Sunday, August 10, 2008

Damn Crashes (and Dog Days Race Report)

If you're going to race, crashes are unavoidable, I realize that -- but they still suck. I've had more than my share of crashes this year, three. I figure one per year is inevitable, but three is more than I bargained for. If I was a sprinter mixing it up to every line, I'd expect it more. If I raced the under 35 division, or in cat 5, they say I should expect it more. If I raced crits a lot, I should expect it more. But my crashes have been in training rides, 35+ road races, and straight 4 road races. So much for those theories.

In March, I think it was (I'm sure Trey can tell you the exact date), Trey and I both went down at probably 15 mph on a gravelly turn on a training ride. I got road rash, an involuntary goatee from my inability to shave my chin, and soreness for a week - he got a fractured trochanter and an unfortunate end to a season that had barely begun.

On June 22nd in the LaGrange RR -- about 300 m from the finish -- we were winding up for the sprint on an uphill grade. The guy in front of me touched a wheel, I guess, went down and I went over the top of him at 23.5 mph. I think it was my hardest crash ever, but luckily I escaped with lots of road rash, a black eye, a week-long limp from a swollen hip joint, broken handlebars, and a snapped brake lever. I think I broke my finger, too - it's still swollen almost 60 days later - but it still works.

Yesterday at the Dog Days Road Race in Canton we were approaching the finish line (200m?). I was accelerating steadily, moving up the right side, and looking for a top 10 sprint finish (that would have been a good result for me because I can't sprint at all). Just as I stood up to begin my last kick, the two guys in front of me decided to zig/zag different directions at the same time. As I remember it, the guy on the right swerved hard left and the guy on the left swerved hard right. They hit each other hard and went down hard. I had probably a full second to anticipate going over the top of them. At the crash I was at 121 rpm, 442 watts, and 42.2 mph (see graph).

Oddly enough, I only got relatively minor road rash in all the normal places -- elbow, knee, and hip - and no bike damage, although I did total my helmet. You'd think the faster the crash, the more injured you'd get. But so far there's not much correlation. Maybe there's really something to the skidding hypothesis.

I've had three crashes (so far) this year. If you 'believe' in statistics, that means 2009 will be completely crash-free. Maybe I'll only order two kits for next year.

One last crash note: On Jake's advice (and he should know), I bought some Nexcare Tegaderm transparent 'fake skin', I guess you'd call it. It works like a charm - good call - highly recommended. And it even has picture of a cyclist on the front:

Dog Days Road Race

The Cat 4 division rode three 16-mile laps of a rolling, somewhat technical loop. I had no teammates -- Iron Data, Reality Bikes, Cycleworks/HDR, and Aarons seemed to have the biggest numbers. I thought the race was a little harder than our typical GA Cup 4/5 races. I jumped off the front and bridged to other jumpers a few times, trying to get a successful break going, but was having no luck making anything stick. About a quarter of the way into the last lap, I ended up off the front with riders from Iron Data, Reality Bikes, and Aarons. I thought we had the right combination to stay away, but we were reeled in - by Cycleworks, I guess. Everything stayed together until the finish. I moved to the front without too much difficulty with a couple of miles to go. I think I was in a pretty tired field. There was a little two-tiered climb up to a right turn with about a mile to go till the finish. I figured if there was any way I could gather enough juice to jump at that point, I might get away. But the climb took so much out of me (and everyone else, I guess) that I could not make a jump. I was sitting about 10th in the field as we started the long downhill sprint. We had a headwind, so I planned to wait as long as possible to make my final jump (there was actually a pay-0ut to 6th place - wow). Then there was the crash.

A rider in front of Bill went down and Bill went over him in the Cat 5 race. He didn't have too much road rash, but he injured his hip that was broken a couple of years ago. He was hobbling around, but hopefully will just be sore for a few days.

I understand that Doug and Jeff did lots of good work for Jake in the Cat 3 race. Doug was sick and didn't contest the finish. Jake made a very last second, very fast punch to the line and took 2nd in the Cat 3 race. From where I stood, it looked like he passed 20 guys in the last 20 meters and would have won it if he'd had 25 more meters to the line. Congratulations.

I'm not sure how Eduardo fared other than he finished with the pack.

1 Comment:

WheelsVT said...

I was the RB guy in the break w/ you. :) I'm a <35 Cat4 so I hadn't been able to race w/ you until now. In fact, most of my teammates are in the >35 too so it was nice to have some teammates to work with.

I started the break w/ you to push the speed up, but once a few bridged up to us I thought we had a shot too and started working to open a gap. oh well. At least we managed to string them out.

In the sprint I was 2nd wheel as a lone teammate led me out early around the turn into the downhill. In hindsight I'm glad we started too soon b/c even my leadout guy was barely in front of the crashes when they happened. Unfortunately, one of our guys was in the middle of it, broke some fingers, and was pretty roughed up.

Tegaderm - Great stuff. Just be sure the wound is clean first. I locked myself into an infection last fall on one wound that wasn't completely clean even though I had scrubbed the heck out of it. ouch.