2015 is a wrap; and it ended way differently than I would have expected. Joe Martin was my last post, since then- I’ve broken 3 bones, been in countless of states, and raced in a World Championships. I’m still trying to piece together the whole broken bones issue. Literally.
The first one came at Winston Salem (the day before was the closest I had ever been to winning an NCC race, but finished fourth), when I found myself in the breakaway- taking the KOM each lap then BOOM. Giant pothole, sliding at 42 mph, and moans. You’ve probably seen the video, my little moan at the end is pretty classic, and doesn’t even really portray the actual pain I was in. Crashing that fast is really a special experience. One I hope not to relieve for a good while. Breaking bones on the other hand, sucks a good bit more.
So there I was, sitting on the side of the road, being taken care of by this nice women. My shoulder really hurt. The peloton passes, now I just need the race doctor. During this little intermission on the sidelines, a man comes over and shows me my crash video. I give him my email so he can email it to me. Once I’m done watching my crash video, out runs the doctor, who I am fairly certain stayed at a Holiday inn express the night before. Once staying at the Holiday Inn, I guess he decided to make himself a doctor, based on that qualification alone. He comes running out and asks me if I’ve ever dislocated my shoulder before. I say “no”, he goes, “okay, well it looks like you just have, squeeze your hands together while I push on your shoulder” Cue in me telling him I’m going to pass out and he stops. Ambulance gets there and off to the hospital I go. X-rays and a good cleaning, and I’m all set; collarbone fracture and a bunch of road rash. At this point I figured i would walk the few miles back to the race in my cycling cleats and scrubs. But upon standing I almost pass out and decide it might just be better to sit and drink apple juice.
Once that nightmare was over, I get home and end up getting collarbone surgery to get me back on the road quicker. Don’t tell my doctor but I was outside riding six days later, and racing 6 weeks later. Cascades goes well, as I was knocking outside of top 10’s a few stages, regardless my main focus was finishing off the season with a bang at Reading 120. The course was going to suit me perfectly. So I was super excited to be at my best form heading into the race.
Before hand I was fortunate enough to win the Nittany Stage race, thanks to the 10,000 feet of climbing in one 85 mile stage. Then race on the crit squad for a few weeks. I joked that I attributed to the smallest lead out squad in all of the NCC. Never in a million years would I have thought I could lead the front of an NCC race with less than 5 laps remaining. Especially for more than one lap. Talk about gripping and ripping. Once my crit squad duty was over, we headed up to Vermont for GMSR. GMSR finished with racing for the win on two stages, finishing fourth both times, but perfect for my peak at Reading 120.
At Reading, the plan was to be conservative until the finishing circuits, but attentive. A major break ended up going around 40 miles into the day, right as the rain started. Some of the heavy hitters were there, and I was ecstatic with my move. As we were cresting over a hill, an Airgas rider hit the ground hard after overlapping wheels. I easily avoid the crashed rider but as I am avoiding, I see Phil Gaimon locking up his brakes, and started sliding to the side of the road up ahead. I slam on my brakes, which might as well been an accelerator button with the rain, and find myself not stopping as Phil’s back is vastly approach. I slam into him from behind (insert funny joke) and flip into the ditch. If you saw this crash, you definitely would have called me safe on my run for home. Once I say to myself, NOT expletive AGAIN. I got up and chased back the break. Andddddd that’s when I hit the brakes the first time and knew I had broken my hand. With the torrential downpour, I couldn’t stop. I could only go 10 more miles until the adrenaline wore off and the agony kicked in, Team car for me.
So, my peak was shot to hell again, and I just broke two more bones. What do I do? Why not race a World Championships. The doctor double casted my hand, and I dialed in my TT bike. The week after Reading, six of us were to race the TTT in Richmond Virginia. A lifetime experience for myself and my teammates; an experience I didn’t want to rob them of by not even attempting to start. After flipping my shifters, I practiced the team formation, and learning to ride with a cast. Somehow, we didn’t die…. Not only did we not die, we didn’t get last. After a devastating UCI bike ruling, taking one of our teammates out of the line up minutes before the start, we composed ourselves and raced as best as we could with 5 riders. The crowd and support was absolutely amazing. USA sure does know how to put on a big bike race, and Richmond is the place to do it.
In the end, I think the year was a great one. I learned a ton, and really can’t wait for next year. You’ll be seeing some updates with that in the following weeks. Sadly the CX season had to go on the back burner this year, but hopefully I’ll come back better than ever for the 2016 road season.