I arrived in Taupo on Friday evening feeling pretty relaxed and strong and was really looking forward to a good solid smash out at the 12 hour Day Night Thriller to test the legs a bit in the lead-up to 24 hour solo world champs in a month's time.
The course was really fast, nicely bermed, and whilst not all that technical, was really good fun and flowed nicely.
The start of race day went really well. I was lapping consistently at around 25 minutes a lap and my aim for the day was to leave everything out on the track and use it as a pre-worlds training run. Everything went smoothly for the first 5 laps. I was eating and drinking well, doing my feeds quickly and felt really strong on the bike. At the end of the first lap, I was up by 3 minutes, and I just kept putting time into the field. At the 2 and a half hour mark, I was up on second place by about 15 minutes.
At the end of my 5th lap, however, I came through the feedzone and things went a little bit wrong. I'd been feeding quite quickly and I came through the pits at about 20km/hr, dropped my empty drink bottle off, grabbed a full one and put it in my bottle cage, then put my hands back on the bars to take off on another lap... Next thing I knew, I was on the ground with my face planted in the dirt. I stood up to take stock and looked at my support crew, who looked as surprised as me. I had no idea what had just happened. All I remember was my handlebars twisting and the rest of the bike pulling out from under me. Now, let me tell you, going from 20km/hr to zero in the space of about a metre when all you're wearing is lycra and a helmet hurts... The ground definately won that battle... Noone's fault... Just one of those freak accidents that occur from time to time... I stood there for a few seconds and thought "my legs are all good... sweet" and jumped back on my bike, then rounded the corner and went to change gears to find that my thumb didn't work... Bugger.
I kept moving, probably in a little bit of denial, but I truly thought I'd just strained it and it would come good again as the race wore on. I changed up gears with the heel of my palm and changed down gears by taking my hand off the handlebars and pressing the shifter with my index finger. I couldn't hold the handlebars when I was descending so I used a bastardised version of a monkey grip with my right hand to exclude use of my thumb. Every now and then, I'd try to shift with my thumb to see if it would work... It never came right. I couldn't pick up my drink bottle or food with my injured hand and I couldn't hold on with it so I could eat and drink with the other hand. For the next 3 laps, I stopped in the pits to drink and eat for the next lap, then would set off and just ride for the whole lap with no food or drink. Every bump I hit made me wince with pain and the pain got so unbearable I was nearly passing out. I so badly wanted to keep going. My support crew took me to the medics tent and they iced and strapped it and we decided that I would go to hospital and get it x-rayed and if it wasn't broken, come back and finish the race and just deal with the pain. Up at the hospital, we learned that a radiographers strike meant I wouldn't be able to get an xray until Monday... It just wasn't my day. So they put me in a cast.
Needless to say, I didn't get back on the bike. I did return to the race, however, and do some cheering and loaned out some of my fantastic Ayup lights as demos for people who haven't had the opportunity to experience their awesomeness, so the day wasn't completely lost, but certainly not what I had planned.
For what it's worth, the 8 laps I pumped out in 3 and a half hours still got me third place. Haha! Tomorrow will tell the damage, but my sports doctor (Lucy May Holtzhausen... she's awesome) seems pretty confident I should be back on the bike for world champs in a month. Looks like a long month of work on the trainer...