The regatta started off with challenging light air conditions. I had some difficulty in both races on day one - I never had great speed nor starts. In the 2nd race I was able to get in phase after a poor start and consolidate a mid fleet finish. The first day was a bit of a disappointment; however, I learned from my mistakes and moved forward.
Beginning on day two, we had rain, fog and very cold temperatures, which lasted for the remainder of the event. The rain was piercing as it hit my face and eyes, often times I had to alternate opening one eye, then the other! In addition to the painful raindrops, the fog was so thick that for most of the races, we couldn’t even see the weather (top) mark when we started the race. In order to navigate the course in the thick fog we had to use elevated landmarks on the shore to help pinpoint where the next course mark was located. The conditions, albeit simply terrible, were still rewarding to compete in. The testing weather added another challenging and demanding variable to the racecourse and when the races began, it was easy to embrace the additional challenge; this made the racing quite fun.
Even though the weather wasn’t conducive to the most enjoyable racing, I managed to bounce back nicely from the first day hiccup. The 2nd day I managed a 18th and a 21st in the 60-board fleet. Aside from day one, throughout the entirety of the event my speed and race management was strong. What held me back were my starts. Throughout the nine race series, I think I only had two solid starts. For most of the event, I continually had to fight my way back to the front of the fleet and I never put myself in position to fully take advantage of my speed because of these poor starts. I finished the event in 30th/60. I am not incredibly excited about my performance; however, there were a handful of positives to take away from the event. I was happy to see significant progress amongst the issues that I set out to address prior to the event. Following the event, Peter and I compiled a new list of skills to attack leading up to the Games.
Mountain Biking Vs Road Biking
On May 22nd I had my first semi serious mountain bike crash. I was riding a routine smooth trail near the end of my ride when I picked a bad line - my tire burped and I went flying over the handle bars. I broke the fall with my right arm and my arm slid out above my head as my body made contact with ground causing a shoulder strain and a few scrapes. I was clearly shaken up and it caused me to take a few steps back in my strength training. Fortunately, the timing of the injury couldn’t have been better. The day I fell, we embarked on our team trip and I had the ability to rest for four days outside of Weymouth. During this time I was able to utilize our impressively talented physical therapy staff. I recovered quickly and I was back on the water in 5 days.
When I relayed this information to my fellow team mates, friends and followers I got many similar responses asking: Why do I cross train on a mountain bike instead of a road bike? The initial perception about mountain biking is that it is inherently dangerous. You are riding over difficult terrain and the odds of falling are greater on a mountain bike than a road bike. All of that is true.
The primary safety difference between road biking and mountain biking is that with mountain biking you have control over more variables and you are responsible for pushing and knowing your limits. Road biking is particularly dangerous because you share the road with cars and you have ZERO control over how they react to you. If you fall on a road bike, on the road, there is a good chance it could ruin your season.
Looking Forward:After a short 9-day rest at home, I am back in Weymouth training until July 9th. Following this short training camp, I am heading home for 5 days, then back to London with the US Olympic Team for team processing and some additional training before the opening ceremony on the 27th of July.
Updated on May 23, 2013, 12:25am