Training camp in Oceanside, CA with 40+ of my teammates was a blast. It was great to catch up with some of my teammates from last year, meet new teammates, and pick some people’s brains in regards to IM TX and more specifically the marathon at the end of an Ironman. The wealth of knowledge my teammates have from their many years/races of full IM is undeniable and a huge help for me as I embark on my debut in May. The first two days of camp were great–swimming, biking, and running both days and enjoying the California winter weather, it’s exactly what I envisioned camp being like.
Day 3 of camp started off well. I was looking forward to the long ride with lots of climbing and a hard run off the bike, which we had not done yet. It was a lot of fun being able to go on 5-10 minute steady climbs; I don’t get those types of climbs in my routes at home. There are certainly plenty of hills for me to do, but a lot of them are steep and don’t allow you to really settle into a pace/cadence and just plug away. Unfortunately, around mile 48 of the ride, I was headed down a long decent. I rounded a curve and saw a short decent followed by flat road ahead. I naturally went from hands near my brakes down into my aero position. Next thing I know, a small bump at the bottom of the hill sent too much of my weight forward resulting in me going head first over the handle bars crashing into the road going 35 mph (well, technically 34.9 mph according to Strava). After the initial shock of crashing, I was flooded with thoughts and emotions and had no idea what to think. How’s my bike? What the hell just happened? I am NOT dealing with more hospital bills. Why me? Why now? Anger. Rage. Disappointment. Even as I write this, I am still struggling to find the words to describe what happened. I can’t tell you how many “what if” scenarios have gone through my head.
All I do know is this. It happened. It’s in the past. I’m not going to dwell on something that is 100% uncontrollable at this point. All I can do is make the best of my situation. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I may not know that reason now, but I will at some point in my life. I am VERY fortunate that I did not break anything or come away with any more serious injuries. The amount of road rash is quite extensive with two of the cuts being several layers deep (left wrist and right hip). It has now been 10 days (and counting) of zero training. I’m hopeful that this weekend my two main cuts will be healed enough to at least do something swim/bike/run oriented. Sleeping on my back is quite awkward, but I was finally able to sleep on my left side last night. Cleaning my wounds is far from fun. The first 4 days were absolutely miserable as everything stung like crazy in the shower. Fortunately, now only my left wrist stings when I shower. I also know that I will be back. This is not going to get me down nor will it hold me back. Will I be timid the next time I go down a hill, I’m sure I will be, but I also know that this too will pass and I will be back to normal in no time.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to several people. I am very grateful for my EMJ teammate, Dr. Andy Baldwin. As the paramedics on scene kept urging me to go to the hospital to get my wounds clean, I just kept thinking that I’d REALLY prefer if Andy looked at them first before I go to the hospital and deal with more hospital charges. I am also very thankful for Darren Mounts, for sticking behind with me and waiting for SAG Monkey to come pick us up and take us back to the house; as well as helping convince me that I should let Andy look at my wounds first. Also, I want to thank all my teammates, not only the ones who either turned around or stopped to check on me as I was laying on the ground post-crash, but also everyone who gave me words of encouragement and have checked on me since camp ended. Thank you, Jesse Moore, for packing my bike in order for me to fly home with it. Thank you to my roommate, Cameron, who just accepted a position in Neuroscience ICU at the University of Missouri-Columbia, for answering all my questions and helping wrap my bandages. It’s definitely nice to have your roommate be a nurse when you crash your bike. Thank you to Elite Cycling for assessing the damage I did to my bike and getting it fixed. And thanks to Rustici Wellness Center for getting me back in adjustment as the crash did a number on my neck and hips–I was certainly out of alignment. Nick and Jeff at SAG Monkey were phenomenal providing support for all our rides and preparing rice cakes for us. And finally, thanks to Ritch and EMJ for organizing and hosting the camp. I’m already looking forward to camp next year.