Thursday, July 23, 2009

USWA Nationals - Day 1

Today saw the windiest slalom racing anyone here in the Gorge can remember in a very long time. I had a real struggle getting my big (and only) 71cm wide slalom board to stay on the water, despite running a 6.2 and a 34cm fin. Bruce was racing his (probably sub-80 liter) small slalom board and a 5.4 - and was LIT. We were racing in age groups, so he ran in the Grand Masters, and I ran in the Men/Masters fleet, with the juniors and women getting their own start (the Techno 293 fleet wisely sat this one out...).

In the Grand Masters, Bruce dominated the fleet, and in the Men/Masters, James Dinnis (of Carbon Art fame) did the honors. If we get a chance to have a final rounds to determine an overall slalom winner, it will be a treat to see those two battle it out. I'll probably get a chance to watch that, too; after three heats of pretty deep finishes (5, 14, 6), struggling with the ballistic conditions on my big board, I finally got a good start with James and Chris Prior in the 4th heat. I nailed my first three jibes, and while James was out of reach, Chris seemed within striking distance as I locked in for the reach to the offset mark and the subsequent tight reach to the start pin to go into the second round.

I'm not quite sure what happened next- I only know that I went over the handlebars in what people on shore called a pretty spectacular wipeout and somehow came down with my left foot coming down hard on the sail (and, probably, beneath it the board). It felt like having twisted my ankle, and in the water, it was pretty clear that something was wrong as I couldn't even kick to swim into waterstart position, much less tolerate the pain of getting that foot up on the deck of the board to get going. Instead, I body dragged to the beach, a bunch of helpful folks got my gear and helped me out of the water, and when 30 minutes of icing failed to numb the pain at all or keep the swelling at bay, it was clear that I should get this looked at. Now it's splinted, with two fractures in the fibular - so I'll be off my left foot for at least a few weeks.

Racing continues tomorrow - since I can't do much else right now, I'll be on shore watching. Pretty bummed at this point, but then again, it's a clean bone injury that required no setting or surgery, and there doesn't seem to be serious damage to the ligaments beyond a mild sprain. And if I had to get hurt windsurfing, it couldn't have happened in a more supportive environment; not only did folks take care of all the logistics for me (thanks, Shelley, Michel, MacRae, Amy), but within five minutes of the injury I was being taken care of by an RN, a PT, and a podiatrist (thanks, Amy, Jay, and John), and then given rides to and from the ER (thanks, Ellen).

The slideshow below shows a bit of action from the 4th heat, as well as the result of me not having much else to do other than take pictures of my bum ankle afterwards... Not sure if the pictures do the conditions justice - it was furry out there. Darren told me later that gusts at the boat reached to 40; apparently, for the last heat, it picked up even more.

1 comment:

Sergey Menshikov said...

That's a bummer :( - get well soon!