It was a classic "Michelle Lyman" moment.
The self-proclaimed clutz crashed her road bike for the third time in her life - and only time in a race - during her fifth Ironman. The crash didn't help her on her quest to make the Ironman world competition sometime in life.
Race organizers wanted to bring medical on scene after the Breckenridge resident rounded a corner at 25 mph and hit a vertical crack in the road, which stopped her front tire flat and threw Lyman and her bike into the air.
Worried she'd broken her collarbone or an arm, she allowed medical to take a quick look, but didn't allow them to stop her race - even though her bike was about as banged up as her left side. Crews helped get the bike working so she could finish the last three miles of the bike section.
"I couldn't wait to get off the bike, which is funny because it's one of my favorite parts of the race," the triathlete said.
As she pushed on to the finish, Lyman focused only on completing her fifth Ironman - this time in Madison, Wisc., - not on accomplishing her goal time.
Lyman made up some time on the marathon run, but by mile 18, the adrenaline from the crash was wearing off and she started to get sore.
"I gave it a good push and came across the finish line smiling," Lyman said. "It definitely hurt, and my shoulder is super tense still. Nothing is broken, I'm sure. It just needs to be worked on."
Though her expectations were shattered by a mishap she never thought possible - even after thinking she had all the possible problems ironed out - Lyman began to understand why she races.
"I do it because even when you're suffering, it makes you feel alive," she said. It's about mentally pushing the body to do things well beyond what it thinks the body is capable of.
Lyman was rattled by the crash so much, she didn't do what she normally does when she encounters a problem in a race: Sign up for the very same race the following year. Instead, she waited, wondering if she'd feel up to heading back to Madison. Now, a few days after the crash, she's ready to tackle it again, but registration is already full.
She'll pick another one for next year, instead, perhaps Arizona. She has a running race in November and she plans to begin training for next year's Ironman in the next few weeks.