MTB Crash at Rapid Ascent X-Adventure!

Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 16:10

TriathlonOz - Michelle

Last weekend I was in Dunsborough for the X-Adventure offroad triathlon. 3 events were held over the weekend, with both a Short Course and Kids race on the Saturday and the Long Course on the Sunday.

I drove down in my car with some of the Team E girls on Friday and carried 4 bikes on my rear carrier, and another 2 ladies came in a second car. Our holiday house was nestled amongst the bushland just 1 block back from the event HQ so was very convenient for all the tooing and froing we would be doing. It was just perfect, as was the weather. We all spent the afternoon familiarising ourselves with the layout of the swim and run course.

The Short Course was a midday start on Saturday so Anthea and I thought we'd take the opportunity to see exactly what lay ahead for Sunday's race by riding the course on Saturday morning. We came across a few others on the track and rode in a group of 4. The course for race day was 2 laps of a 12km loop track passing back through transition and the drink station and spectator crowd. We only planned to do one lap to save our legs but I only made it about 8km before I had a crash.

There is no denying that its a technical single track with lots of fast turns, steep inclines, rocky bridges, made all the more challenging due to dry conditions and lots of pea gravel. I only had one crash of the day but I made it a good one.

Came down off probably the 2nd steepest hill of the course a bit too fast for the loose gravel and the obstacles below and I think I simply over-steered and had my weight too far forward. I came down hard on my right knee (with my foot still on the pedal/cleated in) but didn't tumble over the handlebars - just stopped dead on the knee. It hurt very much for about 40 seconds then the pain subsided enough for me to stand up, test my legs, and so I got back on my bike and continued the rest of the ride. There was only a small graze with a little blood below the point of my knee but a bruise appeared instantly above my knee cap. It dampened my confidence for the next obstacles significantly and I just didn't feel the same but we managed to get back but truth be told I was not too keen to ride the loop again!

I made it back to our house and got ice on it immediately and rested for a few hours and when the girls doing the short course headed off I had to concede that I wasn't going anywhere. Swelling around my knee had started and I knew it was best to keep it elevated.

By 3pm Anthea and I thought we should head back to event HQ to see the girls come in from the trail run and head out on their bikes. Being so close, we thought a quick 800m pedal on our MTBs wouldn't be a problem but as soon as I brought my leg up for a full rotation, my knee screamed out in agony and I knew I was in trouble. Still hopeful it would all settle down in a few hours, I single-leg pedalled to the event and stood in line to pick up our free event t-shirt (being one of the first 500 competitors to enter) and get our race packs (timing chips, bike number plate, race number tattoos etc). But standing in line became excruciatingly painful for me and I broke down in tears right when they smiled and handed over my race bag. I was staring in the face of my first DNS and it was a miserable feeling.

Being in public, I guess I tried to stifle my emotions and tried to soak up the atmosphere. After all, this event was to be a highlight of my season. I'd been training well, my fitness was up, my running had been improving and I'd had no interruptions with injuries and seem to have fully recovered from previous left knee/ITB problem. It was my first experience at an off-road triathlon, my first event away from David and the kids, my first trail run, and my first MTB event. It was also going to be my last triathlon for the season because unlike most of my friends training for the half ironman at Busselton, I had entered as a team not an individual for this year, so for me, this was my race!

I sat around cheering all the girls through their transitions from run to bike and through their second laps but I couldn't walk over to the finish line and ended up in the first aid area where I was told to go to hospital. I convinced them I would after I got home so a very kind man got his ute and put my bike in the back and me in the front and drove me around to the house.

Talking it over with the girls and Miriam who is an orthopedic nurse in Perth, we decided it would be best if I iced and rested on the lounge until tomorrow and left going to hospital for when I got back to Perth. As I wasn't in any great pain, just tolerable discomfort it was a case of just waiting it out. I freely admit to feeling dejected watching Anthea setup her gear for the race that night and somewhat traitorous knowing she'd be on her own for something we'd planned to do together. It was tough to see her now having to be the only one in the house yet to race (we were all on the wine, chips, chocolate, and bubbles)!

When Sunday came, I was feeling rather numb to the whole thing and stayed put laying on the lounge watching all the American crap on 7Mate TV! The knee had swollen up like a football and I had almost no range of movement so couldn't bend. Getting dressed, weight bearing on the right foot, and therefore walking was not possible and I needed to grab onto the walls and furniture for balance and support.

Lee-Anne was wonderful and just took over the task of driving my car so when it was time to see Anthea cross the finish line, she drove us there, got me a chair and a wine and we stayed for the enjoyable part - the presentations! Miriam got 1st female in the Masters Category, & Bill got 3rd in his category so it was nice to share these moments with our North Coast team mates before the long drive back to Perth.

Poor Lee-Ann and Sue who I'd driven down were tired from their previous day's event but knew that I certainly couldn't drive. Lee-Ann had a problem with her contact lens and her eye was sore but she drove and entertained us with her constant chatter, the whole way. Sue was swatting for her anatomy test (Cert 3 Fitness) and I was lounged out in the back seat with an ice pack trying not to be a terrible back-seat driver!

There was no way I was going to the hospital on a Sunday night, so we left that to Monday morning. My xray showed no bone break but soft-tissue damage requires an MRI to investigate. At this stage I have been told to suspect its an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear, so in a few days when the swelling has gone down, I'll get the visit with the orthopedic specialist, get an MRI scan, and no doubt it will be surgery to repair it so I can get back riding, running and swimming asap! The last disappointment was the decision made last night - our team pulled out of the Busselton Half.
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