Quad Cities Crit: The Struggle for Rubber Side Down

I trecked to the Quad Cities Crit (30+ 4/5 Masters), to engage in what looked to be a sprinters duel with an 8 corners tight and fast course. Having my family there was great support, but it did hinder my clear thinking, and I was unable to get the warm-up routine I needed. The trainer was ready and hoped it would be enough. At the line, the strong riders were called out specifically to come to the front (Illinois Cup Standing top riders)...Gun pop! I got to the front 5-8 riders and stayed there for the first 11 laps out of 14, staying on the outside, to avoid the sitting in mentality (personal goal for this race).  I was usually next to another rider, or in line with the front single file nature. There were the typical attacks off the front with attack team member riders slowing the front of the pack down. The rest of us would roll em' ovah and keep a slightly faster pace than they wanted. This prevented any real such attacks to occur.

The panic type nature of this race is inherent due to the constant turning. If you are too far back you can lose sight of the front quickly, and as a result everyone kept the pace fast. No time to look at any computer information for more than 2-3 seconds and only at two points on the course. Three laps to go and the back of the peleton attempts to jump the front on the first left 90 degree corner. Someone slammed into my left side leg/torso sending me hard into the rider to my right. That rider gets sent to the riders to his right taking 4-5 people out of the race. Then the same rider on my left hits the ground after his wheel impacts my left back brake and rear wheel...he goes down taking out 4-5 more riders. I stay on the bike and stand to sprint away when my wheel makes a clackity click sound, ready for more people to crash me, I decide to just sit and ride out the next corner. I look around, I am alone and my bike won't go anywhere smooth. The rider who barrelled me caused my wheel pin to come loose, and when I stood to sprint my wheel would rattle, so I sat down and peddled, my bike was not responding, my mind was racing, my brake was impacting my rim (since it was also hit from the rider on my left) so I peddled to the finish ending up at 25/41 riders. 29 riders finished, I estimate 10-12 riders were taken out from the crash.

I was in a good position when the crash happened, not sure how I would have finished if I was unaffected by the crash. This HAC rider is a little shaken up, but ready for more racing.

My bike was almost punctured through on the frame from the crash, carbon fiber does not just simply fall apart when impacted! But I hope it doesn't happen again. I maintain that my core and balance training kept me on the bike, but feel lucky to have finished upright.

 -Tom MacNeill-Zimmerman