Monday, June 9, 2014

ITU Dallas Pan American Championships Race Report

As promised, I said that I would start writing race reports again after my race in Dallas that took place on May 31st. I was barely home for 48 hours before heading to Seattle last week, so this is the first chance that I have had to write a post.

I was hoping to have a really exciting outcome to report after racing in my biggest ITU draft legal event that I have ever done, with a start list of almost 50 Elite women. Instead, I have to report that I seemed to have a very "flukie", very rookie, and very embarrassing tumble off the bike after loop 1 (5km) into the 40km ride. I was heading into the 2nd hairpin, 180 degree U-turn that marked the completion of the 1st loop of the bike course, which was stationed directly in front of the Finish Line and so-called "grand stand" area where there were the most spectators present. I think I took the hairpin turn a little bit too hot, which caused my wheels to slide out, and it is very possible that I hit one of the reflectors on the road, which caused my wheels to come off the ground. I'm not sure if I tapped my front brakes or not (which would have been a big no-no), but regardless of whether I did or not, I was absolutely shocked to find myself putting my arms out to break my fall over the handle bars. You really shouldn't fall that way either, as it's the easiest way to break a collar bone, but that was my immediate instinct. I would say that I absorbed the fall by doing something of a hand-stand push-up, if you can visualize that, and as a result I saved myself from a lot of road rash. I'd love to say that the fall was graceful and had some redeeming qualities, but I ended up pinned under my bike lying on my left side, with both feet still clipped into my shoes. I couldn't even unclip my shoes from that position, so I had to undo the velcro straps to slide my feet out, in order to pick myself up from the ground....did I say that this was in front of several onlookers standing around the finish area? By the time I actually stood up, and played with my chain to get it back on the chain ring, I felt like an eternity had passed, and still felt like a deer in head lights. This was not an outcome that I even remotely entertained, so I felt like I was still moving in "shock-mode". I finally jumped back on my bike, and received a very hearty cheer from the crowd, and started pedaling down the road, only to find my back wheel rubbing fiercely against my frame, and then a front flat a few seconds after that. Needless to say, that conclusively ended my race day.

My bike took the bigger beating and needed some new cables and parts, but I was super lucky to escape with just some bruised legs, a sore shoulder/pec/elbow/neck for a couple of days, and banged up finger, but it was more the sting of disappointment that hurt the most. To know that I had so much support going into the race and so many people rooting for me, as well as a wonderful sponsor, AB, who stepped in so valiantly in the very last minute to cover the cost of my flight to get to this race, I couldn't help initially feeling like I had lost out on such a great experience and opportunity, and that I had let people down. I took out my frustrations on a 10km  "punishment run" in the 4pm Dallas heat after I got back to the hotel after the race, with fellow athlete and friend, Amanda Hahn. I was still sulking a bit the day after the race, but quickly snapped out of it after watching all of the Para-triathletes competing in their Pan American Championships. I was immediately reminded to regain some perspective and to appreciate the fact that I am lucky enough to have this opportunity to get to do what I love to do, and to have had the chance to start in the race in the first place. I have two back to back Olympic distance races coming up this weekend and next, so things will certainly only get better from here. I feel like I have made some good gains in the pool, but I am hoping that they'll translate in the open water as the season progresses. I will be very swim focused from now until the next ITU race in Toronto on July 12th, where redemption will be sought:)

After a weekend off from racing and taking some time to divert my attention to balancing a personal life outside from work and triathlon, I am ready to put my head down for the next six weeks and to get back to training hard and racing every weekend. I will write again after the Welland Olympic Triathlon this coming Saturday, and hopefully, we can keep the rubber on the ground this weekend;)

As always, thank you for reading!

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