In Sunday’s post I wrote of the crash I witnessed on my Saturday morning ride. It seemed that crashes were chasing me all during that first group ride back. One of those crashes happened back in 2008.
I mentioned in that post a rider who was one of the stronger riders out on the Hour of Power that morning. He was a visitor from Pennsylvania participating in the ride for the first time. His name is Ben Fetterman and he is famous — or infamous — for his distinction of being one of only two riders to go over the wall during a crash at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center velodrome.
Ben, a promising track racer, was racing Pro-1-2 on the track at the time. Several riders brushed on the back stretch causing a collision which sent riders and their brake-less track bikes sliding across the ground. That is, all the riders but Ben. As you can see in the photo above, Ben went up on the railing — and then over.
He would have probably been okay except he landed at the base of the grandstands you see to the left of the picture. He slid on the concrete at the base and slammed into the support structure holding up the seats. The ground caused such a bad road rash that Ben said he spent more time in the burn center than he did with any other doctor. It must have been pretty bad rash because looking at his shin, it looks like he spent a good amount of time with the doctor on that one!
There was a huge scar running down the front of his leg. He said that he has very little feeling there. He also continues to battle back and neck pain. Still, it hasn’t kept him off the bike.
Fetterman currently races category 3 road and criterium races — no more track. He said it was a combination of physical limitations and nerves that keeps him off the track. He is currently trying to find his way back into competition. He looks good. He rides well. He is young.
We both agreed. It is just good to be able to go out and turn the pedals. The competitive urge isn’t gone, it just isn’t the most important thing about riding our bikes now days.
As for crashing? It actually isn’t something I dwell on while riding. Sure, after a near miss like Saturday it all comes washing back over me. A couple of times as I’ve found myself in a tight spot, I have felt the nerves grab hold. However, with each new hour on the bike the thoughts fade farther and farther from my mind.
I’m coming back. My top end power is back. My functional threshold is increasing. I’m building my endurance. Most of all, I am growing more and more mentally confident on two wheels. I’m outrunning the crash.