After couple more Chevin series handicap races, my next road race was the BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) road race or uni champs. I’d been looking forward to this one as I frequently ride the course when out training and was looking to build on my 14th place from last year. I’d been sensible the week leading up to it, resting, eating well, sleeping well and had even fitted a new chain and cassette especially. Legs felt good on the roll out from Terrington village and I was looking to try to get in an early move.
When Archie Cross (KTM) attacked after the descent of Terrington Bank, I kicked to follow. However instead of propelling myself after him, my chain jammed and I was thrown off the bike (probably caused by the new chain/previous mech cable tension being out) . The pack was travelling at a fair pace and I hit the tarmac pretty hard. Fortunately no other riders were brought down. I tried to get back up, but standing on my right knee was a struggle. A medic had rushed out of the convoy and said he wanted me to pull out right away. I’d cut my left leg to the bone and had sustained bad injuries to my right leg. But I’d been dreaming about this race for too long and asked someone to help me back on the bike. With the adrenaline pumping through me I managed to chase back on to the pack.
After about an hour more of racing however, the adrenaline began to wear off and the pain of my wounds began to hit me. I was feeling a twinge in my right knee upon every turn of the pedals and began to question whether I was doing structural damage to my knee by continuing. Deciding it wasn’t worth risking it for one race, I pulled out. Frustrated and bloody, I was driven to A&E where I had x-rays on my right leg and my wounds dressed. Fortunately there didn’t look like to be any serious damage and the twinge in my knee had probably been caused by muscles and ligaments being pushed out of their usual position by the large swelling of bruising on my lower quadricep.
A&E: chammy time is training time, right?
This put me off the bike for a while and just meant the best thing for my cycling was to rest up. Coincidentally, my exams started on the Monday, so being forced to rest probably helped my academic performance over the following week. They went unexpectedly well! As I write this, after countless showers with my knees in clingfilm, my wounds are slowly healing and I’ve been back training. With exams done, and no other outstanding uni work, I’m effectively a full-time rider for a while. Let’s see how I can do over the summer once I’m fully mended…