Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bayside Race Report

My plan was to treat this race like a training day. I was going to go as hard as I could without blowing up. Well… as you know from my previous post… the day didn’t go as planned.

On our way to Barrington RI we stopped to pickup my parents at their house. They were with me last year at this race and wanted to see me race again. On the ride down I was feeling great, I wasn’t a bit nervous. It was a little chilly but the weather look like it was going to be okay. When we arrived at the beach things were different. The wind was really turning up the water and it felt like the temperature had dropped a little. Still… no big deal!

I picked up my packet and went to body marking. I setup my transition area and went to check out the water. The air was cold so the water temperature didn’t feel that bad. That was good because I didn’t have a wetsuit for this race. As I walked around I could hear people saying that they must have shorted the swim a little because of the water conditions. It did look a little shorter that .5 miles, but I don’t know how much shorter it was.

I met up with my friend Manny this was going to be his first triathlon. He’s a strong cyclist and runner, but looking at the water conditions made this a tough “First” triathlon for anyone! He did awesome by the way!

The Swim (Cat 14, Ov 113, Time 8:43)
As we walked down to the water I could only see three different colored swim caps. There were less than 300 participants in this race so I guess they felt that three waves would be enough. We got the countdown and we were off! The water was rough so swimming into the waves at the start was kind of cool. We hit the first buoy then turned right and swum along the beach, this was the fun part. The waves kept hitting me every time I would come up for air. It took a couple minutes to get into a rhythm of breathing in between the waves. The waves weren’t the only thing to contend with on the swim. No… not Jellyfish! The current felt like it was pushing you back towards shore. I looked up a few times to find myself up against the buoys. Let just say I was more than happy to see the beach on this one!

The Bike (Cat 12, Ov 72, Time 37:09 with a crash)
T1 was quick… I put on my cycling shoes and my helmet and I was out of T1. I don’t know the time because they don’t post transition times… go figure! I clipped in and headed out on the bike. I was feeling really good at this point. I just had a good swim and there were still a lot of bikes on the rack as I left T1. Things were going to change… and quickly!

I was on the road and approaching the first turn. I could see a volunteer pointing at the turn, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying at this point. As I got closer I could hear him… slow down… sharp turn… take it slow. I looked down at my computer… I was going 24mph so I started to apply the brakes as I approached the turn. I’ve taken corners fast before and the path was clear of other riders so I felt that I could take this corner without any problems.

The plan was to start the corner wide and then head for the inside cone on the left when I exit the turn. Things were looking good until I saw it… a big pile of sand directly in my path. I was carrying to much speed to cut my turn any sharper and if I hit the sand while leaning I was sure to go down hard. I felt that I only had one option. The side of the road was grass and it looked a lot softer than the street if I go down. I figured I could hop the curb and run out on the grass. I started to straighten up and prepared to hop the curb. Now as a kid I’ve hopped curbs a million times on my bike so I thought this would be a piece of cake. Not this time… I got out of the saddle and pulled up on the handle bars while lifting the rear wheel. I cleared the curb with the front wheel but my rear wheel hit the sand before I could get it off the ground. This part is a little sketchy… it all happened so fast… yet it felt like slow motion. The rear wheel slipped to the right and hit the curd sideways. I remember thinking “This is going to hurt” the next thing I know I’m flying in the air. I don’t even think I put my hands down because I landed on my left side and rolled onto my back. At some point while in flight my feet came unclipped and my bike went flying over me.
This was the weird slow motion part… as my bike tumbled over me I reached up and grabbed the rear derailleur and lowered the bike to the ground. I don’t know what made me do it, but it saved my bike from tumbling down the road.

The rider behind me stopped… “Are you okay” I replied “Yep… I’m okay” He replied “Nice recovery” I can only assume he was talking about the bike!

I got up and did a quick body check. Nothing was broken… so I thought. I had a small cut on my index finger, probably from the derailleur and a little road (grass) rash on my shoulder and back. I picked up my bike and noticed my left brake lever was turned 90 degrees. I removed the grass, straightened it out and gave the wheels a spin, everything looked okay. I picked up my water bottle out of the road and clipped in… I had a race to ride!

