Monday, September 29, 2008

Near Misses

Nearly 7 years ago, I took my one and only serious crash on a bike. It was at RMR, of course, on the first Tuesday race of the year. The weather was nice and both A and B groups were large (this was before the C group was around, more on that later). Late in the race, the A's passed us B's on the back side and then slowed down so the B's tried to pass the A's back near the end of the dragstip. As you can guess, a 100+ guys in two groups all attacking to get to the corner first led to two separate, large crashes. Two of us ended up in the hospital and I was lucky enough to have 2 surgeries, a cool Ti screw and 8 weeks off the bike. This particular incident led to the creation of the C group and tighter rules on who should be racing in which group.

It took me more than a year to brave RMR again and I've slowly increased the number of crits I race each year. They still scare me, but I can't duplicate the intensity any other way. This year, I've done a record for me, 14 crits. The funny thing is since my big crash, I've never felt like I was going to go down. I've been in the dirt a couple of times at RMR, but I was never in danger of hitting the ground.

Well, that all changed Saturday at the Ogden crit. I think I got seven years worth of close calls in one race. In chronological order and in degree of potential harm, here's the fun.

#1 (risk of crashing - high, risk of injury - medium). A rider drifted into the guy directly in front of me and they both looked like they were going down. If they did, I would have been right on top of them. Somehow, the guy who was hit pulled it out and I was saved. I was plotting how I was going to fall to minimize the damage. I planned to land directly on top of the guy who caused the potential crash.

#2 (risk of crashing - high, risk of injury - low). I came into the first corner pretty hot on the inside of the group and came up on a guy going about 10 mph slower. I locked the wheels and slid sideways but kept it upright. I was going pretty slow by the time I slid, so a crash wouldn't have been too bad.

#3 (risk of crashing - very high, risk of injury - very high). Coming into the finishing straight late in the race, the same rider who drifted into the guy in front of me in #1, slammed into me while we were going about 30. I leaned into him, my handlebar hooked his top tube and I was sure I was going to hit the ground hard. However, somehow I managed to keep it up. After the race, 3 or 4 guys that were behind me each come up and said they have no idea how I didn't go down. They were glad I didn't because they would have been right on top of me.

#4 (risk of crashing - high, risk of injury - high). On the last lap coming out of the next to last corner, 3 or 4 guys went down hard in front of me. I was on Ken Louder's wheel and he was taken down as well. I hit him pretty hard, kind of rode over his rear wheel and came out of the pedals but stayed off the ground again.

I had planned to race the Cat 3 race in addition to the 45+, but decided I'd pushed my luck enough and just went for a ride around Ogden with Doug and Tanner. Thankfully, the crit season is now over for me.

Some good news, my Dugast tire I flatted Friday night appears to be holding air after adding more sealant. I'm going to test it out tomorrow to make sure. Saturday's race in Draper should be good fun.

Friday night cross fun.


StupidBike said...

Crits sound enticing.

Or not.

Lone-li-Road said...