Another example today of how things can seemingly go from being all rosey to disastrous in an instant, writes Dan Patten.
The Great Britain Womens’ National squad was today taken out by a car whilst out on a training ride between Oudenaarde and Brakel.
Thankfully everyone is alive, but it has left several broken bones amongst them and a number of other injuries. Getting to the scene as soon as possible, the severity of the accident was clear to see straight away and its just another reminder that even in a cycling friendly nation like Belgium these things can still happen.
Best Wishes to all the girls for a speedy recovery!
My problems seem nothing compared to what happened to these girls today, but the last couple of weeks have certainly not gone to plan.
The InternationalCiCLE Classic
I returned to the UK all fired up for the East Midlands CiCLe Classic (aka Rutland) knowing I had built some good form over the previous weeks in Belgium and was going there confident of pulling out a result.
Even on the morning of the race I felt good and was completely relaxed, knowing what I needed to do and knowing I was in the shape to do it.
However I knew from my first attack that something wasnt right. Maybe I just needed to ride myself in? It wasnt happening. I continued to get in attempted breakaway moves knowing that getting away around the opening two laps of the reservoir is often crucial in this race.
However it wasnt happening. I was overheating, my heart rate was racing, stomach cramping, felt very dehydrated and seemingly wasnt recovering after any effort.
After leading the bunch back through Oakham I began slipping further and further back through the peleton. By the time we hit the first narrow road I was towards the back and as soon as the bunch began to split the extra efforts to keep getting back on were telling. I kept dropping back to the car but by about the third or fourth time I waved them on… race over… and climbed off at the next feed.
It’s a horrible feeling, even more so when you have high expectations of doing something in a race, but sometimes the body just doesn’t allow you to do your thing.
What actually happened? I don’t know. Initial thoughts were maybe something eaten the night before/morning of at the hotel… maybe a lot of salt in the food? Who knows?
The problems continued the following week also.
Whether directly connected or whether a result of what had happened at Rutland I was feeling very tired going into the weekend’s races.
A little circuit race at Hog Hill to test the water still told me that something wasnt quite right. I placed 6th but with my body overheating yet again and heart racing I knew there was something more to it.
The Chas Messenger
Despite this (and probably my own downfall) I went to do the Chas Messenger in Buckinghamshire the day after.
On what is a tough, wearing-down circuit anyway it was always going to be a tall order.
After getting in an initial break and being sent off course we quickly found ourselves back in the peleton. I struggled my way round the 160km for 19th, but almost salvaged a lot more over the last couple of laps bridging across to a number of different groups before finding myself in the lead group (well, going for 3rd come the final few kms).
However with riders sitting up and cramp setting in I wasn’t going to be jumping around anyone anytime soon and a few of us lost contact with this group just 2km from the end, ending up just behind.
Back to Belgium
On my return to Belgium I was straight in to see the doctor… the same afternoon as I got back in fact.
A blood test and urine test carried out and had the results a few days later.
The tests came back showing a few things that were a bit low that may have been contributing to the way I have been feeling.
Treated straightaway and with a couple of prescriptions also, hopefully I will be back on track quickly. A very efficient system for getting cyclists back to normal fast, and just another one of the percs of being based in Belgium.
With a number of good races to come in May, I hope to be feeling back to normal and next time have some more good results to talk about.