Thursday, October 17, 2013

Building Character

It's been a long while since I updated my blog and I was actually scared I had forgotten the pass word to my account.

Here's a quick recap of my fun/frustrating filled summer and fall of racing.

Tartu European Cup:
I decided after Edmonton World Cup to do a low key sprint distance European Cup in Tartu, Estonia at the end of July. It was my first solo trip (without a coach, teammates, parents) so it was a little scary but a fun adventure. The Danish athletes were very accommodating to me and I quickly became good friends with them. Soon we were chanting our moto "We're red white and dynamite!". This event was my first European Cup so I didn't know what to expect. I managed to lead out of the swim (which was a huge surprise) and coming out of T1 I hammered the first 5 minutes of the bike to only look back and see that no one had gone with me. I ended up soloing the 20km ride with a gap of 30 seconds. This really paid off for me as I was only passed by 3 girls and managed to finish 4th. My run split actually fast for the first time in years. I was really proud of my result. The perfect confidence booster that I needed.

The video of the race is below. I get some pretty good camera time:)

Ottawa Provnicials:
Two weeks after Tartu I was racing again at our Provincial Draft Legal Championships in Ottawa. The water quality was not safe for the athletes to swim in so it was changed into a duathlon. I had fun with this race and won it overall.

Karlovy Vary European Cup:
After a string of good racing I decided last minute to give Karlovy Vary European Cup a shot. This race is where my luck turned. After having a good swim that put me in lead pack, on the first loop of the bike my chain dropped and I lost the pack. I managed to get my chain back on and was picked up by the chase pack. I was little frustrated but the race wasn't over and our pack was actually cutting time on the lead pack. On the last loop where the hill was my chain dropped again but this time my derailleur hanger broke and my bike was done. I had 2km left to get to transition, so I decided to run my bike in and finish the race. My legs were feeling great and I didn't want to finish the race like that. As I came into T2 my pack had just finished their first lap so I joined in and ran 3 loops with them. Unfortunately there are no pictures of me racing but if you had seen me, I had bike grease everywhere. On my hands, suit and all over my face from trying to fix my bike. I looked like I had gotten beaten up. Medics were waiting for me at the finish line thinking I had crashed. It gave them a good laugh. I was dissapointed and upset about the race but mechanical issues happen and it was out of my control. (yes I did get a tune up and check over of the bike before I left for the trip)

After my race I decided to stay in Europe for two weeks and visit my grandparents in Slovakia. I took advantage of the beautiful Slovakian Alps and got in some wicked riding. I did a few climbs that were spectacular and had a blast. Unfortunately on the last day of my visit strike 2 of bad luck hit me. I was in bike crash and landed on my elbow. I saw a doctor and he gave me the clear from breaks. I thought it would be healed in time for my double header in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Four weeks leading up to my two races was filled with as much rehab as possible. Training was not consistent and hard, I would take one step forward and then two steps back. I kept getting told that I was going to be okay for races and I really wanted to race. I think I was a little too optimistic but I was mentally eager and hungry to race even if that meant not being at my fittest.

Cozumel World Cup:
Arriving to Mexico I was a little skeptical as to how the race would go, I knew my preparation was not ideal going into the race. I was going off of the fitness I had built from the year. With a weak swim this meant I had to chase on the bike and missed both of the packs. It was a frustrating race for me but I fought all the way to the finish like.

San Juan Pan American Cup:
San Juan was only a week after Cozumel and at this point I hoped that another week of rehab on the arm would help to produce a better result. Although my elbow was feeling much better going into the race my feel for the water was a bit lost. Once again it showed that my normal swimming abilities weren't there. Coming out the water too far back put me in a compromised position and I did as best as I could to ride 40km in the heat solo. Once again not a great result for me. It was an incredible opportunity and a very big learning experience.

Now that I am back at home an ultra sound had confirmed that indeed I have a tiny hairline fracture in the radial head of my radial bone. This was something that was missed in the initial diagnosis and x-rays. I am taking a breather and letting my body heal. The cool thing is that I am taking human anatomy this semester so I am learning along with the doctors about my injury.

It seems at though for the past couple months I have had various strikes of bad luck. It has been a tough time for me but every athlete goes through their struggles and builds to our character.