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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

Crash Course

June 12, 2009

Kacey Manderfield, of the Lip Smacker Cycling Team, was so kind to write a report about her race in Cannon Falls yesterday. Enjoy!

It seems to be my luck that this particular course is just out to get me. Last year in 2008 I made it though what I remember as a more difficult race, as we had to fight wind across the fields unlike the calm air we experienced this year. However, after making it safely onto the final circuit last year and even making the lead break, I ended up surfing the pavement on my rear as a rider slid out in front of me leaving those behind her no where to go. This year the frustrations of poor bike handling skills continued and once again I’m left with no options.

The Cannon Falls race course in general is a fast one for a road race. There are no truly defining climbs and with a calm wind day like we experienced this year the chances of a break getting off and sticking were quite slim. This of course results in the majority of the pack staying together in a massive group, which also means it only takes one bad decision or move to take down numerous riders. As I recall there may have been a few small encounters early on in the race that caused havoc for some. In general holding a good position and staying away from the back can keep a rider out of harms way, but sometimes even those in the best positions somehow end up in a mess. If I had to name my strengths as a rider, I think one of the first things on my list would be positioning. I generally have a good idea of a smart place to be and I can generally get myself there and maintain my spot. Yet somehow this race has managed to result in pavement contact for me two years in a row.

This year we were only about 5K from the dirt section (my favorite part!) and entering the finishing circuits and I was in good position, getting ready to navigate my way to a good spot for entering the dirt. Before I got a chance to start advancing and with no warning at all a few girls in front of me just seemed to tangle and go straight for the pavement. I don’t crash often because I’m typically pretty good at avoiding such situations but there was no getting out of this one. In no time I was on the pavement and all I really remember was hearing my helmet scrape along the ground as I came to a stop tangled in the bikes and girls in front of me. I tried to tuck my head into my arms as I was curled up on the ground and prepared for what I knew was coming – a pummeling from all the riders behind me! Sure enough one after another, a wheel in the back and two or three strong hits to the back of my helmet. Then it all stopped and I just laid there on the bottom of a heap, waiting for bikes and bodies to clear off the top.

When I finally opened my eyes I was staring at the grayish black pavement less than an inch away from my face, my Rooly glasses lying next to my head were undamaged. Once I sensed that everyone has gotten of the top of me I started to move, a bit nervous about what I might discover, but lucky for me everything on my body seemed to be alright. By the time I was uncovered and on my feet our mechanic, Max, was right there and getting the chain back on my bike. The wheels were spinning and I jumped back on the bike as Max pushed me off to continue riding. I had felt the hits to my head but nothing was enough to cause any throbbing or ach there, and other than that I could tell my left forearm had taken a pretty good blow but I could still grip the bars and as I double checked there was no bone fracture pain! At this point it was clear the day’s race was over for me and anyone behind me, but I needed to finish so I was able to start the following day’s stage.

The finishing circuits brought more comic relief to the situation. Coming out of a corner I got out of the saddle just to stretch my legs and put some more pressure on the pedals when all of the sudden I heard a noise equivalent to splintering wood, simultaneously my left hand felt the breaking fibers of my carbon bars as they snapped at the bend. As it turns out the grinding of my carbon fiber bars against the pavement during the crash had compromised their integrity. At that point the drop of my bar remained in place only because of cables and bar tap. I was expecting to be pulled from the circuits as I was so far behind the main bunch but after being told I was suppose to complete all the laps I just sat on the tops of my bars, avoiding any pressure on the left hood, and rolled around the last few laps until the race was complete and I was assured the ability to start stage 3.

Although my bars and helmet need to be replaced and I was sure to have a few scrapes and bruises, it is all just part of the sport. It is always good to ride away from a crash and at the end of the day a bad day on the bike is still better than a bad day in a cubical!