The rest of the ride was great, I was able to gain back some ground and finish the bike without further injury.

The run (Cat 18, Ov 108, Time 23:08)
Leaving T2 I was feeling okay but my ribs were starting to hurt a little now. The 3-mile run course was flat and tree covered so sun was not an issue. The road was lined with people cheering and giving works of encouragement. The run was uneventful compared to the bike and I crossed the finish in 1:09:01.

As I went through the finisher shoot I saw my wife and kids. I was glad they were there to cheer me on! I told my wife about the crash but that I was okay. It wasn’t until the ride home that I started to get a little concerned. The pain in my chest was get worse and it was now hurting when I took a deep breath. I was starting to think that maybe I did injure myself. I didn’t land on my chest but that was where the pain was. I knew from my days as a paramedic that the pressure of landing on my side could have compressed my rib cage enough to have done damage to the front so after my shower we headed to the doctors. While I was explaining to the doctor what had happened she started poking around my ribs… she found the spot! She looked at Kate and said… “I think it’s broken but we should take some x-rays to confirm it”.

While we waited for the results we started talking about the time line for my next race. The Firmman Half was only three weeks away and the Doctor said the recovery time for broken ribs was about six weeks. I told Kate that even if it was broken, three weeks should be fine. She wasn’t buying it!

The results came back… I have broken a rib. Damn now what!


Chris said...

I was waiting for this story...

Holy crap dude! Don't rush that recovery if it winds up taking more than 3 weeks. There's always next year.

Glad you weren't more injured. Great story though! I can't believe you finished!!

Jameson said...

Wow, looking at your bike and run times, you would never have guessed that you took a spill like that and broke a rib!

I'm not sure if I'd race the FirmMan in your condition, that is a tough call, but considering how there is a lot of heavy breathing inevitably involved in a Half Iron... I think the decision may already be made for you.

Good luck with your recovery! Keep us updated.

Steve S. said...

I don't know!?!?! Nice race after the crash!

Robin said...

Wow, John. Nice work -- and you didn't even know about the rib. Take it easy and don't push doing Firm man if you're not healed. It's too long of a distance. Grit your teeth and sit in the sideline; you'll be thankful later on. And maybe you can still do the Buzzards Bay Sprint on Sept 30th. Best wishes to you for a quick reciovery and healing process!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am registering my team tomorrow -- Firm man relay--so do let me know if do you end up going. Today was the 1st day since Timberman -- 16 days! -- riding my bike. After Timberman I traveled to AL & NV, so it was impossiblle. 2 weeks killed me. I don't think I have a chance of hitting my goal for the bike at Firmman, but I will still try.

Hey -- too bad your spill wasn't on video. THAT would have been somethin' to show your friends. THAT plus a great finish. :-) You probably freaked out your wife, though, I bet.

Robin said...

Thanks for still coming down! It was TERRIFIC to finally meet you. And I also got to meet Kathleen & the kids -- great!

You know what I want to do...I want to ride that course. I am not beyond driving 90 min to do a 15 mile ride, esp. if I'll be on that course one week later in a race setting. Do you have time to lead such a 15 mile ride anytime next Sunday???? THAT IS, if you are allowed to bike. I know running is an issue, but I don't know about the rib & being in a cycling position? Does that put you in a precarious situation? If so, forget it. If not, how about it? :-)

Tri-John said...

Sounds good! I would be happy to lead a ride next Sunday.
My ribs are feeling much better now. I’ve been running again and I’m going to start cycling today. We can workout the details...
I just checked the web site, it's an 18.5 mile bike... no problem!

Robin said...

GREAT! I leave tomorrow for this race: I have a team -- 3rd yar doing it. fun stuff. When I get back I'll contact you so we can arrange necessary details!! I will probably contact you sometime Monday or Tuesday! Oops. I hope I wasn't unclear...I meant next Sunday, the 23rd (not the one coming up...I'll be in NH at that race I gave you the link to!!) I am flexible re: time on the 23rd in case you have family stuff planned! :-) fun!