|Photo taken by Ted Ingraham|
If you have ever been anywhere near, or in, a bike crash, you never forget the sound of helmets and bikes and bodies hitting cement. Today, my friend and teammate Tricia went down on a rather benign stretch of road. I haven’t exactly figured out what happened. The plan was for me to lead her out in the final turn, so that she could sprint for the finish. I had been off for a week and she was feeling good. I had high hopes.
It was the last lap and there were four of us in contention, two from Tritech Multisport, a shop in Columbus, and Tricia and I from the Summit Freewheelers. It was fantastic to have two of us in the thick of things. I had spent all last season off the back and unable to help out. Tricia was late getting into form this season because of a business move that took her to Toronto for four months, which she spent off the bike. We were finally both ready to go, anxious to play some head games with Tritech, our biggest rival. Don’t get me wrong. All of the girls who ride for that team are great and so incredibly talented. It just gets old being beaten by them time after time.
So here we were, going into an “S” curve that would take us into a sharp left hand turn towards the end and a sprint all the way. Jane (Tritech) was in front of me, Sally (Tritech) behind me, and Tricia behind her. We were in great shape going into the finish. Then we all heard it, metal, screetching tires, a body hitting the pavement, the smack of a helmet. These sounds that have etched themselves onto my brain for who knows how long. I turned around ever so briefly to see who it was and I saw the red and blue jersey and knew it was Trish. My heart started to pound so loud, I thought the whole world could hear it.
We continued the sprint, although it was the last thing on my mind. I let Sally get around me for second as I verbally screamed through the finish “Tricia is down!” We all looped around immediately to go back as people started to run towards her.
She was face down, not moving. Those that saw the video of Kivilev…it was eerily similar. There was blood on the road, quite a bit, and her one arm was kind of twisted back. I wondered if she was conscious, which she was. Then I wondered about her back. She was able to wiggle her feet. Thankfully, her dad is a cyclist as well and was on site, waiting for his race to start. He was ghost white, sitting nearby, obviously trying to hold it together for her.
911 was called and I rode back towards the main road. We were in a park that was closed off for the race. I barked out to a few people to stay at a couple of intersections to guide the ambulance. I moved cones and barriers to make way, and then continued on down to wait.
Once the paramedics hit the scene, things calmed down a little, although getting her onto the backboard was an excruciating process. We all figured that she had broken her collarbone or separated her shoulder, smacked her head really hard and probably had a concussion, had a long cut on her forearm, and some facial bleeding, but thankfully seemed to have all her teeth. She was apologizing to anyone who would listen about holding things up, and to her dad for worrying him, bless her heart.
When I called, the hospital told me she had been admitted to a room which usually means an overnight stay, but I wanted to write this down and get it out to remind people that you don’t have to hit anything on the road to fall down. Her helmet cracked from the blow and her glasses were crushed. Hurray for the UCI! Mandate those helmets. Today is her birthday. Thanks to the helmet, she'll live to see another.