This weekend was the 2nd annual Barrelman triathlon. Like Muskoka 70.3 it was on my list for 2 reasons, 1 great venue and great atmosphere and the other reason REDEMPTION. After creeping the field the week going into the race I had a feeling there could be between 3 and 5 guys coming off the bike really close and doing battle on the run. I had a feeling I was going to be the fastest swimmer in the pro field, and I wanted to make the other guys have to work right from the gun chasing me. So far things were going according to plan. I was up about 45s exiting the water, and after a little mishap not being able to find the bag for my wetsuit I was onto the bike. With the unusual wind we had Sunday we were going to have a slight tailwind pushing us for the first 20k before doing a square down to the lake and then a slight headwind the way to Niagara Falls. With the thought of the headwind for nearly 50k I didn't want to push to hard in the first 20. So I relaxed on the bike, and let the power numbers come to me instead of pushing to get them up. Things were working out I felt comfortable, and I was only 1w below my target. At about 35k though my race and season came to a very abrupt halt.
Every now and then I hear stories online about people riding off the road or hitting gigantic objects, and I always thought they had to be idiots, blind, or both. Now it has happened to me though, and I think I will have to reassess my stance on the issue. At about 35km we were supposed to make a left hand turn at a t intersection. For some reason my brain didn't send the message to my body to turn, and I went splat right into the front wheel of the police cruiser that was parked at the intersection to direct traffic.
I have now had about 24 hours to think about what happened, and try to figure out how it happened. To be honest I'm still not really sure. I saw the corner, I heard the lead moto sound his sirens to let the officer at the corner know racers were coming, but for some reason I still thought it was better to try and take the short cut through the field instead of making the corner. I've suffered this similar lack of brain function after hard workouts when it seems like the brain just does not receive enough oxygen as everything is going to your muscles. My parents who come to most of my races often comment on the number of dumb things triathletes do that go against all common sense (I guess at the accident scene an age grouper who was in a constant stream of athletes decided to turn right instead of left, these things just don't make sense).
The good news is that I am still all in one piece just a little heartbroken that I couldn't finish this wonderful season the way I wanted to. I cannot say the same about my bike though. Upon impact the steer tube came right through the head tube. Surprisingly though the rest of the bike is in good shape for hitting a car at about 45kph, flying 10 feet in the air into a traffic sign, and then falling to the ground. My front wheel some how stayed in one piece, but I want to find somewhere to check it just to make sure it doesn't have a crack that I can't see. And my disc was actually borrowed by one of the competitors who got a flat at the same corner (I knew him and trusted him to get it back to me and he did). He was able to ride it to one of the top ag spots so at least my misfortune helped someone else. So I must say both Zipp (the disc) and Easton (front wheel) make excellent wheels, and Felt bikes are pretty strong to only suffer one noticeable crack after that.
This morning I am struggling to walk because I think when I hit the car both my quads hit the fender. I have a huge bruise on the left leg and the right one is a bit smaller. It feels like I have the worst charlie horse of my life. I can't complain though because I think looking back I am pretty lucky it didn't end up worse. A guardian angel somewhere was looking out for me. I planned on taking a week or two off after Barrelman so I will be able to handle laying on the couch and drinking beer a little better now since moving is a struggle anyway.
Thanks to John and the rest of the MultiSport crew. The Odyssey medical crew was superb and made sure I was ok before the ambulance arrived to take me to the hospital, and Colin was super helpful making sure I was well taken care of. I look forward to seeing everyone at the end of the year banquet and next summer for another great season.
It is now time for me to think about what I want to do next year. I think I had some great breakthroughs this year and things are trending in the right direction. I would love to travel to some more of the big races in the US to really put things to the test, but I will always keep a few of the MSC races in my calendar because that is where you go to see family.