TriFactor Race Report – Smash and Burn

Dean Campbell

On Sunday 8th June the Tri Factor Bike races took place at Changi Coast Road. There were various events ranging from 5km for the kids through 20/40/60 and 80 km for the Adults. This was a special day for the Campbell family as it would be the first event in which the entire family would take part. Jackson (11) and Hugo (6) would participate in the kids race with Kathy and I competing in the 40km events.

The weather was perfect. I rode from home as a warm up (about 30km) and Kathy and the boys would take a taxi down to the event (we park our vehicle in the car park the night before to avoid rushing in the morning).


I was the first to race in the Veterans 40km. I raced last year in the same event getting beaten into 2nd so I had hopes of perhaps going one better. The 40km consisted of 4 return laps (8 single laps) and the first 2 return laps consisted of a group of about 8. On the 3rd return lap I put in a surge to break away from the peloton. Stephen Ames (Mavericks) was the only one to come with me and we worked together to establish a considerable gap.

With 400m to go the last return loop a mountain biker was veering slightly into the right lane. I shouted for him to STAY LEFT!!!! Sadly, he went further into the passing lane (right) causing me to swerve heavily. I was on my aero bars at the time travelling at about 43-45km/hr. As I swerved I lost control of the bike and hit the ground heavily., my shoulder and left side of my body suffering the impact.

My wife who was sharing the lead in her race was going in the opposite direction and heard the crash and the subsequent screams. She could see it was an ANZA uniform and heard me screaming in absolute pain. She immediately abandoned her own race, as did Stephen Ames. Both helped me to the side of the road. I told Stephen to “GO” as he had an excellent chance of still winning. My wife ran both bikes back 400m to the finish line and fetched the Medic. The medic arrived and they transported me to the medical tent. I was in extreme pain and struggling to breath. They put me on an IV. After an hour or so I was transferred to Changi General. The transit felt like I was in a Singapore Taxi rather than an Ambulance!!!

After numerous X-rays and consultations, I moved from Changi General to Gleneagles, as it was closer to me. Discussions with the Orthopedic Surgeon confirmed that surgery would be better from a long time perspective. I had a plate and screws inserted in my collarbone.

The reality of the crash was that my broken ribs have proven to be far more debilitating than I could have ever imagined. I am operating at about 20% of left lung capacity and the best remedies are rest and narcotics. Sleeping is proving difficult because any movement causes me to wake up.

So, 6-8 weeks is the expected recovery period with my plate being removed after 12 months.

In speaking with various parties the reality is with any race “you pay your money and take your chances”. Crashes happen in Pro races, Triathlon races and Gran Fondos. Cycling is a predominately safe sport if everyone understands and adheres to the rules (like keeping left). My situation is unfortunate but I, like the rest of us, love cycling, so am prepared to take calculated risks.

Notwithstanding the crash, all I want to do is get back on bike and go for a ride.

On a positive note, Jackson won his race and Hugo finished mid field which was great result for a 6 year old and his first race.

Thanks to everyone who has spoken with me and shared their own experiences….it has been incredibly helpful.

Safe riding to you all and see you soon.

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