I came, I saw, I crashed
My race seemed to be a little plagued from the beginning but that did not mean I was not going to go down without a good fight. Opening ceremonies were the Friday evening, and, literally, it rained on our parade! In our team Canada suits we marched into La Place Stanislas with our heads held high and our hoods over our heads! From the opening ceremonies there was a pasta party at the main stadium in town, Stade M Picot. On the buses we went from Place Stanislas to Stade M Picot.
First our driver when down the wrong street. And the street was so narrow that he actually had to revere the bus down the alley to turn around. Then he missed the stadium so we had to walk once again in the rain to where they were hosting the Pasta Party. We arrived and most of team Canada was seated at the opposite end of the hall. It was much like summer camp, big tables and wooden benches. ‘Hey Sash, can you slide down?’ No problem right? Ha! I think I might win an award for the worlds biggest splinter, which I got through my team pants! Wow did that hurt.
After a lot of crying from the freezing and a mini surgery by Dr. Jeff (team dr, not my dad!) we thought we had removed the splinter. I was left with a fairly good bruise from the whole episode but otherwise no worse for wear.
I had a great sleep. Weather was perfect. No wind. Cool, not too cold, not too hot. With my bike taped up with all my race snacks (Black Cherry CLIF shot bloks, eLoad tabs, vanilla CLIF shot and a small bottle of flat coke) I headed out to put my bike in transition and get some body markings. Body mark: check. ‘Madame, ou es vous uniform?’ I was thinking ‘In my hotel, of course’; the race isn’t for 2.75 hours! Turns out you need to have your uniform and number on to put your bike in transition. [Flirted my way out of that one ;o)]
Bike in transition. Caffeinated. Had my favourite pre-race banana and peanut butter, Michelle and I headed over to the start line. I started my warm up and Michelle was kind enough to bring over the rest of the stuff I need for warm up; water, more CLIF shot bloks and my gel.
Race time 9:15. I’ve done my run. Most of my drills. 9:01 I look down at my teammate Monica and realize I’m not wearing my timing chip! Amazbawls!! Ok I can run back to the hotel. About 15 seconds into my panic sprint to the hotel I think ‘forget it, I’m racing without my chip.’ Somehow Team Manager Joyce works a miracle and they deliver a new race chip to the start line; with one minute to start I have a race chip on my ankle and I’m ready to go.
‘A vos mark.’ Squeek. And we’re off. I was in the front group for the 10k; we went out in a breezy 3:15! Ouch. After the 10k I was in 4th having finished in just over 38 minutes. My legs felt great. I had a really quick first transition and I was off on the bike. I think at that point I had moved into third.
The bike,on a course meant for a crit; it looked like wicked fun. Twists and turns. Fairly hilly for a little loop, just my style. It was 5 laps of 7.5km. On lap 2 as I came up and over the bridge I was a little too aggressive. In the ‘s’ turn I went in a little fast. My bike went sideways once, sideways twice and all of a sudden I was upside down with the end of my helmet stuck in a plastic barrier over a sewer grate. My bike was about 15 feet from where I was. On my back I looked up at the race officials. The rules state that you can have no external support. Quite afraid that I had really hurt myself I asked if I could have some help; actually I asked ‘can you touch me!’ I lay there for about a minute trying to get my bearings, making sure nothing was seriously hurt. As I got up I thought ‘Ok, my day is done, time to go home and recover.’ But it was a day of no deals, no excuses. I asked if it was ok to continue; new goal, just finish.
End of lap 2, shaking, riding very cautiously I finished the loop. Uphill loop 3, how many people can I catch. That ‘s’ frightened me again. As I was descending the bridge on loop 3 I was wondering why my legs were spinning so quickly; righ,t because as I bounced my chain bounced into the smaller chain ring! Doh. Back to the big chain ring! End of lap 3, ‘hmmm, I’m moving pretty well and I feel pretty relaxed, go time.’ I hammered the last two laps. I couldn’t stand on my pedals to climb, my hip hurt too much from bouncing off the pavement. But no deals, work with what you have and climb that hill. I was still quite tentative in some of the corners but attacked where I could.
I managed to have the 2nd fastest time on the 5k course! Who knew?! Despite the crash and the really slow ride I managed to finish 8th. And I had the top Canadian women’s finishing time!
Thanks again to all those who helped me get here. Helped me run, ride, to get faster. Especially those to help me overcome all the injuries I faced over the summer.
And the biggest thanks goes to La Reina de Pearl. She was amazing during the whole event. Through my freakout forgetting my chip at the hotel before the race, while I was running and riding. Encouraging me when all I wanted to do after the crash was sit down, wallow in my injuries and cry. And for being there at the end and encouraging me to run faster, to finish stronger. Best hug ever at the finish line when it was all over and I finally had my chance to let it all out.
This was not a one time only thing. In the years to come I know I’ll have better luck and more opportunities. Look out 2013!
* pictures coming later…