The Webmaster is currently absent; this report will be posted in full along with a very nice picture of Bev, on the Webmaster's return to the UK.
WORLD TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS – GOLD COAST AUSTRALIA SEP 2009
Having trained and raced well all season, it was a devastating blow to be knocked off my bike by a fellow competitor in the last domestic race before flying to Australia. I was on lap 5 of 8 at Dorney Lakes when another cyclist cut across me, locking their back wheel with my front and inevitably leaving me with no control and nowhere to go except down. He, of course carried on and left me sliding across the grass (thankfully not the tarmac) landing very heavily on my shoulder and head. Stunned, bleeding and probably stupidly, I got back on the bike for my last 3 laps and also to complete the 10k run, both in pain but slightly numbed out with the adrenalin. After being patched up by St Johns and undergoing some mobility checks on my shoulder, I knew there were no breaks or dislocation. The only question now would be if I would be able to use it to swim in 10 days time. Hurrah for arnica, ibuprofen and ice - all of which were used in abundance. Hurrah too for helmets – mine was written off with a large crack on one side.
I had the following day off and then ran and cycled but only on machines – I was paranoid about training outside and tripping over, and I couldn’t have safely controlled a bike in traffic with 1 arm! By day 3 I ventured into the 20m pool and was able to swim 1 length (rather gingerly) at a time (for a whole 12 lengths!) the next day I managed 20 then it was Heathrow bound to catch my flight.
7 flying hours to Dubai followed by another 13 to Brisbane makes it a long journey, and then a long day to follow with the gain of 9 hours. Luckily, I don’t suffer greatly with jet lag and getting into the new time zone was relatively easy. On arrival I went for an easy jog to get the blood flowing again then built my bike to check it survived the baggage handlers. This was also my first time back on the bike and I felt very apprehensive and cautious for those 20 minutes.
The following morning we arranged to meet at 0600 to beat the traffic and recce the bike route. This time on the bike I had greater confidence and knew that neither the bike nor the run would be a problem, but I still couldn’t swim! A trip to the ocean the next day confirmed that my shoulder could adapt and survive the rotation of front crawl, albeit without much power, so my next decision was whether to race in the aquathlon (2.5k run 1km swim 2.5k run) or just wait out for the main triathlon race.
The aquathlon was on the afternoon of Weds 9th, and under clear blue skies and with the water temperature at 22 degrees, I decided to race. It was a good decision. The first run was fast as to be expected over a 2.5k sprint but I did find myself swimming cautiously and trying to move out of the way if anyone was near my left shoulder. The 2nd run felt even faster although the times indicated that it wasn’t. I ended up 9th in my age group which I was very pleased with and in addition now knew for sure that I could survive the 1500 swim in the main race.
The water temperature fluctuated between 20 and 21 over the next couple of days meaning that wetsuits would almost certainly be optional rather than banned. The early morning air temperature tended to be a little cool, although it didn’t take long to get warm. Therefore the majority of athletes did opt to wear their wetsuits. The 1500m swim was point to point, having to walk to the start and then swim parallel to the beach to exit at the bike transition point. The 40k bike route was 2 x 20k loops on a very flat and fast road. There was very little time between age group waves making the bike course extremely busy and dangerous at times. By the time I started my run, I witnessed huge groups of cyclists riding in a peleton and it was impossible for the race referees to break them up. Many athletes were displeased with being caught up with a group, whilst others enjoyed the ride and posted some very fast times. The 10k run was also flat and whilst many started to wilt in the heat of the day, I soaked it all up and continued to cruise through the runners ahead of me.
I had hoped for a top 10 but ended up 14th in my age group. I don’t want to dwell on my shoulder injury and think it hampered me, as under the circumstances I couldn’t have done any better on the day. Now I’ve stopped beating myself up, I guess that out of the start list of 70 in my age group, 14th wasn’t too bad really.
Many thanks as always, to the RAF Sports lottery who have supported both me and RAF Triathlon over a number of years.