I’ve been sitting in, waiting patiently while I get my fitness in order to start out my racing season at the Rockleigh Criterium. I’ve been heading to the races, working as a Marshall, and wishing that I could be out there in the field, but knowing that I’m just not there yet.
Last night a teammate was involved in a crash just before 1-to-go. I had just turned away from the field when I heard the popping of tubes, carbon wheels, bones, or whatever it ended up being. I had the sickening feeling that my teammate was wrapped up in it, and sure enough, he was.
Turns out a rider toward the front of the pack crossed wheels, and couldn’t recover. He went down, and with the bunch accelerating for the last lap, took down a good portion of the main field with him. It’s the first crash I’ve witnessed live — sure I’ve heard the war stories from other riders, but seeing my bud bleeding from his road rash, his bike looking, well, not so good, I started to have a gut check. Do I really want to do this? Do I really want to get involved in Crit racing?
Other courses have felt safer to me than Rockleigh. Branch Brook feels more open, even though the pavement is about as smooth as a pubescent teens face, with curbs lining the road. The corners are easier, and in the one race I spent there, the pack seemed to be a little more spread apart. But Branch Brook happens in March. It’s over, and it’s a long time for it to come again.
Do I suck it up and try to race Rockleigh? Do I buckle down on my training and start training for longer, harder, more hilly road races? I’m not sure what my plan is right now, but it’ll be a while before I look at the ‘Rock the same way.