Today I got told I should go into sales. I was chatting with one of the mechanics in the workshop at the Manchester Velodrome about the road bike that was given to me by Cycle Division bike shop (Barton-under-Needwood, Staffordshire) and my Cero wheelset that I have on it. I was telling him about a road race I did at the weekend and about a massive crash that happened after about 15km of the 100km race. We had just gone up the main climb of the lap, over the finish line for the 2nd time and were about to turn left onto a narrow and twisty decent. As usual, there was a bit of pushing and last minute position gains going on by everyone to make sure that they were first into the corner. Logically this wasn’t possible and next minute there were bikes and wheels and bodies flying in front of me and straight towards me. The rider next to me slammed on her brakes and catapulted over her bars and straight into the pile of bodies. I slammed my brakes on too and … stopped. Literally stopped dead about 10cm or so from the pile up that just happened right in front of me. Of course maybe I just got lucky, maybe the rider next to me had only used her front brake in the split second panic, or maybe it was because I was using disc brakes and she was on rim brakes.
There’s been a couple of incidents in training sessions, where cars have slammed on in front of me or pulled out on me at a junction and I should have crashed straight into them, but I didn’t. Again, you could argue I got lucky or my road awareness is good, having been exposed to this kind of outrageous behaviour since my first road ride with my Dad, when a lorry over took us on a tight and narrow lane with absolutely no regard for our safety and as a petrified child I sat and cried on the side of the road for a good couple of minutes afterwards, having thought I was going to be squished into pulp. However, I am not a cat with nine lives, or even just a super lucky, super aware person. I’m just a girl that rides a bike everyday and is 100% convinced that disc brakes are life savers.
For those wondering how my racing story ends, I got off my bike, picked up one that was crushing the girl next to me and lay it to the side, carried my bike round the crash, jumped back on my bike and chased back to the group. There was no convoy to help, but thankfully after 10mins or so of TTing, I made it back to the bunch where I sat in recovering for a bit. After lots of attacks and counter attacks and some good old ‘through and off’, I finished in the top 10 of the bunch sprint. The course didn’t suit me well at all being very rolling and with the last 1km all uphill to the finish. I never actually got to use my track sprint, but instead hung onto wheels and dragged myself up the climbers finish. I should also note that the riders that came down in the crash are thankfully all okay. Oh and because I’m either keen or crazy, I rode the 60km home from the race and had four excited dogs and my Moms homemade spaghetti bolognaise there to greet me on arrival- my fave.