There was a bad crash today in the Upstate Winter Bicycle League. Chris Miller (Spinners) and Jim Cunningham (GlobalBike) were injured. There was a lot of blood around and some definite pain, but both are in the hospital for overnight observation and are expected to come out of this okay.
The wreck was at the rail road tracks on Hwy. 20 — you know the ones. The tracks go diagonal across the road. One rider wobbled. Wheels got crossed up. One rider when down hard in front of the pack. There was a pile up involving serveral riders, but only the two required medical attention.
I have come close to several pile ups in my short tenure cycling. However, they always seem to happen right behind me or enough in front of me to allow me to avoid them. This one was one of the former.
The Hincapie Development Team was my focus today on the ride and I was getting some video of the youngsters riding in the pack. I had gone back in the back to catch some of the guys there and then started working my way up to the front where Strad and Christian were riding.
On my way up, I got in behind Jim Cunningham and I remember going around him in order to get to the front. It wasn’t much longer after that when we got to the tracks. I had just turned my camera off to make sure I had two hands on the bars. We crossed them and I heard the hollow sound of a bike going down — it seemed like it was right behind us!
I didn’t look back, but Christian did. He got pretty excited about what he saw. From his vantage point he saw the majority of the field coming up on the rider who went down in front of everyone. It was then a pile up — which probably looked worse looking back at it.
Those of us on the front waited for some time not knowing what was going on. Tom Smith called back to the crash area and the word we got at that poing was that Chris (at that point they did not give us a name) had bashed his nose in and his eyes were rolling back in this his head.
We also heard that Jim was having trouble breathing — either he had broken a rib or punctured a lung. NOTE: I am not saying that is what happened! I’m saying that was what was in our minds as we made our way back to the scene on our way to Greenville.
Thankfully, a rider was medically trained and knew how to respond in the situation while the group waited for the EMT to arrive. My understanding is that it took a good amount of time for them to get there — though at times like that even a short time seems long!
Amazing. You think you are going to get taken out in a sprint or something along those lines. You end up getting taken down by a rail road track. I still recall talking with Jim before the ride. He was excited about the new team organization and the team camp. How things can change in just a matter of seconds.
Get well, Jim and Chris! I’m praying for you.