A Race Update By Patricia Walsh

12670752_10153465503750924_178939127935983965_n

As some of you know for the past 6 years I have been training to represent the United States in the 2016 Paralympics.  I earned my personal spot on the U.S. team at the Rio test event last July.  The remaining hurtle was to be ranked top 7 in the world by June 2016.  The good news is that I was able to secure enough points to ensure I will not fall below top 7 this past weekend at Continental Championships.  The bad news is I had a treacherous race.

 

I had the fastest swim of my life.  The bike course is 3 loops.  There is a wheel stop at the beginning of the lap.  The idea is if you get a flat tire, and you have checked in a spare wheel, an official will bring your wheel to you on a motorcycle.  Should be never more than a minute or so.  We got a flat about 800 meters past the wheel stop on the first lap.  Backtracking is an immediate disqualification. We signaled to an official we needed help.  We were the first of the day (because we were leading) as such there was a lot of back and forth about who is to do what among the officials.  We waited for 2 minutes.  This was my final opportunity to earn points to secure my ranking, not finishing this race was not an option.  We rode the rim for the remaining 90% of the lap.

 

As we approached the wheel stop from the other direction the motorcycle finally caught us.   Finally we changed the wheel and started fighting to close the gap.    We were able to make up time on the bike…. Once we hit the run I was able to start passing people.  I moved up from last place to 4th.

 

My saving grace is that I was ranked #2 in the world rankings.   4th place was not what we had hoped for, but it turned out to be just enough to keep us on track for Rio2016. I must admit I am kicking myself.  We had been watching Profanation all week.  I cannot believe that it is coincident we came in 4th place.   Looking forward to some recovery at Austin Massage Company.  The real work starts now.  I now have 6 month uninterrupted training block for Rio.  Watch me at TEDX Lake Travis Heights HERE On April 2nd, 2016.

Posted in ,