So race morning started off early as we had to take a bus from the OV to the Triathlon venue ~40k away. We got there with plenty of time to set up the bikes and do a good warm up. The temperature that morning was surprisingly manageable to start but it got hot fast!
The swim start was good, I was holding good water and thought I'd found some fast feet to hang onto. But the way the pontoon draw panned out, it created 2 packs that ended up coming together part way to the first turn buoy and the chaos ensued from there! There were times were I couldn't even tell I was swimming, just hitting and being hit by the women around me! I think I spent too much time and energy trying to get a better position than actually swimming forwards! So I came out in the front pack, but at the tail end....that always means more work on the bike! This is not where I should be!
Onto the bike, my plan was to have a fast first climb up the hill and settle in after that, so initially I wasn't too worried about the 15 seconds I need to bridge to get back with the front pack. I wasn't able to close the gap and ended up in the chase pack (again, not where I should be). We stayed in sight but it was an unorganized bunch, so we were losing time. I then missed another good opportunity to get to the front back when one of the stronger cyclist came upto our group and manage to catch onto the front pack...uh oh again! After that, on the 5/6 laps, the 2nd chase pack caught our unorganized bunch and we went onto the dam surface (blue track-like surfacing that covers the metal plate that is on the dam) all together. At the top of the little climb up to the dam, the group spread out and went around a corner together...that was when it went wrong...all I know is something caused the group to compress and then I hit the ground and there was bike and girls everywhere! Lucky for me, I didn't have time to put my hands out (the Canadian girl broke her wrist in the fall) and took most of the damage to my shoulder, hip and knee. I was a little stunned but I jumped up and assessed the damage, my body hurt but nothing broken, then I ran to my bike, picked it up and put the chain on, looked around, everyone else had ridden by...now what?! Dammit, I'm finishing this race, so I got on my bike and rode the last lap solo, without water bottles or my gels (they popped off when my bike went down).
Onto the run, I thought, I'll just try to catch as many girls as I could. I managed to get 3 of them in 2 laps, running on adrenaline. Then that wore off and the lack of water/gels on the bike in the heat started to come back to haunt me...I also started to notice the pain in my arm/knee/glute! So, you all know the finish result, I faded the last 2 laps and just got er done.
I was pretty upset at the finish line, happy that I finished the race (I'd have been devastated if I didn't) but disappointed at the outcome. It just seemed like a lot of time and effort had been wasted...but then I saw Richard, my coach, my family and friends in the stands and they were so proud of me for getting back on my bike and toughing it out--it made me put everything back into perspective. After the race I also read all the great posts and e-mails I'd received and it put a smile on my face! Not exactly how I envisoned my race would go, my training had gone so well going into the race, but the whole experience has been amazing!
I have a massive patch of gym burn (since it was on the 'carpet', my road rash is more like when you went down in gym class during a game of dodgeball! Remember that?!) to heal and everyday some new muscles in my shoulder/back and neck start to hurt. I'm also having issues lifting my arm past shoulder level right now, so I'm going to get the team Dr's to check it out and my knee is still swollen but better everyday. But like I said, it could have been worse!
Now, I'm enjoying the rest of my time here at the games. Open water swimming, waterpolo, Modern Pentathlon (Go Josh!!) and a session of Athletics! My days are full!
That's all for now, I have to catch up on some sleep, a night at Holland Heineken House followed by an early start to get to the open water swim venue has left me exhausted! I'll post some pictures tomorrow night, I promise!