Monday, 3 June 2013

Arrived in Europe

Earlier this week I took the long journey from Sydney to Vitoria-Gasteiz, Alava. Left last Sunday night and had a very smooth trip to arrive at my apartment in Vitoria just after 9pm the following night. The first thing I noticed is how late the sun goes down, it was still light when I arrived. Settled into training early the next morning and lucky I did not feel any effects from my travels.
Needed to settle in quickly as I had race that weekend in Ondarroa, Spain with another aussie, Nick Kastelein, who is staying at the same place. On Friday we left Vitoria to travel to Biarritz, France to see some sights and stay the night before the race on Saturday. Biarritz was very nice but the weather was extremely cold and windy, would like to go back when the weather warms up. We left Biarritz around lunch to drive to Ondarroa for a 3:45pm race start. The race was Olympic distance starting at a fishing harbour and the ride followed the coast until coming back inland, through the hills and the run was 3 laps around the harbour. The water temp was 13 degrees Celsius so was definitely not getting in for a swim warm up. With over 450 males lined up on the beach ready to race, I was keen to get my European race season underway. 

With a little sneaky help from one of the local race officials he pointed Nick and I to the best position for the swim start. The race was on and after a 30m run down the beach I hit the icy cold water of Ondarroa which was a big shock. After 30 sec I was in clear water and already had a gap on the field with Kastelein sitting on my feet. The water was cold but didn't bother me too much as I was feeling great swimming and continued to put seconds into the rest of the field. Come out of the water first along with Kastelein just behind. When I got up on the bridge I could see we had about a 30sec gap on 3rd and a huge gap on the next bunch. Smooth T1 and started the climb out of transition. It wasn't until after 5min of climbing I came across a flat section to put my feet in my shoes, right foot in no dramas, as I attempted to put my left foot in the shoe somehow unclipped went into the spokes of my front wheel and jammed into the forks throwing me over the handlebars. I got up un-injured but I picked my bike up and the front wheel was only just hanging on by a couple of fibers of the fork. The shoe had clean cut the fork in half and that was my race over. Couldn't believe it and could not believe how it actually happened, I was so angry considering I led out of the water and had just finished a big cycling block before coming over, the bike would have probably been my strongest leg. The ambulance came to pick me up and the bike was brought down by one of the motorcycles. No injuries, just a couple of bruises and a broken bike.

Big thanks to the ambulance officers and race officials for their help and getting me back down the mountain. I have my second race for the trip at Cremona, Italy this weekend so main focus is getting my bike sorted and coming back strong over there.

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