Sunday, May 27, 2012


I got to see another part of the island of Tobago today, but not exactly by choice. On my fourth of eight loops on the bike a car swerved in front of me. There was a concrete ditch to my left, leaving no bailout option. Rather than slam into the car, I grabbed a handful of brakes, launching myself straight over the bars. I somehow did a sprawling, semi-face plant, although my hands and elbow must have taken the brunt of the fall seeing as how much skin is missing from them. My bike landed in the ditch behind me.

My first thought as I started to remove gravel and rocks from my mouth was "ohhhhhh I'm going to look like a hockey player many teeth are missing?!" Amazingly none. Next thought was "Collarbones?!" Again - no issues! Did I seriously just launch over my bars, slide across the ground for what felt like 50 feet and end up with nothing broken?

There was a police man standing next to me and seeing as I knew he might be able to see better than I how much damage I had done I said "How bad?" (Of course I was still thinking I could hop back on my bike and be in the race at this point.) He looked at me and said "I can't tell - there is mud and blood all over you." Hmmm, where was the blood coming from? I looked down at my arms - large chunks of skin missing from both hands, elbow, etc. Oh well, that must be it. Oh, and right hip - my jersey was torn to shreds and I could see a deep gash. He got me some water to wash some of the mud off. Then I climbed back on the bike and started riding toward transition.

At this point I was having a massive mental battle as to whether to pull out and get medical attention, or stay in the race, finish and then go to medical. I actually did another loop riding with one arm while I contemplated all this. I think I get this stubbornness from my 98 yr old grandmother. Someday it may help me, but today it was stupid. Finally Ian came by on his last loop and yelled at me to get myself into medical. It was not what I wanted to hear, and I kept going for a bit. He told me later that a spectator yelled at him "Hey mon, she is not listening to you!" I knew he was right though, I finished that loop and went to medical.

Removing rocks from my hip at the race site.

My Tobago ambulance ride. Might be hard to tell but my lip is massively swollen.

Once at the hospital they took my wet kit off. That was the point I discovered the road rash across the entire front of me. Ouch. It took about an hour to clean all the wounds up and remove 7 rocks from my hands and elbows. I thought the hip would be the most painful - it had NOTHING on the hand. They were digging around with a needle in the raw flesh on my hand for what felt like an eternity. At one point the nurse finally took a break and worked on my leg for a bit because I needed a break from the pain. I'm not going to post pictures of the wounds because honestly, they make me a bit queasy.

Since they took my wet kit off (and it is destroyed anyway) I was delivered back to the race site in only a hospital gown - completely bandaged. I wandered around in my gown looking for my Zoot bag with some clean clothes in it. I really wish I had a photo of this, as I'm sure I looked hilarious.

I am sad that I can't spend my last few days on the island floating around in the ocean or exploring on my bike. But I realize I am incredibly lucky. What could have ended a million times worse really will just see me walking around looking like a mummy for a few weeks. Both hands are bandaged, my right arm, my hip, etc. I know they will heal and stop hurting eventually.

As always when I race, I have made some wonderful new friends from different parts of the world and I love this about the sport of triathlon.

Thank you to my sponsors - thankfully I did not destroy too much of myself or my gear today!