#shithappens

It was only a C-grade club race. Yet remarkably by the time I arrived home from hospital from a recent crash high on codeine, there wasn’t just video footage of the incident that took me out – there were multiple angles available on Youtube, showing things from both the front and the back of the bunch (see below). Scouring these videos provided a welcome distraction from the discomfort of busted ribs, road rash and ringing ears. It also showed quite clearly what had happened…

An unfortunate squeeze up ahead between three riders on my left led to a rider shifting right, in turn baulking another rider who then shifted straight into the path of someone else making a move up the extreme right of the road. They collided and while one went cross-country and managed to stay up, the other fell straight into my path. And bang. That was that. Instant bitumen sandwich.

At the time I wasn’t quite sure what had happened. In fact, my first dazed reaction was to think it was the guy on the right’s fault trying to pass where there wasn’t enough room – he was very apologetic and clearly felt the same way. I even thought perhaps I had contributed to it somehow. But as it turns out, thanks to the video footage it’s quite clear, neither of us had much to do with it at all. It was a classic case of a relatively little thing on one side of the road magnifying into a much bigger thing somewhere else. A perfect storm of unfortunateness.

I happen to be good mates with one of the guys involved in the initial squeeze. He was pretty upset by it all and even called to apologise. It was nice of him to do that, but in my mind there was no apology needed. We all make errors out there from time to time, momentary lapses in concentration, from taking our hands off the bars at the wrong time, drifting about on corners, misjudging our braking or cutting someone off accidentally by shifting about in the sprint.

Thankfully, most of the time we get away with it with little more than a few heart flutters and coarse words being exchanged. But every so often something more serious happens, bones break and blood is spilled. It sucks, no doubt. But it’s part of racing. Shit happens. We all know the risks. I certainly did yesterday. And it certainly won’t stop me from being back racing as soon as I can get that doctor’s certificate. Oh, and at least my bike was okay…

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