If you have been following along at home on your various social media devices, you already know how this one is going to end. Spoiler alert, not great. Here’s what went down on my lead up to my “Eh” race. (cause I’m Canadian, get it?…)
Arrived in the Netherlands after a 9 hour flight fighting constantly with the old dutch lady for my armrest. Window seat gets the window and one armrest, isle gets the isle and one armrest, middle gets two armrests, why do people not know this. Anyway, the first day of our trip was pretty much a write off as we left Calgary at 3pm and arrived at 8am in Amsterdam so jet lag really wrecked me. It wasn’t the worst day to take it easy though since it was apparently hurricane season in Holland as well with 120 km+ winds ripping through. I wasn’t too worried about getting a lot of training in for the last days before the race, but we did manage to get out on the bike for a loop of the city (not on the bike course – mistake) and unfortunately my Dad would take a tumble on some rail tracks, but he beasted his way through the weekend anyway, more on that later. So I didn’t get to check the course out at all as it was incredibly confusing to ride before hand, and a lot of the course wasn’t open until the day of the race so it didn’t seem like a good idea to try and ride it. Instead I ate stroopwafels and tried to swim a bit. Leading up to race day I felt fantastic. Super confident in my fitness and the year of training I had in me and I knew I was capable of producing a top result.
Now it’s race day and I didn’t start until around 4pm so I had a lot of time to kill before my event. I went to watch my Dad start his race around 11, and then caught him finishing the bike while I was dropping off my T2 stuff. T1 and T2 were in separate locations so after dropping my shoes off in T2 I had to ride over to T1 to drop off my bike. All this had to be done crazy early so I had about 2 hours to kill after all my stuff was dropped off. I don’t like this part about age-group worlds, the waiting. We waited 3 hours in the sun in Mexico and that was completely bullshit. It’s uncontrollable though with so many people racing so I got over it.
Race started off with a bang and I was extremely happy with my swim. Came out of the water in 15th place and then sprinted the run to T1 to come out at around 10th. There was about a 500m run from the swim exit to T1 so I made up a lot of group here. Hopped on the bike, caught a wheel and hammered. I took over from the gentleman from Denmark and we pushed hard to catch the leaders. Caught the leaders about 4km’s in and I was stoked. Too stoked to be honest. I got so excited that I decided the group wasn’t working hard enough so I surged to front of the group to take over. As I surged up going about 45km/h I noticed the course did a sort of “S” turn to join a separate pathway (the course was primarily on pathways which were very narrow). I was going way too fast to react to this zig zaggy corner and thought my only way around it would be to try and cut the corner on some rough terrain. Unfortunately for me, there was a pot hole in my path and I hit it full tilt and lost control of my bike. I smashed into the curb on the right side and tumbled to a stop. Shit. I just crashed in World Championships. AGAIN. This crash however was much worse than my crash last year and even though the volunteers ran over to pick my bike up and put my chain back on (miraculously I didn’t break another bike), I couldn’t continue. I tried to mount my bike and my entire right side felt like I was just hit by a car, again.
The medics came and patched me up a bit before sending me over to the med tent. The worst part about this is I had to ride back to the finish line with everyone cheering as I painfully rode 10km/h with one arm back to the med tent. It was embarrassing and one of my worst memories from the day. Huge shoutout to the medics in the med tent for fixing me up. It wasn’t the first time I landed in the med tent but definitely the longest stay I’ve had. Everything hurt and I still had to go wait an hour to collect my swim and finish bags and get my bike from T2. Two hours later, we finally got back to the hotel. I was broken. Mentally and physically wrecked. Shout out to the Triathlon Canada coaches and managers for not even knowing which of their athletes crashed. I don’t think I saw a single one of them on race day, so cheers.
These past few weeks have been tough for me as I haven’t even been able to do the single thing that cheers me up, training. It’s been awhile since the incident so I’ve mostly gotten over it and am trying to look at the lessons learned from the race. I’m back training now and have mostly returned to my normal routine.
In brighter news, I’d like to give a massive shoutout to my Dad for absolutely crushing his race in Holland! He finished as the 4th Canadian, and finished 39th out of 114! What a beast! And after crashing a couple days before! So proud of you, pops.
I’d also like to thank everyone for their kind words and well wishes after my incident. I’m healing up well and will be back to my normal self soon enough, I really appreciate how much everyone cares and love seeing all the messages, so thank you.
All in all my trip to the motherland was definitely worth it. I love Holland and nothing can take away the beauty of that country. It was also an awesome week spending time with my Dad and even though I didn’t get to cross the line with the maple leaf, it’s always an honour representing Canada internationally. On to bigger and better things, this is just the beginning.
-Eric Dokter, T1 High Performance Team Athlete
Check out more of Eric's posts HERE