Good days and bad days…

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Sometimes it is the same thing! As a coach there is nothing worse than hearing the sound of a crash and hearing the pain immediately afterwards... that second sound is the one that stays with you... you get the most nauseating feeling in your stomach... This weekend, I sat and watched the ITU World Series race in Dubai... Olympic champion, Nicola Spirig got caught up in a crash which wasn't her fault.  Nicola had towed the entire second group (with the assistance of Ashley Gentle) up to the leaders. With 500m to go of the bike, on a rather narrow road with plenty of road furniture in the middle (!), as another athlete was trying to sort out her shoes ready for transition... BOOM... half the field came down. I did spot that Nicola had gone down. When she came into transition I could see she was in pain. We know now that its three bones in her left hand and probably requires and operation. I sat there thinking what her coach, Brett Sutton, must feel like. “Helpless” sprang to mind. You see all that hard work... all the dedication of months of training... potential future goals and targets... all fly out the window... but all I would want to know, and I am sure Brett Sutton too, is, “How is my athlete?” Less than 12 hours later, I would go through those emotions. Its horrible. Coaches feel ultra-responsible for their athletes. You have to. If I am committing getting up early to coach, writing their programs, watching them, listening to them, working with them... you can't not feel responsible. To me, as a coach, the best way I can describe it is they are like my children (ok, some are slightly older than that) but that's how I feel. Its why I give as much as I do, to enable them to give their best in a sport we love doing. The greatest satisfaction I can have is seeing each athlete perform at their best. When you here those noises... the clang of metal, the squeal of brakes, the crack of carbon and the vocal noises afterwards... its devastating... I don't think there are words to describe sinking feeling in your stomach. The incident on Sunday was a freak incident during a normal training ride... a stick bounced into the spokes, locked the front wheel and over the handle bars. You can not account for that. It wasn't anyone's fault. No one swerved or did something silly to cause this. It was a quiet country road. It was an accident. You ride bikes it happens. I spent a good chunk of the day worrying about the athlete who had gone to hospital with their parents – and some of those who had witnessed the crash and the aftermath... I just wanted to know they were alright. But with every cloud there is a silver lining... At F4L Triathlon Coaching our coaches work very hard to promote a team atmosphere. It showed on Sunday. As one athlete was lying prone on the deck others were sprinting (yes Dr Stack really can sprint!) to help out. One athlete took the bikes to one side. Others kept some of the juniors out of the way. We luckily had another parent following us in IMG_20160305_124719their car. I also know that most of the athletes have communicated with their team mate through out the day. It was one of those occasions that made me very very proud of what we have at F4L Triathlon Coaching... ... a Team. The good news is that Cate is on the mend and looking forward to getting on the turbo as soon as possible. I have no doubt that she will be proudly showing you her scars in the future.  Oh and her bike is fine... which means she can't have a new one just yet! To finish on a lighter note I though I would share you the feedback to Sunday's ride from Cate (with her permission), it made me smile: Well today was exciting.. took a stack and broke my collarbone.. A stick flicked up behind someone's wheel and went straight between the spokes on my front wheel, jammed against the forks and over I went. I'm a bit beaten up; broken collarbone, missing skin on back and elbows but hey only a few war wounds 😉 The most important thing is that the bike is ok and I get a new helmet - WOOHOO.  In all seriousness, I am fine and can't wait to get back out on the bike. A HUGE thank you to everyone today - especially yourself, Dr Stack & Kendall for being there and making me feel a bit more relaxed. Also a huge thank you to everyone else, really felt the F4L family 🙂 By Paul Jones Looking to kick start your training: check out our coached training programs here
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