Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Slow motion disaster

Have you ever had that feeling where something bad is hopping and you know it but can't do anything about it? You can see the disaster happening right before you and it seems like it is in slow motion but you are helpless? Well, today I had that feeling.

Stage 5 of the Tour of Hainan was pretty much a flat stage of 150km. After 17km along the beach front, the race took a left turn into a 7km section that has a history of strong crosswinds. Over the years, this section has split the field up so we were told to ensure that we were at the front when we reached this point.

After the left turn, I was positioned in the first 20 when I hit something. Something big. The loud 'crack' that came from my bike was a bit concerning and both of my tires were instantly flat. I put my hand in the air and waited for the team car as the race rolled away on the most critical and difficult part of the course.

Moments later, the team car drove past me, unaware of my problem. Thankfully, the Polish team CCC stopped to assist me and pushed me back up to the back of the cars at 100kph. I pedaled to get up next to my team car and my bike felt funny.

Not 'funny' as in the gears didn't work but 'funny' in that when I pedaled, the bike felt like a wet noodle.

I rode up to the window and asked the mechanic to check my bike for cracks cause it felt weird. He grabbed me and then everything went into slow motion.

My front wheel wobbled, and I thought 'this is not good'. Then I had time to think, 'Why is my front wheel sideways? The front wheel shouldn't be sideways'. I saw my forks snapped in half and I began to fall. 'This is gonna hurt, I wonder how fast I'm going? Oh no! Oh no!'

I landed on my hip and rolled over a couple of times. I got up and onto the spare bike but my hip was hurting. The ambulance pulled up and took me to hospital for x-rays. Thankfully everything is okay. Except for a couple of grazes, I came up pretty good. Maybe it's because I had so long to think about it.

At the finish, I was able to check out the aftermath on my bike... Now we just have to figure out what we owe CCC for the wheel!

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