Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Timberman 70.3...the aftermath (Part 2)

This post is gonna be long one too and not for the faint of heart with the attached pictures. Just warning you...

Well, my race recap was one thing...but dealing with the results of the day is entirely another. I would've loved to just walked through the finish area and right into the med tent like I did at Syracuse (yes, two 70.3s and two trips to the med tent. That actually hurt to write). Instead I had to walk all the way around, through transition, out the "run out" gate to get to the med tent. Yes, I know I was in pain and I might not have been "right of mind" (then again, when am I EVER that?!) but that was stupid but the only way to get to the med tent.

As I walked up behind a gentlemen getting a blister attended to (really? a freaking blister dude?!) I was asked curtly "what's wrong with you?". Now look, I understand that I'm not decapitated and/or gushing blood and I don't expect Florence-Fucking-Nightinggale to be in the med tent at an Ironman event but I've had people going by me all day with looks of horror, asking me if I'm ok and telling me I need medical attention to include Andy Potts (by the way, I forgot to mention that there were these mirrors a person had set out on the course with "Look at this Rockstar" on them as you ran by. I saw myself in the mirror going out on the second loop and I had a look of horror when I saw how bad I looked) so why don't you do some quick assessment and see that I'm not here for a splinter! I would've loved to have said any or all of that. Instead, because I was at the point of being hammered crap I just uttered "crashed on the bike, think I cracked a rib" and turned to show my shoulder/back. Well, that changed everything. I quickly got walked to a stretcher in the tent.

The damage to me
A medic came over to look at me and ask if I could get my arm above my head and asked "how attached are you to the singlet?" because he was going to cut it off. "Um, I've been racing in the singlet for 3 years, there is now way in hell you're cutting it off me! I'll lift my arm!" I replied. Once he got the singlet off...we could really see how bad the damage was. I knew when the medic called for a must've been worse than I thought. What was visible down to mid torso was: the deep road rash from stretching from my left elbow, across the left shoulder (big chunk of meat taken off the top by the asphalt) across my back to the right shoulder. I tore off the end of my left pinkie finger and ripped up my right thumbnail that accounts for all the blood and my stuck together fingers), and took a large chuck out of my left elbow (you can see in the picture it was dark. I thought there was a rock in it and that's why I couldn't get comfortable in aero but it turns out that was just blood in a hole I gauged out). The busted blood vessels and bruising under my left arm is what got the doc called over. I knew I'd hurt my ribs, I just didn't know how bad. The doc put his hands around my rib cage on the left side, put his thumbs on the ribs and as he asked me "How does this feel?"...squeezed. I let out a noise I don't think I've ever made before in my life (enough to get EVERYONE'S attention in the med tent and surrounding area) just as I (and he) felt this cracking sound in my rib cage. "Ok, ok" he said, "Well you definitely bruised them and cracked at least one from the impact. There's no protrusions so you know you're just gonna have to fight through it while it heals". Sadly, I did know all that. I figured that was going to be the case but I wanted a real doc to check and confirm my suspicions.

I walked out of the tent in a sling, with the guidance of rest and take Advil for pain. Jesus, how many times had I heard that in my life?! I put on a "I'm lucky" and "I made the best of the day" face on...but inside I was dying. I had this race dialed in. I was having a killer day. I was quietly working toward a sub 5:30 (or faster) half Iron. Now that was all gone and I'm left with another "great story" about a race gone bad. Second 70.3 in a row I had to have J go recover my gear from transition. People keep walking by and offer their apologies and asking if I finished. Of course I fucking finished! ...but thank you for asking. I just wanted to get out of there, go the hotel, get changed, get a shower, put on my race shirt (I earned that puppy) and get some food.  It wasn't until I got back to the hotel and got my shorts off to take that shower that I saw there was even more damage in the form of a swollen bruise the size of grapefruit on my left hip (I guess I hit my hip hard on the asphalt too) and road rash/bruise on my left thigh from the impact as well. I stood there, looking at myself in the mirror (if you know me, you KNOW I hate looking at myself in the mirror) devastated. I will say that I was proud of myself for dragging that busted body in the mirror through 60 tough miles. Once again, I proved that I'll accomplish what I set my mind too...but I'm tired of doing it the hard way. Could I just have one damned easy thing or something go right?! The mantra my whole life has been Nietzche's "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger" (a mantra I plan on having tattooed on me as soon as this season is over) but for once, just once could I have anything difficult in my life go easy?!

The damage to my gear
After a shower, cleaning out and dressing of the damage (I forgot how much water and assorted ointments sting) it was time to assess the damage to my gear and most important to my Cervelo P2. That P2 means everything to me and my purchase of it made me feel like a "legit" triathlete. The thought that it was skinned up or even worse was not one I could think about while no the course.  Seems hitting the pavement at 28mph isn't just destructive to the human body. So, from top right going clockwise: my Giro helmet took the brunt of the impact (you can see the impact area and crack along the top of the helmet) and will need to be replaced. My left shoe/foot hit so hard the asphalt dug into the shoe and broke the carbon fiber sole and will need to be replaced. My left Look pedal (yes, those are older PP256's but I was given a few sets years ago and I love them) got chewed up and lost a big chunk. The left braker lever got shredded and broke from the hit (thankfully I still had the rear brake for the rest of the race and I couldn't use my left hand anyway) and will need to be replaced. I took out a 1/4 gouge out of the left side of the aero bar and it will need to be replaced. The left rear skewer on my SRAM S60 wheels is trashed. I hit the pavement and skidded so far that the end of the skewer got chewed off (definitely will have to be replaced). I can't believe my bike held together for another 47 miles and I held together for another 13.1 miles on the run! No wonder I had so many people pass me and ask if I was ok!

So it seems that both me and my gear were beaten up and broken from the day. Its funny that I have a joke about the Iron Man the comic book character. There's this pristine, shiny panted version that gets the job done and nothing goes wrong...and then there's the "battle damaged" version that's all beaten and scarred up from a fight that was won but was tough as hell. Me and damn near everything I do seems to always be the latter...and that Iron Man version will be tattooed on my body very soon...hopefully inside the Ironman "m-dot" logo after I finish a full to get back to training...


  1. Hey I think stories like this is way more inspiring because you preservered and finished the race in that state-- at least from an outsider's perspective. I know you really wanted to hit your goal time in this race but you should feel SUPER proud of yourself for finishing--- most people would just give up!

    Did that woman who cut you off ever apologize?

    1. Thank you but I hope my next one is easy and I beat my goal times :)

      Nope, she just cut me off and rode away...