Pace Bend Road Race – Austin, Texas

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Pace Bend road race is one of my favorites. I’ve raced the course both directions and like it fine either way. It’s 10km around with alot of rolling, big ring climbs. We were racing the course clockwise, which is the direction we raced a couple years ago when I won. But, Sunday, the wind seemed to be blowing exactly the wrong direction and it made the course way too easy. The hills seemed short and fast. No gutter riding. A mass of 100 + guys rolling around at 30 mph. It seemd from the start that it was going to be a field sprint. And it pretty much was. But, not without drama and carnage.

There were a bunch of different fields racing on the course when the Pro 1-2 was racing. I’m not sure of all the fields racing with us, but for sure the Women 1-2 and Women 4’s. After a couple laps, we were directed to the side around some riders on the ground. I glanced over and saw Catherine sitting on the ground with another woman. I thought she had to be hurt, because it isn’t in her personality not to get back on her bike and ride if she is able to. I was obviously worried. The next lap, going through the finish area, I didn’t see her. Or the next. On that lap, we were passing the Woman 4’s when things went bad for everyone in general. Long story short, a bunch of men and nearly all the Woman 4’s are laying on the pavement. We rode another 6 mile lap and were stopped along with everyone else on the course to allow the EMT’s take care wounded.

I sat there for a couple minutes and decided to ride the half a lap over to the start line and try to find out about Catherine. There were guys everywhere. Going both directions. Some people were told to stop at the finish. Others to ride a lap to the stopped field on the course. I found Catherine getting some attention at the finish area. One of her quad’s had a grapefruit sized lump square in the middle of it. Plus the normal skinless elbows etc. It ended up she was helping Stefan Rothe’s wife who had a giant gash in her calve.   Less than a couple minutes later, the lead car came by and the race was on again. There were guys jumping back into the race from everywhere. I’m not sure what to think about that, but I have no idea of any other riders specific. I don’t think it effected the race much either way. The field did seem more worn out the next lap. I was kind of stoked that maybe it was going to start getting hard. Brian attacked a few time, with no luck. Nothing was going to get away.

About a km from the finish, there was the hardest hill. Gonzales Domingo, from Orven, the guy that fell the day before, took off at the base. Then Alex Boyd and Phil Wikoff. I could of went each time, but thought it was too early. But, it wasn’t. They had at least a 100 meters by the last corner. 500 meteres downhill to the finish. I came around the corner 5th or 6th and just waited. I started sprinting at about 300 meters and screwed it up completely. I started into a hole between two Orven riders, only to have the hole close. I had to pull my brakes, back out and go around the outside. I ended up 5th. Should of could of whatever. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t gettting around all the guys in front of me, but you never know. I do know you can’t scrub 5 mph off your speed with 200 meters to go at the end of a bicycle race and be happy with the end result.

Then I found out Adam fell in the sprint. And Catherine was bleeding herself. 2/3 of our car were not that happy. Catherine was supposed to fly Sunday nite. No. Adam spent the next 4 hours at the hospital. Not before I’d used my last suture kit sewing up his side. Then he exposed his elbow from under the gauze the EMT’s had wrapped it with. There was nothing I was going to be able to do to fix it with my needle and thread. He needed some X-rays and sutures beyond my ability. So, the night was long. But, the weather has been good since. No broken bones. Only one broken frame. Could of been worse, I guess…..

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