If you haven't heard by now, I got a close look at the pavement right before the finish line at the Dawgs Days of Summer Circuit Race.
The day began with me getting lost on the way there. No GPS here, just good old memory and that got me a bit turned around, but a few turns and curse words and I was back on track in no time. While warming up with a few teammates, it was suggested that I should attack, but having spent the better part of the night before drinking beers at Dan's wedding, the thought of slugging myself wasn't a pleasant one and it was then that I found out the race was 30 minutes and not 60 as I had anticipated. Better read the instructions more carefully next time.
Off we go and is the usual parade of shaved legs guys going in circles, this time though, everyone was behaving through the turns. 2 laps into the "parade" and the lap counter says "9 to go". Soon after that a prime was offered and I gave it one of those, "why the hell not" type of tries, only to be bitch slapped by the headwind on the homestretch. A mental note was made.
Went into stealth mode tailgunning the pack for a few laps after my not so fruitful effort with the prime and decided that on the back side, with the wind at our backs, it was easier to move to the front on the inside, so with 5 laps to go I gave the theory a try and achieved positive results by easily gliding all the way to about 8th wheel. With 3 laps to go, there were still several riders in the pack with no real attacks taking off, other than the odd acceleration to nowhere that is quite popular in our category.
2 laps left and everyone decides to be at the front of the pack which was fine by me, the last 200m had a stiff headwind and I was confident the door would open for me to go through. Bell lap and as planned, I made my way towards the front of the bunch on the back side, having to ask a Coppi fellow to step to the side as his speed was going backwards as the rest of the pack's was increasing. Last right hander turn, there's some tension to my left but I'm still confident on the right side strategy. The speed is not top end because of the wind, but the front runners are winding it up. I sawa clearing and put the bike through it and then opened the throttle, full gas.
I'm thinking to myself at least a podium if not better as I'm reving the engine to full capacity, when all of the sudden, trouble infront of me. It's hard to recall but I believe two Latitude guys touched wheels, and one of them made an emergency landing in a spot where I would be in about 0.000000004 seconds. His bike skidded to my right and shot the only exit I had. He was rolling now onto my path and the ending wasn't going to be a pretty one.
Slow motion is great when you are watching sports on tv, but when you hit another fellow down racer at about 35mph (the last reading on my onboard computer), the effect is surreal. I grabbed two hands full of break, but the laws of physics have sealed my faith and the my front wheel hits the Latitude rider right around the mid chest area. Blurr is a good way to put it, because I don't remember how the bike and I got detached, what I do remember clearly is hitting the ground with my right shoulder and then the "thump" sound of my helmet made as my head impacted the road with force. I may have rolled, don't know for sure, but I ended up on my side, never blacking out, going dizzy or feeling funny. I scanned the road and spotted my bike about 10 feet away, three or four down bodies were joining me in the festivities and people were coming to offer aid. Jorge from Artemis picks my bike up as I sat on the curve to go over the damage. "Bike's fine" reported Jorge which was a good sign. My hip and shoulder had a burning sensation that I hadn't felt in about 8 years, and although they both were hurting, nothing was broken. A closer inspection of my helmet showed the two cracks and I was thankful I walked away from it with pretty much minor cuts and road rash. At least two of the other guys were taking to the hospital and I hope they are both OK.
This morning I'm stiff as hell, but thankful because it could have gone bad in a hurry. Going to the doctor in a bit to get things checked out and then will go for a spin tomorrow to see how I feel. Wednesday I'm flying to Panama and Friday is the first two stages of the Vuelta a Chiriqui-Masters. Costa Rica, Colombia, Belize, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Honduras and the locals are sending teams. I'm going at it "mercenary" style racing for my home province, but not really having a team to race with. It should be tons of fun especially the stage on Saturday which finishes about 300 meters from my parents' house. With yesterday's crash is going to be hard to tell how I will feel, but I will give it a "why the hell not" type of try.