Last week really felt like I was getting into the big push for nationals. I had several great training sessions on swim, bike and run. I made a couple of small changes to my swim stroke and saw some immediate improvement. Things were looking up!
Then I went out for a group ride on Saturday, which felt fantastic. Right up to the point that I hit a rut, went off the road and crashed.
I would love to say that I was going 40 and only crashed to save the lives of my fellow riders or that I had to sacrifice my skin to keep from hitting a wandering child… or a squirrel… SOMEthing… But, alas, that was not the case. I was following a rider closely and moved slightly to the outside of him when he checked up a bit and didn’t see a gouge in the road (probably caused by a backhoe) in time to avoid it. I simply rode into it and it channeled me right off the road and into a ditch at about 20.
The bike slid out from under me and tumbled gently through the grass. Only a bent rear wheel to show for it. Not even any war wounds or sacrificed bar tape.
I, however didn’t fare so well. Since road was built up about a foot, the drop off caused me to let go of the horns, meaning I was momentarily steering with my chest. As the bike went away from the road, I went into it. My head, shoulder, leg and forearm all making direct contact with the UNsmooth edge of the road. My helmet was dented and cracked. My left elbow and forearm seemed to take the brunt of the impact. It took some serious checking to make sure I didn’t break anything. It has been swollen since Saturday, but is slowly getting better. My shoulder looked like somebody hit it with a cheese grater. I somehow managed to get two sets of scrapes in different directions as well so I have a tic-tac-toe board on my left deltoid. My wardrobe malfunctioned in the form of several small holes in my bike shorts.
In all, it could have been (and I have seen/done) much worse. The road rash isn’t even that bad. The only concern is the swelling in my arm and some pain in my shoulder joint (I probably have a very mild separation). The bike is fine. The only other lasting scar will be on my pride.
It did serve to completely deflate me though. For this to happen right at a time when I really need to be training as much as possible is heartbreaking. I couldn’t even go to the pool this morning because I knew I wouldn’t be able to swim properly.
And this all comes at the point when, upon further analysis, I realize just what kind of a race this is. For me, the worst kind. Club Nationals REALLY favors good swimmers at the Sprint distance. More than any race I have been in. Most sprint distance races have around a 500 yard swim, approximately a 20 mile bike ride and then a 3 mile run. So even if you are a poor swimmer, you have time to make it up on the ride (especially) and the run. But Club Nationals is a 750 yard swim, followed by only a 14 mile ride and then a 3 mile run.
For someone as slow in the water as I am, this equates to up to another MINUTE that someone can gain on me in the water, but I have 6 miles less to make it up on the bike. For me, this means I have to have my best swim ever just to survive, then destroy the short bike course and then run less than 7:30 miles if I want to do anything other than get a finishing point.
Can you see the reason for the depression? I REALLY needed this week to train hard and now it’s gone. Ah well. Nothing to do I guess but go take more Advil, ice my arm and start again tomorrow with a run. I may have to do my bike training on the stationary as well because I don’t think I can afford another helmet right now.