By Joanna Brown
(Editor’s note: Joanna Brown competed in the world junior triathlon championships on Sept. 10 in Beijing, China. She placed sixth in the women’s race. Read more here and here. Also, visit Joanna Brown’s blog here. This is Brown’s summary of her race, written in the Beijing airport on her way back home.)
I had the most amazing swim warmup and knew it was going to be a good swim. I was start position #50 of 56 so I didn’t have much choice of position and ended up lining up beside Alison Hooper on the far left side.
I had a clean swim and stuck with Alison for pretty much the whole swim until the third buoy. I exited the water and then could see Alison and Christine Ridenour right in front of me and I knew I had swam well.
There were about 4 girls that were way in front but I am still not quite sure how much farther they were. (Later in the bike the pack broke up and it was only one girl…and she ended up crashing into a dog)
It was pouring rain and very cold and that morning the coaches had made the decision to change my wheels to carbon tubulars because apparently, they are better for cornering in the rain.
The wheels had a carbon braking surface also and on the ride down to the course I definitely noticed that the braking wasn\’t as good as with my normal wheels. I didn\’t say anything because the course was 10min from our hotel and the mechanic had switched my cassette and brake pads.
Back to the race, I hopped on my bike and started out on the course. The first surface that we ride on was a tip of blue “carpet” that you can probably remember from the Olympics. After the blue, you descend a very steep hill and then take a sharp left, and the surface switches to pavement.
I was about 5sec back from the small group that was leading and so I hammered down the straight and went into the corner very fast. I think had it not rained I would have made the corner just fine, but my back wheel slipped right out from underneath me, and the next thing I knew I was sliding along the pavement.
I remember my face feeling really cold and I realized that it had come in contact with the pavement. I only had one foot in my shoes at that point and so I bruised the outside of my left foot.
Seeing the pack disappear, I quickly jumped back on my bike and then started to climb “the hill”. It was about a 1000m climb and very steep, and within a minute I had caught back up to the pack.
I stayed in but always at the back because I had very little confidence in the wheels and it felt like I had a flat. I slowed down so much to take the corners and just wanted to stay on two wheels.
Coming around on the second loop a definite lead pack had formed and I couldn’t see anyone else in the front. We headed back out to the left turn where I fell on the first lap and, sure enough, I fell again.
I think one factor that really made the corner hard was how biking on the blue was almost like biking on grass, and then all of the sudden you were on a fast surface. A girl had cut me off going into the corner, which also contributed to the fall.
I got up again, everything feeling even sorer than after the first crash. My left wrist was really hurting and for the whole first lap, I noticed that I couldn\’t really brake and had to use the other hand to switch gears.
Now, my wrist was pounding and it hurt just to try and hold on to the handlebars. It was useless for braking and just held on because the last thing I wanted to do was fall AGAIN.
The third lap was clean with no falls and I had done very little work other than the hill. I was ready to run but as soon as I got off and into my shoes, everything felt a little bit weird.
I ran hard and could really tell that my fitness was not where it should be. We had to descend and climb the same small steep hill leading out of the stadium on the run and it killed me every time!
I was in fourth until about the last 300m when an American girl passed me…I didn\’t have anything left in my legs and they just felt like jello! I crossed the finish line feeling disappointed but proud of my effort.
Later in the day, I was inspected by the team doctor. I don\’t have any signs of concussion but have badly bruised my left hip and shoulder. It is quite difficult to raise my arm above my head but it is definitely better today than yesterday.
My wrist has been in a splint and I didn\’t get any X-rays but Dr. Keeler believes that I have fractured a structure in my wrist (TFCC) and it is very purple and swollen.
For a little while, my pinkie finger was numb but now it is just fat and sore. You should have seen me trying to get around with my bike, suitcase, and two bags through the airport!!
My face is bruised and somehow I got a black eye…I just tell them I got into a fight.
Visit Joanna Brown’s blog here.
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