A year ago, I raced my very first sprint duathlon at the MultiSport Toronto Island Sprint Duathlon.
I was excited that I finally get to do a race that I’ve done before and I knew exactly what to expect heading into it. Last year, I placed 1st in my age group and I was ready to defend my title this year. This time, my family decided to spectate for the very first time. Hoping to impress them with a great performance, I put my game face on. It started off to be a rainy and cold day but the conditions progressively got better as the start of the race drew closer.
A running coach once said to me to always expect the unexpected. I’ve trained well, fuelled properly, and strategized my race but alas, the unexpected did happen. The gun went off as I ran with the front pack, pacing at 3:43 for my 5km. I had a quick transition and I could see my mom jumping and cheering from a distance. I was having a fantastic race.
Starting off at 38kph on the bike, my confidence was soaring. Then lo and behold, everything sort of fell apart on the bike course. Just before the 10km mark on the bike, I heard a steady hissing sound and at that moment, I knew that I had gotten a flat on my front wheel. I knew that at 36 kph that I could make it back to the transition zone without changing my tire.
Little did I know, the morning rain had left the road slippery and around the 15km turn, my Cannondale slid and I (once again for a 2nd race in a row ☹️) crashed my bike. With a strained wrist, a few bruises, deep cuts and abrasions, I finished the bike (thankfully!) with a flat tire and a deflated but still determined spirit. The look of exhilaration from my parents quickly turned to concern when I rolled into transition looking pretty banged up.
The last run hurt a lot even with adrenaline fuelling my body. “Just finish” was the phrase I was repeating over and over again in my head. I looked pretty kick-ass crossing the finish line with a bloody face. Meds quickly rushed to my aid and so did my fellow duathletes as they saw me at the finish line.
I knew for sure that I would have placed 1st in my age group and definitely in the top 5 men had it not been for the crash. Sure, I was disappointed but despite the setback, I still had a strong finish, placing 4/14 in M20-29 and 6/114 overall. I sure gave my family one race to remember.
Lesson-learned: Always keep the rubber side down.