One minute you’re hanging on for grim death on the back of a bunch, next thing you know bikes are tumbling and bodies sliding over the road.
That’s how it seemed to me anyway. I had my eyes on the shoulders of Harrison Munday and the first parts of the crash occurred in my peripheral vision – a black and white jersey thudding into the road quickly followed by Pete “Captain” Creagan. The old, addled neurons were firing unfamiliar signals: bikes should not be sideways or upside down; riders should not be on the ground; what the hell just happened? Unfortunately at these times, it’s instinct that takes over and we all know instinct can’t brake to save himself. The back wheel was now sliding down the macadam and it was only the shock of seeing a white and orange Trek flat on the ground that forced some semblance of rationality into proceedings – that’s Holly Harris’ bike so don’t hit her for goodness sake because the Mad Hatter will stake you out near the Guyra gun club. Hit the bike instead. Steer that way! No, bugger, I’m sideways again…let the damn brakes off and let the tyres roll so you can at least steer or you’ll be on the ground too. Good old rationality: always does the right thing eventually, always too late. A failed bunny hop over the trek at least left me upright, but the tangle of bikes and bodies left me fearing the worst. The bunch had halted and the cleanup had begun.
It turns out we were lucky – no broken helmets meant no head injuries – I haven’t heard from PC or Hayden or Holly about their injuries but the road rash and the ginger handling of limbs was enough to remind anybody that cycling is serious stuff sometimes. A lapse of concentration will see skinny wheels touch and that thumb print of grip you have been relying on will be gone in a blink.
Lets hope everybody is OK. As Peter “Wilko” Wilkinson said at the time, it’s something special when club members know instinctively to give up racing when something like that happens. A shame too, since the 6 minute group were looking the goods and quickly reeling in Wilf and Jo “Jwoww” Wauch with pursuers a long way down.
Get well soon everybody.