August 14th 2010, the Stansbury tri. I arrived there too late to do a pre ride or run which was a little bit of a let down…. but no worries! Now just to get my wetsuit on and get a few strokes in before the horn blows. Lining up with all the ladies to enter the water for a practice swim I could smell this horrible smell, something like sulfur and poo, duck poo to be exact. Everyone agreed that getting in this stagnant cesspool would be a challenge. So holding off until the last second I dove into an overpowering smell of poo and mold, I don’t know how I got mold but it smelled rank! The gun went off and we are all swimming in this water that is a little chunky, duck poo floating around your head as you take a breath… nearing the halfway point of the swim I went to take a breath when all of a sudden, “what is in my mouth!?”
It was a chunk, a chunk of poo! I went to spit it out just as the thought, taste, and texture hit my brain, the inevitable and irreversible gag reflex starts! Yes, Vomit in the water. I don’t know if you have ever hurled while swimming but it was a new one for me! Pausing for a brief moment to ensure that all the feces was out of my mouth, and head back down I finished my swim.
Finally, I was out and able to jump on the bike!!! Racing off I didn’t even realize that my timing chip had fallen off in transition. I pedaled with all I had to try and catch up to all the swimmers that passed me while I was in the middle of a duck poo hurl. Racing up to the turnaround point, I noticed some gravel, I braked slowly and find my back wheel is sliding out from under me, I tried to pedal to get a hold of my bike but the crank is stuck! I go down, sliding on the gravel into the shoulder of the road. I got back up in a hurry embarrassed and frustrated that all the people I passed up to this point are barreling past me. (What I did not know that from this fall, my skewer in the back wheel had become loose and was halfway out on one side) I jumped on my bike and passed everyone that I passed for the 2nd time… I started to feel better about the race and I start pedaling harder. There is a gradual turn up ahead so I slightly pressed on the brake getting ready for the turn. And “POP” there is an awful sound! My body had no time to react and I was thrown across the road still attached to my bike I slide 10 feet coming to a halt around the corner from where I had started. Stunned, in pain and feeling completely lame I tell all the cyclists to keep going, the cyclists I had just passed two times to get to this point in the race. I laid there with my back wheel out of my forks, bleeding all over the road and wondering what kind of a person CRASHES TWICE in one race!!!??? Due to the fact that I had been laying contemplating my stupidity it gave the race support guy time to get to me. I told him I was fine, popped my wheel back on and slowly raced off. I passed a couple people, then more and slowly I got back into my racing groove. When I came across the group that I had passed twice, I got the racing spirit again, and passed them now for the 3rd time!!! I rushed into transition bike shoe torn, shorts ripped, and skin hanging ready for the run.
I started out running and realized that due to the nature of my fall while in aero position the inside of my arm and underarm was severely scraped and running with proper form was almost unbearable. The first 1.5 miles I ran goofy with my arm in the air, but by the second lap I was in my groove and the pain was nearly invisible. Coming into the finish line I then realized I had no chip!!! I shouted my race number so that they could be sure to get my time hoping all would go well. I sat down next to a friend after getting all bandaged up to wait for her to receive her award for being top female overall. I was feeling oddly euphoric and felt good despite the random events… when all of a sudden I heard my name called… what?? I had placed first in my division?? I got up feeling taken back… how could this have happened even with a race like today?
Standing on the podium, I realized that this race was my favorite race ever. I have raced 11 races this season and Stansbury happens to be my favorite. I learned many valuable lessons.
And if there is anything that I want you the reader to remember about this experience it is this…. (read with the voice of Morgan Freeman from the Visa Commercials in your mind)
Poo in mouth during swim 2 extra minutes
1st crash on gravel 2 extra minutes
2nd crash on turn 6 extra minutes
Coming in 1st place after all that… PRICELESS