But then Murphy's law came into play.
The break hadn't left yet so we were flying down this false descend, when I heard an object being flung up by a pair of wheels in front of me. Less than a second later I heard a loud CRRRRAAAAACK and my frontwheel stopped turning in less than two meters. My ninja-like reflexes made me lean all my weight to the back but that doesn't help much when you have a branch stuck in your spokes at 50km/h.
Pain. Denial. This can't be happening again. Not today. Acceptance. I'm down. I'll just stay down. It's over. Regret. Today was supposed to be my day.
Riders picking up their bikes around me. I don't want to.
The race doctor appears. Waves his finger in front of my face. Tells me to follow it with my eyes. Asks where it hurts. I point to my right hip. Mechanic changes the wheel. DS appears and straightens helmet on my head. Shoves my bike into my hands and I'm off.
Sprint to the back of the team car and get into an aero tuck. Quick look on my garmin. 75km/h. The road tilts up. Show my DS a downwards pointed thumb; he's going too fast. Back in the convoy. Slowly advance from car to car. Back in the peloton. Teammate asks me if I'm okay. "J'ai trop mal".
Suffer over 4 long climbs. Suffer more from the bumps on the descends. Acceleration upfront. Struggling to keep up. Change gear. Drop chain. Mutter a thousand swear words. Carnage behind, no teamcars in sight. Slowly get off my bike. Fix the mechanical. Get going as teamcar arrives. Get drafted until comissaire waves hand angrily at DS. Almost get taken out by another passing teamcar. Throw some ugly words at its passing taillights.
Take risks on the descend. Almost get dropped by another rider. Catch the back of the convoy. More climbs, more pain.
Hang onto the back of the peloton. 3km to go. Some black spots in my sight. Get dropped. Roll downhill to the finish.
Unable to unmount bike, soigneur comes to assist. Can't stand up straight. Find a chair, sit down. Get clothes peeled off the roadrash by assistant. Feeling lightheaded. Down a sugary drink. Get photo shown by DS of my grated back. Teammate calls me "guerrier". Get patched up. Put on a shirt. Drive to the hotel. Take an uncomfortable shower. Look at a blue eye and swollen face in the mirror.
Try to lie down without hurting. Try more. Sleep.
Wake up. Unstick myself from the bedsheets. Limp down stairs.
Start the next stage.
|Unfortunately my beautiful Wilier Cento SR1 didn't survive the crash|
|Lifesaver! ALWAYS wear your helmet!|