Saturday, May 10, 2008

The New Zealand Curse Continues....

I arrived in New Zealand to rain and cool temperatures on the 1st of April. I was lucky enough to get an amazing homestay family right in New Plymouth, but that is were my luck ended. I woke up the first morning feeling sick as a dog. After calling Heidi to let her know that I caught the bug too, I decided to rest up and try to get better in time for Sunday’s race. Again my great homestay family helped get me everything I needed to recover. By Thursday, Heidi still wasn’t feeling any better either so we both ended up getting antibiotics from the doctor that she was staying with. As soon as I started the antibiotics I felt immediately better; the congestion in my sinuses was still bad but at least the body aches and sore throat weren’t as bad. By Saturday, I was starting to feel better but when I tried to do any hard workouts I wasn’t feeling quite myself just weak and tired. The next day, race day, I woke up feeling not so great and considered skipping the race since I was already high enough in points to race the Olympic Trials. After calling home and breaking down in tears when I couldn‘t get Siri on the phone, I was a mess, I decided to just start the race and stop if I started to really feel much worse.
During my warm-up I felt okay and started to be a bit more optimistic. However, as soon as the swim started things went downhill. The effort required to swim was taking so much more out of me than normal. My arms and legs were sluggish but my heart rate was ticking right along at a high rate. When we exited the swim after the first lap, I was exhausted and wanted to stop right there but decided to focus and actually had a good second lap. Exiting the swim, I was down on the leaders but in a good position to get into the lead pack by the 2nd lap of the bike. During the first lap of the bike, I coalesced around a great group including Lisa Huthaler from Austria and Lisa Norden from Sweden both great riders so I knew we‘d get that front pack very quickly. During the first lap on a short but steep descent, I was following Lisa Huthaler’s line as she pulled abreast of her teammate Kate Allen. Then I remember being shocked as Lisa veered quickly into Kate and away; Lisa’s back wheel hit Kate’s front wheel. I saw Kate wobbling out of control but didn’t have any time to react as she crashed directly in front of me; we were both going well over 35 mph. I don’t remember much of what followed except that the left side of my head hit the pavement very hard. I rolled down the hill for about 15 feet and came to a stop just before I would have hit the curb with my head. My front wheel and helmet were demolished but otherwise my bike was okay. I on the other hand wasn’t in great shape; I had road rash on both hands, forearms, and shoulders not too mention a very sore head. Amazingly my lower body seemed relatively unscathed. The EMTs arrived very quickly and were worried about a concussion especially after seeing my helmet in pieces. Kate Allen was in worse shape than me; she had deep cuts on her hands and face. I think we were both in shock and upset at Lisa’s aggressive bike riding. Kate and I were taken on a bumpy ambulance ride back to the race start then I was taken on another one to the hospital. Again, my homestay family was incredible; they took great care of me every step of the way.
Heidi and my homestay family were amazing in taking care of me and helping to get my bike and everything else packed since I was without my hands. The next day, I headed up and was upgraded to Business class on my Quantas flight home when they say my sad condition. It was pure luxury and probably the last time I will ever see that side of the curtain.
So the New Zealand curse has 2 and I have 0...should I dare try to break it with a trip back next year?

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