Chris Winn: Ramblings From The Road


19 September 2012


What can I say, sometimes lady luck just isn't on your side and looking back on last weekend I almost would have been better of to stay at home!

So the trip began with an uneventful flight until I'd made it to the host bike shop Pure Energy Cycles to build up my rig.  I've packed and flown with bikes hundreds of times and have had nothing too terrible go wrong.  Perhaps a few scratches but nothing a little more foam tubing can't fix the next time.  Pulling my Foil out of the bag everything was going fine until it was time to slot in the rear wheel.  Something just didn't look quite right!  In what I can only guess from a large hit from behind, the rear hanger had been ripped from the frame.  Both being carbon there was no room for forgiveness and the hanger bolt holes in the frame had been ripped through.  Major bugger.  Next we learned that in order to make a claim with the airline it has to be done in person within 4hrs of landing.  Luckily we were still inside of this window but had to throw everything in the back of the team car and pin another hour drive back to Philly airport.  To be honest I was pretty calm about the whole thing, I mean there isn't much you can do other than move on and create a solutions with the most obvious finding a new bike for the weekend and secondly playing by the rules to get compensated.  In short the lady behind the baggage counter was utterly useless but in the end my claim was noted and I now have three weeks to pull together photos and a report and send it off to airline HQ.  Perhaps if it had been mid season I would have been a little more crazy about it but considering I have less than two weeks left before hanging it up it's not a huge deal.  The second part of the problem was needing a replacement bike for the weekends racing.   A few phone calls by the team manager and it was the local Scott rep that came to my rescue with a replacement Foil that virtually identical to mine.  A huge thanks to those who came to my rescue and got me back on the road!

My buddy Nick Frey of Boo Bicycles fame was also guest riding with the Pure Energy Team and we both spent some time checking out the course.  In short it was a brutal but beautiful loop for a bike race.  There is something just radically different yet awesome about the roads and terrain on the east coast.  Tight and narrow meandering roads through some very green and pretty country side it's a massive contrast to the long steady canyon climbs of Colorado.  Not to mention the sea level air.  The Bucks County race left the town of New Hope for 10miles or so before hitting six 14mile loops and then exiting to finish in Doylestown another 10miles down the road.  The loops were super demanding and featured three major climbs that weren't very long but were steep enough to cause damage.  Add little time for recovery it was going to be a pure war of attrition and my guess was a small group would make it to the finish.  Hopefully I would be in that group.

Thanks Scott from Scott Bikes for setting me up on a replacement ASAP.

From the gun it was full gas.  With the technical nature of the narrow roads it seemed a constant battle for position espeically leading in the the main KOM climb.  Sure enough a small group managed to leave the main peloton and we were lucky enough to have London Olympian Bobby Lea in the group.  The following laps there were more splits on the climbs and I just didn't seem to have the HP to follow the groups that were surely going to be the race.  Time boards had the gaps growing constantly and by lap 4 of the loops it was game over with now 20 odd up the road.  By lap 6 were were only 15miles to finish and although disappointed how things turned out I was already thinking about the criterium the following day and hopefully having better legs there.  And then on the straightest, most boring stretch of road a rider passed me, took a drink and hit a bump, losing control of his bike and hitting the deck right in front of me.  We were rolling at 33kph at that point (my SRM told me so) and with nowhere to go I plowed into his bike and was soon tasting the tarmac.  Microseconds later someone smacked into me and at that point I remembered to roll into a ball incase more were coming.  Thankfully not, but right away I was so damn pissed by the fact our race was already over at that point and a stupid crash did not need to happen.  Normally after crashes I like to stand up and move, as if I can do that then in my mind I'm not so badly hurt.  This time however I was the complete opposite.  Dizzy and a little blurry eyed I was happy to stay seated for a few minutes until it was time to asses the damage and have the medics clean me up.  Sure I had skin off all down my right side but thankfully no bones were broken.  I smacked my head hard enough to busy my Lazer helmet and was mighty thankful it did it's job.  I've been bike racing long enough now to know that shit happens, but surely it was the universe telling me my season should be done!  With my slight concussion and road rash I pulled the pin on the following days criterium.  Instead I spent the day in the Pure Energy Cycling tent talking to passers by.  Despite being a terrible weekend for racing, and perhaps the worst this whole season, I had a great time making new friends and hanging out with great people. Not to mention eating some very fine meals thanks to some handy local knowledge by team manager Arounkone. 


So I got back on the (time trial) bike this morning and it looks like I'll have three more TT's left before closing the season 2012 account.  The Vail crierium was on the cards but with no road bike anymore I'll substitute for Friday's TT stage instead.

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