We were stretched pretty thin and under difficult weather conditions on Saturday. Normally we look more at results in these post-event email blasts, but there were some very significant occurrences over the weekend apart from race results that deserve consideration.
Let’s start with the most important success story. At the Classico Rio Grande, one of our own, John Lashbrook, crashed during the race.
Two of our members, rider Rick Abbott (shown at right) and Chief Referee, Marco Vasquez (shown left) stopped to assess, and found he was not breathing and his heart was not beating.
Marco related how early in his career he had a similar incident, and the rider did not make it. This time, he said, “no way, not this time.” and immediately began CPR, assisted by Rick, who had also seen the crashed rider. Between these two Colorado heroes, and an unidentified woman who stopped to help coordinate communications, they were able to successfully resuscitate him. Chris Wentz and his team of well-known emergency medical specialists were quick on the scene as well. We often think about the little things, like whether the race had the perfect race group combinations, or the motorefs were consistent in their center line enforcement. But every once in a while we have the opportunity to refocus on the big picture. We had a serious accident and a rider who almost died. Through the actions of two of our own, that rider will now have the chance to play with his grandkids again, race his bike, and continue all the good things we often take for granted. We are all very proud of Marco and Rick. Good job guys. Marco asked me to emphasize the importance of learning CPR. You can save a life and also avoid having to live with the “what ifs.”
Thank you to everyone who made the Rio Grande happen despite the harsh morning conditions. It would have been easy to just cancel another Colorado bike race, but the officials and race directors worked diligently to make the race happen, juggling schedules, combining fields where necessary, and even modifying the course to remove the dirt section that was unrideable. There was an unfortunate crash near the finish line, with several riders injured. Fortunately, only a couple were transported to the hospital. The worst off was Brent Murphy, who you may recognize from his race photos that are often posted on our site. Best wishes to Brent. We always do forensics when crashes happen. Between the officials, BRAC staff, and BRAC BOD, we have spent a couple of days debriefing and assessing. In the end, it is clear that there was nothing abnormal about the conditions. The course was not narrow or dangerous. The fields were not too big. We conclude that, although very unfortunate in that several riders were injured, the crash was just one of those things that sometimes happen in groups of riders sprinting for a finish line. Riders, please remember that you are always in charge of protecting your front wheel and responsible for your movements in a field. We wish any of you who crashed a speedy recovery. Let’s be careful out there.
Farther west, I was working the pro men race at the Tour of the Gila, an excellent race that was well-represented in the amateur ranks by several Colorado teams. On the last day, we also had a terrible crash on a tricky descent, this one with tragic consequences, details of which I cannot go into yet, but it was very unnerving and certainly added to an emotionally packed weekend for many of us. It also reiterates the need to think about rider safety all the time. Something I like to remember is this: The fact that something bad happened does not mean it was someone’s fault or something should have been done differently. The corollary is also true. The fact that nothing bad happened does not mean everything was fine. It could just mean you got lucky. Only the people directly involved will every know the real truth about where in those extremes the situation fell.
Conclusion of race analysis… “nothing to see here, move along, not our fault” – despite the fact that many people who were actually IN the race felt the combined group was way too large for a likely crowded and narrow finish. But I mean what do they know, they were just there, in the race. SMDH
Hats off to the rescurers! One more thing in John’s favor was that Rick Abbott was no ordinary rider. His day job is being Dr. Rick Abbott, Emergency Room Physician. All the stars were lined up in John’s emergency!