Well, I had a nasty crash in a sprint finish at the Tour de Hans on Sunday in Cambridge. I had a concussion and broke my collar bone :((
Not to mention road rash on my shoulder, arms and hip, and a few cuts on my left hand and leg. But my face is intact!
It's too bad because it was going so well. This was my second Tour de Hans (the 50km race), and despite limited time on the bike in the last few weeks I managed to get some good training to prepare for it. Having done the ride in the previous year I knew where to manage my effort and position myself this time around.
It's a great event and I wish a few BCCers would come, but there are other great events on that weekend. It's a combination race and fondo, and the race portion involved about 60 riders. There is also a 100 km ride.
The 50K route is a ride in the countryside going out and back in roughly a big rectangle. With southerly winds we were facing a headwind on the first half of the race and tailwind on the way back. I stayed shielded in the pack moving up only to stay in the top third of the peloton. The pace was very manageable on the first half as the front riders pulling in the headwind didn't want to work too hard.
On the second half of the route has a 50 meter hill shortly followed by a overpass over the 401 and a 180 degree switchback, then followed by another hill. The front riders turn the screws right after the switchback and being in the back of the pack makes it a painful affair with a risk of being left behind.
I struggled but managed to stay with the pack last year, so I made sure this time to be fresh and in good position this time around. Being out front made a big difference, it was hard but I didn't burn my entire matchbook on the effort.
Shortly after we were getting to the end and the pace relaxed with about 5 km remaining. At about 3 km from the end the route crosses the 401 again on an overpass and takes a 90 degree turn on a service road that gently turns to the straight finish.
I made sure I was no more than three or four wheels back before the overpass turn because I knew the pace would ramp up after the turn making it difficult to secure a good position for the finish. I had my sights on this grey hair Collingwood rider a few wheels ahead of me and figured that if I beat him I could get a good result in the 50+ age category.
The overall winner was Krystoff Kurzawinski, owner of a coaching business and team bearing his name. He's in the 50+ group and he and a younger guy broke away and built a gap of 50 seconds to take the win.
From looking at the results I can tell we were a pack of about twenty in the last few kilometers. After the last turn with 1 km to go to the finish line the speed ramped up and I was feeling good, positioned on the left side with lots of room to move around.
Then something bad happened.
A young Kurzawinski guy cut the guy in front of me and their wheels touched and I saw them going down. I tried to veer left but couldn't avoid him so I too went down.
My last memory is losing control of the bike and going down. My next moment was sitting in a chair, dazed, with a paramedic tending to my wounds passed the finish line.
How I got there I have no idea, whether I had temporary amnesia or was knocked out from the concussion. But me and my bike without me on it crossed the finish line 10 minutes later according to the chip-timed results!
A few minutes later they loaded me and the guy who went down in front of me in an ambulance to go to Cambridge hospital.
There I got an X-ray and CAT scan. I have a fracture at the tip of my collar bone. The CAT scan was good and I didn't suffer head trauma. Thank goodness for helmets! And gloves.
The other guy landed on his face and hands and it was not a pretty sight. He actually got up on his bike and raced to the finish, but has no recollection doing so! His wife filmed him passing the finish line on her phone and showed us at the hospital.
Four of us were in the crash, and my other companion in misery at the emergency landed hard on his hip and got 5 stitches. The young guy who caused it all just walked away unscathed.
This was my first race with no sketchy moment, no sudden breaking, no erratic riders, no dangerous stuff. Except of course in the last kilometer. I heard a few times people say: "If you race you will crash. Get over it." Well, I didn't yet get over it and I'll be taking it easy for the next while.
Last, and more importantly, the bike is fine with only a scratch on the saddle.
What a year of accidents for BCC!