Race date: 21-05-16
They say crashing is part of bike racing. You will crash. How badly and how often, I suppose, depends on how unlucky you are or how good your bike handling skills are.
I was quite excited for this race. It’d been awhile since racing, and racing within a grade. In fact, I think it was my second D grade race. I felt like I could do well.
The race started and ended in a winery too, so that was a bonus. It also had a women's race, so there'd be lots of people around.
I had everything worked out for this race, I’d learnt from my last races. However, instead of painting a cycling masterpiece, I simply chucked all my paint at the canvas, unopened.
There were 8 laps of the course, and just before the finish line there was a nice little hill, which on paper looked pretty easy and steady. The first time up it, we were in neutral so it was pretty easy.
Coming around for the second ascent was another story. The initial 30 seconds of climbing were relatively slow. I decided it was time to hurt some people. I set a pace far too fast. Another 30 seconds into my climb and I knew I’d made a huge error.
I was leading the group up the hill. Stretching out the group, but the only one losing, so it seemed, was myself. I was pushing 400-450w for a couple of minutes, trying my hardest to smile and pretend I wasn’t secretly dying inside. Not just of stupidity and false hope, but of embarrassment. I tried to cause some pain and I’d ended up taking all the wind in my big fat overconfident face.
At the top I gasped for as much air as possible without looking like I was suffering. It’s all a mind game.
On the descent I continued to lead the way. I think my ego was leading more than my legs. But alas, I couldn’t show my pain after just one lap. No one was dropped and the whole bunch came back together so that was a monumental fail.
I slipped back and caught my breath and everything was okay again. I should have thought more sensibly and sat behind a few people to conserve energy. That didn’t happen. I accelerated on a long descent and got a bit of a gap, so me being me decided to see if I could push on. I got into a low profile and peddled hard. If I could get to the hill with a gap and a bit of company anything was possible.
I was caught about 5 minutes later… By the entire bunch. Another waste of energy, oh and look there’s the hill again. Masterpiece. No.
I told myself not to go hard up the hill this time. I’d wait until the last time up.
This time however a gap was created. I was in the front group but sat behind the majority of those in it.
We were on the least technical part of the course, practically flat and all of a sudden a bike wheel appears at eye level. WTF. Oh, wait, another wheel in the air, and that guy is falling hard. Hang on, the guy directly in front of me is now falling. Shit. Me too.
I slammed on my breaks and managed to slow down and only fly over my handlebars a little bit. I smash my knee on the floor and roll over a couple of guys before ending up on my side.
I jumped to my feet and quickly checked my kit for damage—it’s limited edition okay. There was no damage, few. Now the bike. Damn, that’s not damaged, no insurance payout on this crash ;) Now for myself. My knee was bleeding and my hands were also bleeding a bit. I didn’t wear gloves. Whoops.
But that was it. By the time I’d done a few checks. Checked on the other fallers—one had to go to hospital in the end—it was too late to try and catch back up with the main field. Even the second group had long gone. I got on my bike and did a few more laps. My knee and lower back were in a bit of pain once the adrenaline wore off. But that was my day over. At least I was given some snakes as I crossed the line. Thanks Amy.