This isn't the race report I expected to write, but then the race I had (what there was of it) was wildly different from the race I expected.
Got up on race morning @ 3:45 AM, had a bagel, cream cheese, and yogurt - my standard breakfast. I had everything laid out, with only a few bottles to fill and clothes to put on. My one pre-race mistake was forgetting to take the bottle of water and Nuun with me to the race start to drink with my gel before race start, although I tried to compensate by having a few electrolyte tablets and a few cups of water at the transition area to wash down the gel.
I felt pretty good on the swim, although the cheap waterproof watch I bought fell off between buoys 4 and 5. I was slow but in a good rhythm, having only been kicked in the face twice by some people doing the breaststroke. I rounded the second houseboat and started the long swim to shore and was feeling pretty good since I had felt only the barest twinges of cramps until that point. About halfway to shore I had 3 rounds of the most excruciating calf cramps I've ever had; each one bringing me to a halt while waiting for them to relax and watching the other swimmers go by while I swore a blue streak and tried to get the muscles to release. I eventually made it to shore and got through a slow T1 - my calves were so sore I could hardly walk.
I was really looking forward to the bike leg and was having a great ride, and even my calves felt better. I averaged 22 mph for the first 26 miles or so, at an avg HR of 145 and average power of 175 watts, which suggested a good tailwind because as good as I felt, I'm just not that fast. I thought there was a lot of traffic on route 97 but the drivers all gave us a wide berth so I didn't think more about it at the time. At an intersection in Oliver at about mile 27 or so, a car driven by a very elderly woman made a left onto southbound Rt 97 just as I was going through the same intersection heading south. Without any additional warning or signal she then made an immediate right turn into the parking lot entrance just ahead of me, cutting me off. I braked and turned sharply but not enough, and the next thing I know I hit the front right corner of her car and was flying over the hood, landing on my right shoulder and rolling onto the pavement in front of the car.
Chaos broke out and I was helped to my feet by a doctor who was spectating at that corner. The driver was distraught and in tears, apologizing profusely for having caused the accident. I still have to deal with her insurance company so we'll see how that works out. My Zipp 808 front wheel is a total loss and the front brakes don't look right, so I'll have to have the bike looked at. The RCMP and ambulance soon arrive and as the pain in my shoulder continues to grow I realize that even if I could get a new front wheel, I was done for the day. 42 weeks of training rendered irrelevant by a few seconds of random carelessness by a complete stranger - I have a hard time imagining a worse way to DNF. I got a nice ambulance ride back to the medical tent and the doctors and nurses there were wonderful (I was their first patient). The preliminary exam at the Penticton hospital showed no obviously broken bones, a separated and very painful right shoulder, and a variety of bumps, bruises and some road rash. A CAT scan here in Issaquah was clear but the possibility of a closed head wound still exists, as an examination of the helmet shows I did hit my head on the pavement after all.
I did sign up for next year, as I now have unfinished business to attend to.