Racing is dangerous

WCMCC C grade road race Herne Hill 21 April 2013

My first race with the West Coast Mas­ters, it was sug­ges­ted I should race C grade. Happy to oblige, while I am a D grade at Peel, given it is now road race sea­son, I should earn pro­mo­tion in the couple of months to C grade. I was treat­ing this race as a big learn­ing experience.

It it was going to be inter­est­ing 6 laps, 57km race on a course I was rid­ing for the first time with 34 par­ti­cipants. First couple of laps, I settled down the back and was happy there, The third lap, moved up had a look around, did a short turn on the front and then spent some time rid­ing in the first third of the pack. Before drift­ing back down the group. It was a pretty unevent­ful race for almost 5 laps at a pretty hec­tic pace for me of 38 kph. Though it was not con­stant, sharp accel­er­a­tion out of corner for 500m, steady pace till next corner, sharp accel­er­a­tion out of corner for 500m and so on.

Early on the 5th lap, we got passed by 3 escapees from A grade. Expect­ing the rest of A, but noth­ing. Last corner of the 5th lap, a couple of cars, made the corner inter­est­ing, I was one of the people who got the line wrong and some­body on the front put the ham­mer down. Took about 3km of chas­ing to get back on, I got on as the group slowed and was passed by A grade. A grade never really dis­tanced C grade, as well approached the final corner, C grade was attempt­ing to pass A grade, when there was a touch of wheels. I saw a bike fly­ing through the air and heard a sick­en­ing thud. Attemp­ted evas­ive action, locked the rear brake, felt a bump on the rear, col­lided with the rider in front and we went down,we were not the only ones, around 10 of us hit the deck. Got up, start­ing dis­en­tangling bikes, when we real­ised one rider was not get­ting up. He had hit his head hard on the ground at speed.

Luck­ily one of the riders was a para­medic, another called an ambu­lance, another went for the club first aid officer and I helped out by slow­ing traffic, as the injured rider remained on the road. After our fallen com­rade was placed in the ambu­lance, we fin­ished the last kilo­metre or so at a sed­ate pace, fin­ish­ing some 30 minutes after every­body else.

Up until the crash, I was enjoy­ing the race and hop­ing to fin­ish in the front half. How­ever the crash put a big downer on the day.

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