Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Boulder 70.3

A lot has happened since Geelong 70.3, I had resumed training within the next couple of days and had my focus set on racing Putrajaya 70.3 in April. On March 8th, everything changed...
I was riding home on my cruiser after a swim at Palm Beach, riding along in the bike path just a few hundred meters from home a garbage truck came up beside me and without any warning turned left into a carpark, cutting me off and I had no where to go but underneath the truck's rear wheel. I remember watching as my foot went underneath the tyre and the noise of my bike being crippled. The pain was excruciating and I had no idea what injury I had sustained, I couldn't walk let alone move and layed on the side of the road until the ambulance arrived. After many X-Rays and an MRI I had completely ruptured two ligaments in my right ankle, bone bruising throughout the foot and other internal damage through the ankle and hip. I saw the specialist and his first thoughts were that I wouldn't be running for a very long time and the rest of my season was not looking good. I was not going to allow this to be the case..  this wasn't going to get the better of me so I set my sights firmly on my recovery.
With no other choice, I spent the first 3 weeks laying in bed all day everyday, even going to the bathroom on crutches was a struggle, luckily Dad was there to look after me and keep my mind in the right place. At the 4th week I moved into a boot which allowed me to move around home freely and get to the edge of the pool to start swimming, one thing that really helped me here was my Xterra Lava Pants, I wasn't able to kick for the first week and these pants worked a real treat. By the 5th week I was kicking in the pool and doing a few bike trainer sets, progress was coming along really well and my physio Rick Bain at Gold Coast Physio was making sure I would return to running as soon as possible. Week 6 I was back running which was a lot sooner than expected, I put this down to my physio and also Qoleum. I was using the Qoil Arnica Injury Oil every day on my ankle to help promote healing , this stuff is truly liquid gold, without it I'm certain my recovery wouldn't have been as rapid as it was.

Unfortunately I missed Putrajaya 70.3  I was now focused on getting to Boulder, CO for the summer. I booked my trip only 3 weeks from leaving and was so determined on getting there ready to train hard and do a couple of races. Training the week before leaving was great and I couldn't wait to get back to Boulder to continue it with the plan to race Boulder 70.3.
I arrived in Boulder on the 9th of May to a very cold week of training, lots of rain and day max. temperatures of 5°C. The 2nd weeks onwards was great, weather was awesome and training was going really well. The numbers were looking good heading into Boulder 70.3, the field was stacked but I was confident I would be able to have a good result.

The weather of race morning was perfect, although I was a little worried about the non-wetsuit swim mainly cause the temperature was borderline but upon entering it wasn't so bad. The swim was a waist deep start with 34 Male Professionals ready to race. The first couple of hundred meters was full gas and at altitude it felt like 110%, with one guy setting a solid pace no one was able to match, I actually started to panic a bit as my breathing started to feel harder and shorter and was worried about blacking out so had to settle it down a bit before I ended my day early. I finally got it under control and settled into the main lead pack, the first guy had quite a gap on us the whole way and exited the water with a 40sec gap on my pack of 5 guys. I had a terrible transition and found myself at the tail end exiting T1.

Onto the bike I was at the back until we had gone under the first underpass and once back on Diagonal Hwy I worked my way to the front, we had already caught the lead swimmer but Von Berg was a little way up the road. After passing the group of 4 I continued to push, looking to take the lead early. After crossing the 63rd Street Intersection there is a slight rolling hill on the Diagonal Hwy and I was carrying a lot of momentum heading into it and Von Berg slowed right up as we hit and I made the pass for the lead and knew this was the time to go. I put my head down and went to work, this didn't last for long. A couple of minutes later I was pushing hard in the lead and a motorbike pulled up alongside me and the official on the back pulled out a Blue Card and pointed it in my direction, I thought no way, I looked behind me and the group was back a fair way, I couldn't understand what was happening. I asked the official if that was for me and what had I done wrong, he couldn't tell me anything other than report to the next penalty box. I was shocked and sat up trying to find out why he was giving this to me, it wasn't long until the group passed me and I found myself off the back still trying to get a reason from the official, still nothing other than I was to receive 5mins at the next penalty box. I was absolutely furious and shocked at the same time. Once it actually sunk in that it had happened there was no other option other than to ride hard. I found myself pushing over 450W to get back to the front of the race which I did and was giving 100% until wherever that next box was. I served my penalty at 54km and just watched as the athletes passed by, 5mins is a really long time. Time was up and was determined to try and make up some time but my legs had other ideas, they had seized up after standing still and it felt like I was pedalling squares, it was horrible. I managed to make up a few places within the next several km's but everyone else was too far gone.

Came into T2 placed 14th and almost felt like calling it quits for the day, I was so frustrated. I couldn't do that and decided to head out on the run to finish off the race, being quite hot and a tough course anything could happen. I found myself running ok considering how sore my legs were, the more I got through the run the better I felt and I started reeling in some Pro's one by one. Cross Country had never really suited me but luckily on this day I was enjoying it, I managed to run my way back into 10th position by the end of the race. Still fuming, I went looking for the official straight away to find out what I had done and to protest the penalty. He tried to tell me I came to close to the wheel before making the pass into the lead "slingshotting" was the word he used, at no point did I get and advantage passing an athlete as I was just getting to the front as quick as possible to pull away from the rest of the group. He wouldn't not let me protest and there was nothing I could do.

I'm still in disbelief that this actually happened as it has cost me both money and the principal of the way I race.
The positive I can take away from this is that my body is race ready again after the accident and my fitness it there to still be at the front of the race. I will now continue my training in Boulder until my next race which is Vineman 70.3 on July 10th.
Thanks to the pro athletes behind me at the time that witnessed the penalty for acknowledging that it was wrong call. Massive thanks to all my sponsors I wouldn't be able to race without and my family for their support.

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