This weekend didn’t go as I had planned…

I had entered Long Course weekend as it was the perfect opportunity to recce the Ironman Wales course which I’m supposed to be doing in September. The Long Course Weekend event is based in Tenby, with the swim on Friday evening, the bike on Saturday and run on Sunday with a variety of distances to choose from each day.


I opted for the 3.8k swim on the Friday evening and it was my first experience of sea swimming. The swim was tough, with sea swell and mouthfuls of saltwater. I was well down on my expected swim time clocking 1:07:55 (83rd position). The time of my first lap (where I thought I struggled) was ok (32:04) but my second lap (which felt relatively good) was 35:51. I’m not sure what happened, perhaps my sighting was poor on the second lap. However, the setting was stunning with cliffs surrounding the North Beach of Tenby.


Saturday morning bought rain and strong winds for the bike. I had planned to complete the 180k distance cycle. It started well despite the weather with picturesque roads along the Pembrokeshire coast. I was averaging 34.5kph with my TT bike on the undulating roads, with bigger hills still ahead.


At 44km into the ride, I slowed and turned an innocuous-looking corner. Just around the corner, there was a thin strip of recently laid-tarmac running along the middle of the road lane and my wheels just slipped away on this strip of wet tarmac.


Crash 1
Innocuous-enough looking corner. Especially if the tractor wasn’t there – and on the day I  crashed, the tractor wasn’t there! [image from Google Maps]
Crash 2
I hit the tarmac here. On the day I crashed, there was a recently-laid wet strip of tarmac in the middle of the lane (not in this image) where I lost control [image from Google Maps]


I landed heavily on my right side, with my lower leg, knee, hip, shoulder and head all impacting with the tarmac and my left knee hit something on my bike. Fortunately (for me anyway), I was the 3rd person to crash on that corner and a motorcycle medic and ambulance were already in attendance and I got assessed within seconds of crashing.


I should have listened to the “Have a jolly good day” cushion


LCW - helmet damage
Scrape marks on my helmet. No scrape marks on my head.


I was left with swelling, deep bruising and road rash. My pointy helmet saved my head. My bike initially looked ok, but when I tried to get back on it became apparent that the right shifter was shattered and the rear derailleur and hanger were bent; my weekend was over.


Shattered right shifter


Dislodged right side TT bar extension which took some of the impact


It turns out that ambulances are the perfect vehicle for transporting triathletes and bikes. Another competitor and I were taken back to Tenby. I could barely walk on Sunday morning, so the half-marathon that I had planned to run wasn’t attempted. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to training in a week or so. This event completely chewed me up and spat me out!


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