Monday, May 24, 2010

Panoche Road Race 5/23/10 Cat. 3 Women

Panoche Road Race 5/23/10 Cat. 3 Women

Michele Heaton

This is one of my favorite races. I love the course. The beauty of the area, the gradual climb, the sweeping descent, the chance for an attack or sprint finish. That being said I seem to have some really bad “Panoche karma.” The first year I missed the turn around. The second year I got heat exhaustion (who didn’t?), leg cramps and had to ride on the side of my saddle for half of the race due to a wicked saddle sore. This year I was coming out motivated to finally have a good race, and hopefully pull out a win. Discouraging to arrive at the start and only have 3 other women to race with. All strong women though. One young woman I have raced with several times. She is strong but very inexperienced. I had mentioned something to her at Cantua Creek as she changed her line in an acceleration without looking and almost caused a crash. Did I mention I am a huge advocate of new riders learning how to ride their bike BEFORE they come out on hard group rides or races?

Since there were so few of us we decided to paceline. I quickly realized this young woman did not know how to do this and was trying to give her tips on how to paceline efficiently. She was very receptive and appreciative (so were the other women, both thanking me for speaking up.) The race was pretty uneventful until about 8K left to go. I had pulled off to the right of the paceline and felt a huge force hit my rear wheel. I immediately slammed to the ground and slid across the pavement. I saw her (the inexperied one) behind me, also down. I remember thinking thank goodness for helmets as my head hit with a great deal of force. I picked up my sunglasses off the ground, got up, made sure the other woman and her bike looked o.k., growled at her in frustration, saw the other two hammering up the road and jumped back on my bike. I wanted to catch them and win. Now I was mad at everyone. The one for taking me out after she had overlaped the wheel in front of her and the other two for taking advantage in a race of only 4 women. Pretty lame in my opinion. As I was going all out to catch them I began to assess the damage, where all the blood was coming from and if I was seriously injured or not. As I was looking around I noticed my power tap computer and mount were gone and had come off in the crash. Darn. I would never find them now. With all of my adrenaline and anger I was going fast and closing the huge gap even in the headwind. Once they realized I was getting close one of them attacked the other and easily went off to win. I came within maybe 200 meters of catching 2nd but still sprinted to the finish.

This was my first crash in my 8 years of riding. My body is lucky. Just some cuts, road rash and bruising that will all heal. However, not so lucky on the equipment. After Steve looked over my bike with his keen eye the tally stands at:

One ruined (brand new, $3000) frame

one cracked helmet

one bent (new, super light) race wheel

one lost power tap computer and mount

scuffed and bent shifters

scuffed new shoes and pedal

one shredded jersey and arm warmer

scuffed handlebar and shredded bar tape

I’m lucky. Someone in the men’s 45+ 4/5 race was air lifted out with a rumoured broken leg. I hope he is o.k. Not sure about this bike racing thing today. I definitely seem to have some bad karma at Panoche.


Dennis the Mennis said...

What a bummer... I too have some of that from Panoche. I either have a horrible race or win. Glad you're OK, but maybe that rider is rich and willing to help with your expenses... doubtful. Oh well.

Jim Langley said...

Wow, great report Michele. Sorry to hear about the crash but I'm so happy you didn't break your hip or suffer a head injury. I think that's one of the most dangerous races due to the curves and the many surprise rocks in the road. But, it's not right that you have to race with beginners and it's also not right to attack in a small group. I don't get that at all because what if you needed help? Incredible job finishing so strong. Heal fast!

Satin Matt said...

Sounds like you were the most responsible person in the race. Makes you the winner in my book.

Mike Bodge said...

Sorry about your crash Michelle. Make sure you take care of that shoulder it looked like you landed on it pretty hard. Have it looked at by a PT if it becomes real stiff in the next week. Maybe Steve can do the dishes and laundry this week? Haha, Heal fast!


Winona said...

Glad your body's ok but what a blow to your pocket book. Ouch.

Benoit Pelczar said...

Sorry to hear about your crash but glad that you did not suffer serious injuries.