… Saturday is a day I will remember for a long time. I race my bike as an amateur because I love it. I put the hours in because I’m a competitive person and want to race well. I’ve always been one for trying to find my limits in whatever it is I’m doing. The upfront cost is time away from family and friends and the potential for injury. The rewards are a healthy lifestyle and bragging rights… because it isn’t for the money.
The outcome of the day gave our team 3 podium spots including 2 state champion jerseys and 4 injured riders including 2 that went to the hospital and 1 with a broken femur. My family asks the question, “is it worth it?”
The races – Kirk Corsello won the Masters 40-45 (and the race) with the help of 4 other teammates (Jeff B, Keith, Ty and Reid).
Our race, Cat 3, was 68 miles with 5 loops around a rolling hills course 13 miles. Mostly downhill on the front half with up on the second half. Timing was good for me because I’ve scheduled my season to peak around this time of year. Good legs and ready to go after the jersey. Breaks tried to form throughout the race, unsuccessfully. They never lasted more than 5 miles. On the last loop, about 10 miles from the finish, a group of 6 or so riders got off the front. People were bridging across and started to look dangerous as the group grew to 12 people. Chad wanted to bridge across and had an opening on the right side of the road to move past the front of the peleton. We were bunched up, one lane road, going just over 30 mph. As Chad came even with the front line, the rider to his left moved to the right and they locked handlebars. Chad went down pulling the other rider on top of him. Most of the peleton went down in the domino effect after that.
I was sitting on the far left, next to the yellow line trying to find a line through the front (the yellow line rule says we NEVER cross the center of the road except in a sprint). As the pile of riders started to fan across the road I darted left, across the adjacent lane into the grass and around a road sign 3 feet into the grass. (Of course while other riders were dodging moving everywhere). I made it back onto the road and looked back to see the carnage. Knowing I couldn’t do anything, I hit the gas to catch the remnants of riders who made it through. 15 or so of us grouped together. I desperately wanted to join the front group and started yelling at the riders to work together and form a rotating pace line to chase down the breakaway. Only 4 of us were doing any work while the others sat in and drafted. On a few occasions riders would attack us trying to bridge up by themselves which we knew wasn’t going to work, why waste the energy? After 4 or 5 miles of not getting much help and not getting any closer to the front group, Greg, a teammate also in our group, reminded me that we had 2 guys in the breakaway who a better chance to win if we didn’t catch them. True. I moved back and sat in to let some others work for a little while. None of the peleton survivors caught us but not sure if they ever formed much a group either.
Greg was going to help lead me out for the sprint if we’re all still together for the final. He did anyway even though we were going for 13th place. Perfect lead-out and I took off at 300 yards for the line. Thought we were done, didn’t hear or see anyone but got picked on the line by somebody. Finished 14th. Never let up, but just didn’t have a huge reason to kill myself for a spot so far back.
At the front, Nate won the race with Adam taking second. A state jersey and 2 podium spots.
4 teammates went down in the crash. Steve and Erik ended up with road rash. Graham went to the hospital. Nothing broken, just bruised and beat up. Chad has a broken femoral neck (where the leg attaches to the hip). 3 screws to put it back together. Surgery went well but he has months of rehab.
I moved out of the Cat 4’s to get away from all the crashes. Not much has changed here in the 3’s. Masters?
I'll be on the bike tonight...