London felt like a waiting game. After Stockholm, the length of training sessions decreased, while intensity increased. I had more energy and time. I couldn’t believe it was time to pack up everything I’d collected in Vitoria since May. Thankfully Pat was there to help (or maybe force) me to donate a lot of clothes in order to find room in our suitcases. We departed our Vitoria home sad to leave, but excited for London. I arrived in London eager to see team USA. It had been almost a year since I’d seen some of the Junior and U23 girls. They seemed relaxed and confident the night before their race. The junior women couldn’t have started the weekend any better. USA’s Tamara Gorman brought home the W. She has a very bright future; and I’m sure this is the first of many World Championship titles for the talented, sweet, young lady. The next highlight of the weekend was watching my training partner and vegetarian foodie, Charlotte McShane, take home the U23 World Championship title. Charlotte is one of the best training partners. She shows up ready to rock every single workout. Her work ethic and dedication to the sport is unparalleled. The way she trains, and now competes, shows the world that she is one to watch out for! All of my training partners had amazing races, making me even more confident in my ability for Saturday’s race.
We were prepared for the wet and the cold. We practiced what worked to keep me warm, as we refused to have a repeat of Auckland. I want to give a special thanks to USAT for helping me secure pool time at wicked hours to prepare me for the early race start.
I walked on the pontoon nervous, excited, and ready. My fitness was ideal. Since Stockholm, I only felt stronger on the bike, swim, and of course, on the run. I dove in and was able to get on Emma Moffat’s fast feet. I was pulled and yanked around the first buoy, but quickly turned it around and kept focused. I exited the first lap knowing I was in the front group and I felt strong. The beginning of the second lap seemed to slow at first, and then surge around the buoys and towards the end. I was in a bit of fighting, but managed to stay in the hunt, arriving in T2 in the middle of the front pack.
Wetsuit off. Helmet on. Bike mounted. Now, it was time for me to find some good wheels. Non was right there, along with Ashleigh Gentle. There were a lot of strong girls who quickly formed a group of about 20. I was riding in good position, and feeling comfortable on the bike. The rain started to fall and the temperatures began to drop.
Then it all went wrong. I wish I knew what happened, but all I remember is being on the ground. I don’t remember a thing. Someone said I may have stood up, but I watched the replay and it didn’t look that way to me. I don't remember grabbing my brakes. I had the best equipment. My tire pressure was low (70psi). And everything we did prepared me for the best possible outcome; however, I ended up dazed, confused, and in a bit of shock. I remember getting back on my bike and thinking, Ouch, my hands hurt. I looked at the palms of my hands but they weren’t even red. Strange. You must be fine. OK, you know a group is coming, along with the Anne Haug train. Just stay focused. You are still in this!
The next thing I knew two groups had come and gone. I remember some girls yelling words of encouragement, but nothing worked. I had to call it a day.
As I limped off the course, the crowd gave me a standing ovation. I was confused and overwhelmed at the same time. I didn’t feel like I deserved it – I didn’t even finish the race, but I was so appreciative and humbled by the support.
I got to the medical tent and was hysterical. All I wanted was to see Pat and Jamie. Thank you Jono Hall for quickly finding my support crew. The docs kept asking if I was alright and I could barely manage to nod my head. I was nauseous, aching, sore, throbbing, and in a lot of pain. I had a deep wound on my hip (I bled through many bandages and I still can’t walk without pain), and other abrasions on my elbows. I was hurting physically, but the worst hurt was how gutted I was.
At the beginning of the season when Jamie and I talked about what I wanted to accomplish this year, it wasn’t one, two, or three WTS wins, but it was to improve my swim and do well in the overall and at San Diego and London. Here I was in great shape, ready to race the best women in the world, and I still don’t know what happened. It was either bad luck, or an error on my part that in the rain turned into a race-ender.
Congratulations to Non on the win, and Non, Jodie, and Anne in the overall. Those girls are not only amazing athletes, but also inspiring and genuine. I look forward to seeing everyone next year on the circuit.
I can’t thank those around me enough. The support I’ve received from friends, family, and people I don’t even know has been incredible. I want to apologize for not being able to respond to each one of you personally. Please know your words and thoughts have meant the world to me. This sport is too hard to dwell on the bad, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to begin the next step in my target objective of gold in Rio.
I want to give a special thank you to my sponsors for understanding and being accommodating and supportive after the race. Thank you USAT, Heather Novickis, my family, my friends, my fans, and all those who watched in the USA at 2am. I’m grateful I was able to surround myself with those I love and care about after the race instead of being stuck in an ER or something worse. I may have not been able to finish the race, but I still have my health, motivation, and smile. Thank you to the medical staff, to Doctor Andy Gerken for changing my bandages and to Emma Snowsill for her moral support. Jamie, Pat, and (massage therapist) Beata were incredible. I couldn’t have asked for better backing – you guys dealt with me when even I didn’t know how to deal with myself. Also, I want to give a huge thank you to my training partners. I was so happy to be able to say goodbye (for the next three months) to most of you in person; know that you are a huge part of my success. Thank you also for your encouragement, words, friendship, drive, and dedication to this sport.
I am very excited for this fall at home: #eatcation, mountain biking, cyclocross, family and friends. This blog is getting long, so I’ll stop for now and am open to suggestions for the next post...
How my season ended
Going for a jog in London
Watching the girls race while eating some grub
Post race smile