This is my post race write up from the TriCalifornia Alcatraz race.
The week leading into the race was lovely. I threw down a couple of fast bike rides, a couple of fast short runs and a couple of swims...I was as fresh as a daisy.
I got to the hotel Coventry in CA and got my key for the room...much to John Flanegans disapointment as he had no idea we sharing a room. So when my smiling face opened the door he was literally caught with his pants down haha! Just kidding, he wasn't really. And yes...for all you dirty minded individuals out there, we did have our own beds!
Anyway, enough of the trash talk and on to race day!
The weather was freezing...about mid 50's farenheit in the morning, so not actually freezing, but it felt like it. Early start down to transition, on the bus and at the ferry pick up by 6am.
We finally approached the the point out near Alcatraz island where it would seem we all dive to our deaths out at sea from the boat.
The pro's lined up on the ferry ledge and the horn blows! We're off! Straight away I slam into a wave which knocked my goggles off...'great'. Even so I was still fighting hard in the front pack. The waves were insane as they slammed us from side to side. The fog drooped over the Golden Gate bridge in the distance. I was trying to spot the 'Gold Dome' that we were supposed to swim towards 1.9km away to shore..."Where's this fricken Gold Dome?" The waves were high, the tide was strong and I couldn't see sh#t as I swam towards land. I lost the leaders, as because quite frankly, they were just faster than me. The swim was long and tough and some 30 mins later I saw the swim finish banner on land. It turns out I hadn't swam direct to the finish, but instead got pulled further out to the right. I put my head down and made my way across to the finish. I had a bad swim getting out of the the water some 4 minutes or more behind the front pack. But i was relieved to be out of there.
The long 1km run to transition felt more like 10km and I could see all the faster swimmers cycling by me as I made my way to transition...bastards. I eventually reached my biked and set out on the Kestrel 4000 with my new ENVE wheels. I rode alone for the entire ride but still got top 5 fastest bike split. I felt great on the bike and even though I was behind I had a great time smashing those hills and time trialing the flats. I made up considerable time on some of the lead swimmers.
I threw my perfect biking equipment in transition and slid my feet into my new Newton flats. Off I went. I took it easy for the first mile but felt awesome! I passed John Flangegan and ticked along nicely towards the the Golden Gate bridge. I started to feel even better and picked up the pace hard. After about three miles I made it to the famous sand ladders that everyone talks about. Being 'English' my attitude when people said the "sand ladder climb was the hardest climb in the sport" was... "right, I'll be the judge of that thank you". Well, it turns out that it really is tough. There's no chance you can run up them. It felt like the scene from Blades of Glory when they're chasing each other with ice skates on. We were racing but plodding up the hill like old people from a local nursing home.
As soon as I got back to picking up the pace again I approached the down hill wooden steps that last about 50meters. I could almost hear Brian Rhodes ahead of me and I got excited. Flying down the steps like a man posessed. Bit silly really as on the last group of stairs my foot slipped landed side ways on the step below and released a loud crack accompanied by a sharp excrutiating shooting pain. I flew into the rail to my left and shrieked...in a very masculine way of course! I had two miles to go, I was in money position and I needed it so bad. I regained my balance and continued to run as best as I could. I could see Rhodsey just 30 secs in front of me. I was desperate to gain that next position but the shooting pain up my leg was almost unbearable. I knew I had damaged it pretty bad, and I also knew that continuing to run on it was not the smartest thing I could do. But again, I need the money. Over the next mile I was gradually gaining on Brian just 15-20 secs in front of me. The pain hadn't worn off, each step almost made me cry...and I almost never cry, so do the math on that! I eventually met the final run shoot after two miles of the most painful run of my life. I couldn't catch Brian, he finisihed just 12 secs ahead of me. I was just glad to have made the finish line and still pick up some cash.
I immediately got assistance and made my way to the medical tent where the doctors assumed my Tibia could be broken. Hence I spent the next 4 hours in hospital getting x-rays. Everyone was amazed at my bravery in the hospital though, they never said anything, but I knew that's what they were thinking.
I was told that might not be able to fly home that evening...to which I replied "bollocks, I'm making that flight". I really wanted to see my misses Krissy. We had already been away from each other for two days and there's no way she can handle one more night away from me! She never said that either, but I knew that's how she felt...probably. She actually offered to fly to CA to see me, but I said "no babe, don't worry about little old me, I'm fine".
Good news is that the tibia wasn't broken. I just badly tore the ligaments and possible stress fracture.
Anyway, I'm getting back into cycling and swimming with a pull buoy to keep my fitness. I'm booked in to race Cancun in three weeks so lets hope things are good enough to race by then.
Thanks for reading Amigos!
Ciao for now homies.