European 70.3 Champs – Half Race Report

With my A race (Rev3 Cedar Point) just around the corner, I was looking forward to a good hit out in the European Champs. I was really looking forward to testing out the results of my training block in Boulder. True to European weather, once I got there it was raining and cold and didn’t stop raining for the next 4 days. I knew there was a reason why I moved from there a few years ago. I was a little bit nervous, because I wasn’t able to get any training on the bike in that week – just a 2 hour mountain bike and short ride a few days before the race. I was really looking forward to getting a bit more time in on the bike there since I was using my new Kestrel, which I hadn’t got a chance to ride much.

I should have known that the race was going to be jinxed for me right from the start. Even the GPS didn’t want me to find the right place. After 2.5 hours of following the GPS in German, which sent me to several wrong locations, I finally managed to check in at the hotel. The next day started off with a mandatory early morning drug test. As I was one of the first guys there, the muppet taking the blood hadn’t had much experience. After sticking the needle in my arm with no blood coming out, he wiggled it around a bit, and then tried again. He wiggled the next one around, and still no blood came out. I had to ask for another doctor to take the blood. The dumb ass forgot to put one of the caps over the vile, which stopped the blood from flowing into the vile. Finally after the 3rd try, they got the blood out of me. Later that day I had to check my bike and bags into transition, which was a 30 minute drive from the hotel. Once I got there, I realized I had forgotten my bags to check in. After a half hour arguement with the officials, they finally let me put my bike in and I was able to hand the bike in the next day. Multiple transition races suck.

Race morning turned out to be fairly warm. I was feeling good and hoping all the bad luck was behind me. I had a great swim and came out in the front group. My plan for the race was to take the first 10-15 miles easy and stay with the main group, as the first part of the race was flat. Once we started getting into the hills, my legs were starting to feel pretty good, so I started to push the hills. Unfortunately the roads were still extremely wet and slippery and I was having trouble standing up on the climbs without my wheels slipping. Going into the first couple of corners, a few of the boys had already gone down. That’s when I decided to really take it easy on the down hills. After 20 miles, the group was starting to really split up. I was losing a lot of time on the downhills but catching back up on the uphills. Around 30 miles, I was descending a long downhill. After 3/4 the way down the hill, my back wheel just slid out from under me. I really don’t know what happened. I hadn’t even gone into the corner yet. I’m not sure whether I hit an oil patch or maybe ran over the white line, but all I knew was that I was sliding on my ass.

At first I didn’t think it was that bad as I wasn’t going that fast and didn’t do that much skin damage, however when I went to go pick up my bike, I had hit the ground so hard, I had knocked my rear wheel out. After putting my wheel back in and getting ready to go, I saw Sebastian Kiele coming bombing down the hill and fall in exactly the same place. I tried to swing my leg over to get on the bike. That’s when I really felt the pain. After I managed to get on the bike, I started riding down the hill. I knew something was really wrong when I started to climb the next hill and I my right leg just couldn’t push down or put out any power. Basically, I rode one-legged all the way back to transition.

After getting cleaned up and helped back to my hotel room, I realized later that night that I did something bad to my hip because I couldn’t even walk. The next day I went in for an X-Ray and MRI. After the X-Ray, the doctor came back and said everything looked good and there was nothing broken. However, I had got some advice from Dede Griesbauer, who has the same injury and she told me to get an MRI. The MRI ended up finding a long fracture in my pelvis, which really sucked. I spent a few more days in Germany just sitting around and then changed my flight to come home early. A $700 change fee and a crappy flight later (Thanks Continental Airlines. Possibly the worst airline ever?) I finally got home. However, the airport wheelchair service is quite good. I just need to work out how I can use that all the time. Maybe I’ll just take my crutches in my bike case.

Now unfortunately I’m going to miss Rev3 Cedar Point. I’m hoping to still do the swim and possibly the ride there. The prognosis is 4-6 weeks of no running, but hopefully I’ll be in the pool tomorrow and the trainer by later next week. I’m going into hibernation now. Good luck to everyone racing. I’m a little jealous, but I’ll see you in a few months.