It didn't go as planned! The swim started well, but after about 15-20 minutes my lats and shoulders started to feel really tight. So I slowed up a bit, then my shoulders started to cramp up repeatedly. Must have made for some comical swimming. I managed to finish the swim just about - and hauled myself over to the change tent. The time was now irrelevant - the swim was over and that was all that mattered. I was just glad not to have to use my arms again any time soon. I was struggling in T1 - getting things into the pockets on the back of your tri suit when your shoulders don't really want to move anywhere is quite challenging, but the volunteers were very helpful! Collected the bike, still feeling a bit dazed from the swim. Out onto the roads, my legs weren't feeling too good and through town I could barely get the bike moving. I just told myself I needed to warm into it. Then the first of the rollers out of town hit and that's when the problems became apparent. My right glute started cramping severely. I hit the top of the hill and got off to stretch it. A couple of minutes later and resorting to using a large fence post to put pressure into it (much to the entertainment of a couple of spectators) I got back on the bike returning to the 'maybe it just needs to work itself out' theory. But then it got worse. The next rise was done one-legged. As I couldn't turn over my right leg. Stop. Stretch. I'm now only about 5km out of town. Another spectator looks at me and says "just over 170kms to go!" in an encouraging way. I try to squat to stretch out my legs and ass but don't manage to get more than half way down. Back on the bike, I can't even clip in my right leg so I free wheel down to a turn off, remove my race belt and roll through the back streets towards Bob and Jan's where luckily Erin is in and I tuck into some breakfast. That was about 8am. The rest of the day was spent trying to loosen up - I couldn't lift my arms above shoulder height at 8 and my glute was a knot, but mobility eventually returned and I did a shift in the massage tent as a table cleaner for a few hours in the evening to soak up the atmosphere. Last year I had a real issue with the DNF here (pulled ligament in back during race week) and just wanted to disappear that afternoon, but that was then. Of course I was a little gutted that I wasn't finishing or achieving what I come to achieve, but there's plenty more races to be had this year and this was just a 'test race' at the end of base. I had a great day in the end and really enjoyed the week.
Remarkably, Port Mac is one of my favourite races. One of these years, it'll be good to me. Until then, its a great town with beautiful scenery, amazing local support and the friendliest bunch of people you could hope for.
Big thanks to Bob and Jan (and Ian and Erin) for putting me up (or putting up with me) over race week. Its been very relaxing! Also to Natalia - wthout whom the dirty dancing competition would have been lost ;) (the meltdown party is HILARIOUS). AJ next door for the support and adopted family at CBA.
Congrats to Charlesy for a cracking time and getting a spot at Hawaii (and thanks for the wheels - sorry I couldn't break in those tyres any more for you).
I'm taking a few days off, letting the cramping go completely. Plus the weather here has taken a turn for the worse... must be nearly time to flee the country. I'll revisit this cramping issue in a few weeks/months post a trip to the doc back in the UK... there's a bit of an involved story behind it!
See you next year, Port!