The Ole Crash and Chase

Intelligentsia Cup - Elmhurst Cycling Classic 2016

The cliche about crashes (and I have experienced it) is everything goes into slow motion, you see the danger, attempt to avoid it, desperate seconds taking minutes as the realization that your fight against the inevitable of physics is futile arrives. Then impact like a NHTSA crash test. Frame by frame.

This is not one of those occasions. Everything is so quick. I’m cornering mid-pack, middle of 3 wide, turn 1. Suddenly 2 bikes and riders are right where I’m going, absurdly sideways and on the ground, they seem so low below me, and blocked on both sides so utterly unavoidable. It’s a single snapshot, then wham, boom, crunch, sky, the pretty gardens of elmhurst, road, sky, road again. and finally I’m still on the deck.  I don’t recall flying too far, but I’m away from the bike. Riders are streaming by yelling. I pull my legs in and huddle. Nobody else collects us.

I can stand, and it’s like a crash on the tour, 3 of us standing up gingerly, bent over and taking a bewildered assessment. What’s hurting?, well everything, but nothing especially. Where’s the bike. In a heap with the others. Pull it upright. What’s broken?, seems like nothing but slightly deranged bars and shifter.

The USAC moto judges are on hand, ‘if you carry on you have to chase’ one offers as he sees me checking over the bike. This happened just after 3 to go, just after free laps go west.
I’m not sure what to do. The race is gone, but the race was gone anyway, a long chase against a breakaway of 3 with a pack that mostly wouldn't work together on a 95degree day of baking sun. I see if my wheels will turn, and with some tweaks to the brakes they will. The other two are in no shape to continue, so I remount and carry on alone, taking it around the course at increasing speed, too much adrenaline still in my system to feel the hurt yet. I have a bloodied elbow, knee and a scuffed up but remarkably untorn shoulder on my jersey.

I finish this race. Not even lapped, but DFL.

The ambulance guys patch me up and I pack up the remarkably unscathed Ridley to go. Not before picking up the $40 prime I won. A silver lining to go with some golden luck that I’m riding home in my car not superior ambulance elmhurst (a race sponsor) to the local hospital.

~Bevan Brookfield