F1, St. Anthony’s, Mallorca Camp, FGP Dunkerque, WTS Madrid, FGP Les Sables, and my Future Plans.
After WTS San Diego I stuck around for the F1 super sprint race on Wednesday. Even though I had recovered well, something happened during the race that messed me up big time. I don’t know if I was having allergies or if I was just sick, but my entire body shut down. I ended up dropping out on the first run because I couldn’t breathe and my heart rate was extremely high. Greg Welch who was announcing took my HR when I dropped out, and after three minutes it was still 190!
After that race my body was absolutely destroyed. I was supposed to race St Anthony’s in Florida the upcoming weekend as well, but ended up sleeping for literally the next three days.
After a week back in Clermont of extremely easy training and recovery I was finally back to normal and ready to start my European season. To start things off we had a 3 week long camp in Mallorca, Spain - a beautiful island off the coast of actual Spain. One of my squad mates, Mario Mola, is a hero in Mallorca as it’s where he grew up. With his prestige, “El Jefe” and the ministry of tourism hooked us up! We lived at a hotel with a buffet breakfast and dinner, right on the ocean within walking distance of the pool and access to an amazing track center…. All for FREE!
It was an amazing camp and I had the best riding I’ve had since being back in Santa Cruz. The only bad thing was that ever since San Diego I had been having ankle and shin issues and hadn’t been running. Lots of aqua jogging and elliptical made up the majority of my “running sessions” but this meant I was swimming and biking better than ever.
From the camp in Mallorca I was supposed to race the French Grand Prix in Dunkerque but there was a mix up with my team and I ended up not getting a start. Because of that I stayed with Richard Murray in Mallorca for an extra week and flew straight to WTS Madrid.
I got to Madrid on Thursday just before race briefing and was feeling alright. The next day I did a bike ride with Mario and Kyle Jones and we did a five minute build up the Madrid course hill. We rode hard, and I was having trouble breathing but I just figured it was because the effort was intense. By the time race day came around I had been having trouble sleeping and I was very nervous about the race – More nervous then is normal or healthy. I just went on with my normal pre-race routine and hit the start line as ready as I could be.
During the swim I had a clear start and got on good feet right away and tried to conserve as much energy as possible so I would be ready for the first lap of the bike. I swam on feet the whole time so that I could just cruise and that plan worked perfectly. Despite placing myself well, my arms felt odd during the second lap and I was having issues getting a proper amount of air in which wasn’t allowing me to relax. When we were running to our bike I had a good transition and was perfectly positioned, but by the time I got to the top of the hill I was absolutely gasping for air and was having similar symptoms to the F1 race. But I learned from that mistake and decided to call it a day right then at the top of the hill. I realized that was a crappy place to stop because then I would have to walk all the way back down to transition so I decided to keep riding until I got back to transition. So I rode back down and then got off my bike. My chest hurt for a couple days afterwards but I was able to recover much quicker because I stopped and didn’t push myself over the limit. I’m pretty sure I was having allergy issues in Madrid and at the F1 race that were causing me to have asthmatic symptoms and am going to get tested for anything that will hinder me in the future.
I ended up staying in Madrid with Jarrod Shoemaker, Mario Mola, and Carol Routier for another week before flying to the FGP Les Sables race. The whole week I was having breathing issues but still got some okay training in. At this point I decided to just not run at all to let my ankle and shin fully recover, which was a good decision. Even though I felt my body was ready to go I forced myself to not run and it paid off.
By the time I traveled from Madrid to Les Sables my body was fully recovered and there was no pain in my chest or in my ankle or shin. I love being near the ocean and being able to breath what I consider to be the freshest air ever! I ended up running for 20 minutes before the race and felt like a super hero. I was so happy to be back to normal. I was really excited about this race too because the swim was a long “750m” swim (12.5 minutes) and the bike was extremely technical and hilly so that a breakaway was more likely to stay away. My team mate Raoul exited the water with about 15 seconds on me, but I had a good transition and bridged up to him after about two minutes on the bike. When I got to him I was feeling the best I’ve felt in a race since Sarasota and was ready to rock and roll. At the top of the hill I tightened my right shoe, then we started going downhill and I bent down to tighten my left shoe, and so I was just focused on tightening my shoe and staying on Raoul’s wheel. At this point it was raining and the road was nice and slick. Another factor was that Raoul and I had about 10-15 seconds on the next small group of athletes so we were pushing the pace hard. Because of these two things (and being the first athletes on the course) we came in a bit too hot on one of the main first turns. When I looked up after tightening my shoe, I saw the turn as I was able to sneak a peek around Raoul and knew immediately that I was going down. I tried my best to make the turn but there wasn’t anything I could do. I ended up sliding about 15-20m on the road, up a curb, into a bush, and stopping against a light pole underneath the bush (I found out afterwards that Raoul ended up crashing about 5m in front of me as well). For the next minute as I was lying under the bush unable to move, there was about 10 more crashes on that same corner. I had to ride in an ambulance back to the medical tent and get treatment, which was a first for me, but the medics got all the gravel, dirt, grass, and sticks out of my body and cleaned me up nicely.
The day after the race Richard and I had an 11 hour travel day from Les Sables, France to Banyoles, Spain via car, plane, shuttle, train, bus, waiting, and walking. We made it just fine, but it was a hectic travel day after a nasty crash and with everything I own in two bags. I will be based here in Banyoles until I head home in September.
To quote my friend, squad mate, and huge inspiration, Sarah Groff: “Better days to come, I swear – these rough patches are all part of the journey!” … Let the journey continue!