The one word summary of my race yesterday in Montreal was disastrous. If you care to read on, here is my post-race analysis of my performance with plenty of excuses thrown in for good measure. Writing this is not dissmilar to cleaning one's own open wound. It's gross, it's unpleasant, but it's good for the healing to begin. If you haven't guessed already, my mind frame remains in the woe-be-me phase.
Let's set the stage. Early May morning in Montreal F1 race track and the temperature hovered at a chilling 3C. Windy as usual with steady wet flurries and rain. I felt healthy despite an unexpected bout of sickness three days ago which resulted in reduced food intake. I had a long warm up involving 20 minutes of jogging, dynamic stretches, and 20 minutes on-skate. Body was sufficiently warmed but the delayed start time combined with a cold temperature meant I was colder than I would like at the start.
The start was tame and I settled into the second pack consisting of teammate SL, MG from Ottawa Inline, JB and BH from Toronto Inline, PG and NM from Roller Montreal, among a few others I did not recognize. As for girls, JR from Montreal was in our pack and we soon picked up Cado Motus' AS who was dropped from the lead pack. The pack was jittery for lack of a better word. Skaters at the back were often impatient with the pace and launched attacks. I distinctly remember hearing someone commented "C'mon stop being so lazy" before attacking from the back. We were only on the second lap of a ten lap race and the general feeling was that the pack would not be coorperative. I was curious of this dynamic given the inhospitable weather condition.
As for myself, I was not reacting well to the cold. My core was warm but the stablizing muscles in my left ankle gradually stopped responding due to the plunge in temperature. I started losing balance when I glided on my left skate so I had to compensate with other muscle groups and loss of efficiency. On the bright side, my rain set up of front & back Storm Surge with Streetfights in the middle was great. But then again, what's the use of a set up that allows me to push full strides when my own body refused to?
In lap 3, our pack picked up two guys from Cado Motus who fell off the lead pack and I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. The bits and pieces of conversation I picked up confirmed my suspicion. AS was at risk of getting dropped and her teammates made sure she stayed in. The pack skated together grudgingly with the Cado Motus guys controlling the pace every so often. At the start of the fourth lap, the Cado Motus team attacked from the back as we approached the climb. I thought the attack wouldn't have gone anywhere if it was just the three skaters on their team. Unfortunatly, I read it wrong. Other skaters in our pack reacted to the attack and went with it so it essentially split the pack in two. At this point, MG, PG, SL, JB, and JR were still in my pack. MG worked hard to bridge and JR went with him. I tried to stay with them but I just didn't have it. By now, my pack was completely blew apart and I was with teammate SL. PG and JB were somewhere behind. I skated briefly with SL and made a stupid mistake. I was not recovering and basically got dropped before SL knew that I was no longer behind him. Mental note: he's my teammate. Don't stop communicating! Stupid stupid stupid me.
I rolled to join JB and PG. At this time, I knew that my body was shutting down. I was not recovering at all. At the end of the fourth lap as we entered the paddock area, I was between PG and JB. I noticed that PG's waterbottle was about to fall out from his pocket so I tucked it in. Next thing I knew, my left foot went under me and I landed heavily on my left side. The bony part of my left hip took the most impact along with left elbow and both of my wrists. PG and JB stood up to wait for me so I climbed back without knowing exactly how bad the damages were. We skated for another lap but my left ankle started buckling and I wasn't sure it was safe for me to skate in a pack anymore. I left the two of them at the end of lap 5 and I thought for sure that I would call it a day. I saw in the distance that PG veered off to the side as he crossed the line so I guess he had the same idea. I was a miserable mess. When it was my turn to cross the paddock area, I saw familiar faces and heard familar voices encouraging me to keep skating. I yelled out to them that I crashed and was hurting yet I did exactly what they told me to do. I kept skating.
There really wasn't much to tell after this point. I kept getting colder yet my feet kept moving. I did not want a DNF. I already paid for the trip, my bearings were already wet, my clothes were rain- and mud-soaked, and I already crashed. It couldn't get any worse so might as well finish the race and collect whatever NROC points I could. Finished it I did and I made a beeline to my car like a zombie. I was shivering violently and I couldn't take my gloves off without help. When B peeled my gloves off, a large part of my hands were blue. I wondered how the bruises could surface so quickly from my crash but only now did I realize they were blue because I had a minor case of hypothermia.
I woke up this morning with swollen left hip and elbow from the fall. The muscles on my left ankle were unusually sore. There are other minor aches and pains but nothing major. It's never a good feeling to have a disastrous race but I'm trying to glean what I can to learn from it. With an upcoming trip to Hong Kong, I will not have any race opportunity until mid June. During the long drive home from Montreal, self-doubt inevitably set in and I can't help but wonder what I need to do to for my next race to prevent another disaster. If only I have a race next weekend. I'm in desperate need of some positive proof that I am still on the right path.