The Tour of Galena takes a lot to pull off. Volunteering, helping our race directors, AND trying to race took it's toll and the weekend wasn't so lucky for me. A crappy TT where my time was two minutes longer than last year. An abandoned RR after an a half lap in the rain just a few painful minutes off the back. A decent 9th place finish in my first crit. But the story happens in the second crit.
Second crit, Cat 3, last race of the day. The beginning of the race was dominated by a few of us disrupting the pack so Nikos could stay out in no-man's land off the front. I'm not sure why no-one figured it out, but Nikos was sure-as-hell going for the mid-race omnium points, just like he said he would, and he got them. As soon as he did, he drifted back and I think that started a collective worry in the pack that the omnium had just been shaken up. Speed picks up, and the bigger field's dynamics come into play. More bunching, more hurry up/slow down tactics. A few attacks. More aggressive moves up the outside in the straightaways. Each straightaway was at a jack-rabbit pace. Each set of corners was mobbed and multiple bikes across. We had ourselves a race, but everyone was riding like a gentleman.
With a few laps to go, Hudson and I start moving up and get into fairly decent position, with the plan being he'd be my lead out. I was ready. I had a series of crappy races to redeem myself for.
On the bell lap, we're sitting in the top 10 wheels but I'm in front of Hudson. Oops. That's not gonna work. Heading down the back straightaway, I see an opening to move up in the middle of the pack and slot-in behind Delabre. Others are also trying to move up on the outside. I start to make my move for the slot behind Delabre when shouting from the left starts and a bike is quickly moving left-to-right, clearly past that point of recovery... past the point where you just know it's going down. I start making my move left to cut behind the back of the crashing bike and I start believing I'm gonna make it. But then he hits someone and comes back left--- right into my escape lane! I get a sinking feeling in my gut and know I am so screwed.
I crash right into the bike, breaking my front carbon tubular rim. I launch airborne and land on my hands, then shoulder and start my slide. As I hit the ground, time truly slowed down and I thought, didn't break color bone. Good. Didn't hit head. Good. Sliding on shoulder and hands but not burning up a ton of skin. Good. Stopped. Whew.
As I'm ruminating on my excellent crash-luck, a guy behind me is hitting my just landed bike. Right as I stop sliding, the now airborne rider and bike crash-land. On... me.
Dude gets off me. I lay down for a spell and catch my breath. Realize I'm still okay, just banged up. Someone helps me up and that's when I realize the true damage... Broken front wheel. Broken top tube. Broken right pedal. I broke a pedal... snapped the front right off. Who does that?!? I was so upset about the bike as I carried it back to the start, I forgot that I was also hurt and bleeding. God bless adreneline.
In the end, Nikos took the omnium win based on his early race gambit and strong prior results. Delabre sprinted to third in the crit. I am walking with minimal road rash and a couple of bruised ribs (thank you base layer and gloves!). The next iteration of Josie will be here in a week and I'll have another week from there to get into some semblance of shape for ToAD!
Even though it ended rough for me, ToG was a great weekend for xXx Racing and the Midwest cycling community. I received tons of positive feedback about the production value of the race, the friendliness of our team's volunteers and the awesomeness of the course.
Great job, xXx Racing!
RIP Josie III.