Saturday, May 3, 2014

Where's The Podium? #19: Poor House RR - crashed out

Had worse.
It's a sickening feeling to go down on a bike. Worse feeling when you have found your way so close to a win, 150 meters more would have taken you there. This was violent, but more on that in a bit.

My coffee and granola bar breakfast sent me on my way to West Virginia in a happy, excited mood. I don't usually hit the road at 5:30am, but if its going to be for a bike race, I can't complain. 

Martinsburg WV's finest ready to escort

Once parked, I hustled to registration and pinned my race numbers as fast as I could to have time to pee, make sure my brakes weren't rubbing rims, and slide into the starting area.

The organizer and official kept it short and sweet for the start, and we were off on the 10mile loop ready for our race. What wasn't short and sweet was our neutral start. I won't say much more than I am not used to a +2mile neutral start. At any rate, we were on our way to completing 3 laps of the loop. 

Along the way, the pace was well kept. There were obvious teams interested in being at the front except on climbs where they all dropped back through the field. That was sorta funny, but I would not get in their way when they wanted to ride in front on the mostly downhill second half of the loops.

We had good speed for the race considering the terrain and the field strength. My only hiccup came during the second lap on the steepest of the climbs. For whatever reason, my right foot unclipped from its pedal right as I started to put on the wattage. This caused me to lose all speed and have to try and not panic as I clipped back in on this 9% hill and work my way back to the group. I wasted no time as there was another hill to cover, and I burned a match to get back on the group. It took a lot out of me, but I knew it was what I had to do, and that I was not going to lose this race on something like that.

Skipping to the last lap.

I work my way up the field and sat no higher that 5th wheel going into the final few miles. I see them ticking by and I know that I have to hold the wheel I have in front as he is going a great job keeping his spot. All I had to do was stay to the yellow line, wait for between 500m-200m to the finish line to open my sprint to the far outside left lane where 1. No one would get around me 2. The road's last 100m had a slight left-hand bend that I would use for even more advantage. 

I was perfect. 800m to go, someone sped off my wheel to my left. He got a gap on the field  but was fading. I begin my sprint 200m to go slingshotting someone else's wheel and I surge! My power is big and I feel this win slowly take me in. I am gunning for the wheel of the one off the front. I can see he is fading fast. I look up as he looks back for who might beat him to the line. It was to be me. I can feel myself breaking away from the front of the group. I tell myself that I am the fastest one here. Then - snap!

My body is slammed to the pavement at +32mph. I don't know what just happened. I feel my head hit. My face and body slide across the pavement and find a stop in the gravel at the side of the road. My twisted bike is somewhere behind me. The first thing I think to say "f*ck that!" (Sorry, parentals.)

I don't know what happened. I have guessed that my gears skipped and somehow that caused me to fly to the ground. Maybe someone flung their bike, in the frantic sprint, into my back wheel and took me out. I'm not sure though. All I know is that I was really close to that win, and I really wanted it. 

Race promoter, Matt, was really helpful making sure I was alright, and with the help of some volunteers, found my keys that had flung out of my rear pocket* during my crash. 

So as not to dwell too much more on this, I'm glad to say that apart from adding onto roadrashes of before, I am fine and ready to race tomorrow.
I did, however, lose my favorite jersey today.
Between the jersey, helmet, and bib shorts, I lost easily $400 worth of kit today. Could have been worse! - always!

I'm glad I will get to race tomorrow, and I hope that I can race this Poor House Road Race again next year! 

Some more photos from today...

A bit scuffed

Take me home

As I was sitting by the roadside waiting for my keys to be found I heard a racer talking so someone walking back with him from the course say "The guy that crashed would have won." Then he pointed to me. Last night I typed out a message "I'll have some good news for you after my race tomorrow" to my girlfriend. That's how confident I was. I didn't sent it, but I guess me typing it out was enough to gynx it.

*my crash ripped open the stitching between my back pockets making it one long pocket-pouch.

Thanks for reading.

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