Yup, first crash of the year and all I lost was some skin. That isn’t too shabby.
The group was about 45 riders deep with some pro-team athletes joining the pack at the Killington Stage Race in Vermont this weekend. Carrie, Ariane, Amélie and I representing Stevens – The Cyclery team for a three-stage weekend of racing. The first two days were road races and the final day finishes off with a ITT (individual time trial).
Expecting a rainy start, I was quite pleased with the weather. Cloudy but relatively warm and not a drop of rain. The course was 3 laps of a 30.5-kilometre circuit, gradual uphill climbs with fast descents into the finish line. The race action was pretty quiet for the first 10km and then there would be an attack, each time being brought back by the peloton and not lasting very long. This was most of the race, rather uneventful.
On each circuit, there was a wee-bit of a hill that ha QOM points to grab each time around. First time and second time up I snagged a third. I can definitely say that the first time was the hardest. My legs felt like they were pulling an extra 45 pounds up a hill and couldn’t get power through the pedals. Talking to some of the women after, there seemed to be the same feeling.
As things were quiet in the peloton for parts, it gave me the chance to catch a glimpse of some scenery. Much of our ride was through the countryside with a couple stream and river crossings. Lush forests and bright green lawns brightened up the greyish day.
Carrie went for some sprint points (the finish line acted as the sprint line during the circuit) and grabbed some great sprints. We were even able to practice a lead-out (something I am not as familiar with as it is a team thing) and pulled Carrie to about 200m before the line. Not generally a sprinter, Carrie managed some really strong finishes!!
So this crash. I went down after hitting some gravel on the side of the road. It was during the final lap just in the last km before the QOM climb. I’ve got to say, when you crash it’s sometimes hard to remember what runs through your head. All I can say is that instinct probably saved my head from more sever beating.Tuck into a fetal-like position and cover your head with your arms. About 5 other riders crashed into me, going down as well. It’s a good thing bike tires are rubber and that we were going down a hill (instead up!). Fortunately my Giro helmet, Smith Optics sunglasses and bicycle were okay!
Crashing only ended in some lost skin, but adrenaline was rushing and I was able to catch back up to the group within 4km. During this bridge, I had to descend a hill which brought my speeds up to about 84km/h. This is exhilarating, but also huge for me because I have really been trying to trust the bike on descending, trust the tires.
The finish was fast as it was slightly downhill, which also made it rather scary. You want to make sure you’re either near the front during this or at the back. I stuck near the front and crossed the line in 6th position, Carrie in 8th.
The thing about stage races is that it’s time cumulative (or at least most are) over all three stages. About 2/3 of the group that started finished with the same time.
Since we were done by noontime, we headed to back to the chalet (at the base of Killington Mountain ski hill which still had some snow) and relaxed for a bit and got showered, definitely in the reverse order 🙂
Food is always either the first or second thing on a cyclists mind after a race. Pasta with some amazing meatballs that Alizée made (a rider from Team Tibco) was delicious and carb fuelling for the next days 100km race.
Next up, 100km with a summit finish… so until then, eat, sleep and keep pedalling!