Fantastic event! Loved every bit of it from flying over to Utah with my teammate Siobhan to meeting our awesome team director and fellow composite team racer, Mindy McCutcheon, to crashing on the second and final day of the races which left me with lots of scars and a broken bike. Absolutely will do it again if I get the chance to come to this exciting invitational event.
Day 1 was held in Logan and Day 2 was in Ogden.
Heavy rain awaited us racers at the start of the race of Day 1. I really didn’t mind the rain, especially since this was most likely the very first race I had ever done in the rain. What ruined my race result was an error at the start. I was about third row at the start line. When the gun went off, I couldn’t get clipped in. I immediately shot from the front to close to the back and that’s when the TTing began. The entire rest of my race I was leapfrogging past racers, but since the course was short and the front was closing in on the rear of the pack, racers were pulled lap after lap. I fortunately was in the last group of riders pulled, but nevertheless, the race came to a close sooner than I would have liked.
The second day was beautifully sunny. A slight breeze was noticeable but didn’t really impact any section of the L-shaped criterium course. I felt confident and strong and even went off the front with a group of 3 racers for a little bit. Unfortunately I was involved in a crash with 6 laps to go. The two girls right in front of me pumped and got tangled up at high speed. As we were positioned all the way to the right along the curb, there was no evading the looming pile-up in front of me. I rode right into it. Both girls did not re-enter the race. After a quick mental check, I believed I was just fine to continue racing, and ran to the closest mechanics tent/neutral station to get back into the race. My handle bars were completely crooked and my shifting was off, but otherwise the bike seemed fine. The mechanic quickly adjusted everything and I was able to sprint back into the field. One lap to go, my positioning was ok. I was moving up and came around the final turn around 25th. As I passed one of my fellow teammates I was thinking in my head, “Sprint Hanna, sprint! Now is the time.” As i wound up my sprint and passed a few more rider, with about 50m I was suddenly overcome with a great sense of fear. My bike went totally soft underneath me, and I started losing control over my steering.
Had I hit something? Did I get a flat? As the bike was shaking under the high speed and power, I slid onto the top tube and tried to steady myself and stay upright with one foot unclipped. It all happened so fast.
Next thing I know, I’m bucked off the bike and thrown into the air. I bounced off my knees, and somersaulted a few more times. Oddly enough I landed on both feet. Confused and unsure if I had broken anything, I sat down against the barriers lining the course and just tried to catch my breath. The medics came rushing to me and told me to stay calm and await the stretcher. I said I was fine and asked if I could just finish the race. I mean, I was soo close! A few people in the crowd cheered me on and gave me support by yelling, “Let her finish!”. So I got back on my bike, and pedaled across the line and veered immediately to the medical tent on the right. Getting checked out was painful. I had a lot of deep road rash.
Leaving the medical tent, I realized my bike was gone. Our team manager, Mindy gave me a pat on the back and with a sad tone said, “Sorry about your bike. You won’t be riding that one again.” It was already packed in the team car and after inspecting it, my top tube had cracked all the way around. Sad.
What bothered me was how it happened. Did I fracture the frame during the first crash? Did the carbon break under all the impact of the final sprint after it had already lost its integrity?