Crashing is just a part of cycling. Someone mentioned to me the other day that statistically there is a wreck for every 5000 miles. Hmmmm, either I am a mathematical anomaly or I’ve filled my allotment for the next couple of years!
We come to expect to see riders go down when we are watching a race such as the Tour De France. It is easy for us to pause when we see the rider pull himself back on the bike and think, “Oh, nothing is broken. He’s okay.” Having just gone down myself in a wreck that I was able to ride away from, I’ve changed my view completely.
I saw the video of Robert Gesink crashing. Actually, I don’t think they ever showed him going down. They just caught him as he picked his bike up, mounted, and then rode away. He was cataloging all of his body parts to make sure everything was operational. The road rash and contusions were obvious. It was harder for us to know what might be going on inside his body.
He soldiered on to the end of the stage. He ended up over 9 minutes off the back. I’m sure he was in pain, as a matter of fact, we learn that he has withdrawn from the Tour due to a fractured wrist. The adrenalin passed and by the end he was unable to hold the handlebars.
I wrecked a week ago and I still have pain in my neck and shoulder. My body took a beating I didn’t realize when I first went down. Yes, for the most part I actually feel better when I am riding the bike, but pulling on the bars in a certain way brings the pain right back.
That isn’t said to seek for sympathy or anything. It is said to point out my deep respect for those riders who climb back on the bike and complete races and distances in ways that I couldn’t do even if I were in top form. I’ll never see a crash on TV in the same light again. Now it’s personal.