very lucky it was not worse. I'm now out of training for a bit while the stitches heal and my body recovers. I will be a regular with Active Chiropratic as I deal with a bit of whiplash and back soreness, but I plan to come back stronger than ever! This rough patch can't last forever and I have plans to make it as short as possible. With any luck I will be back on the start line to defend my title in Williamsburg in 4 weeks.
|The "cleaned up" version|
Thank you to everyone who followed along this weekend and showed your support with the crash. I am truly lucky to have such great people surrounding me. The most asked question is if the bike is ok and I am sad to report that it will never ride again. The group at Dimond as been incredible in their support and I will be back in the saddle on the fastest bike on the planet very shortly. Here is a quick video of the head tube damage... not for the faint of heart for bike lovers!: