Monday, May 9, 2011


I was quite busy today at work, but was extremely saddened when I did finally manage to sneak a peek at Velo News. It's been quite some time since we've lost a racer during a race. Not long enough mind you, but considering how dangerous the sport truly is, well....I think it's a miracle it doesn't happen more often. Granted they are pro's, and have so many miles on 2 wheels that they have mad bike handling skills. But given the speeds they travel, in the size groups they ride in, and yes, the very roads themselves that can be quite dangerous if something bad happens at an inopportune time.

I think that without exception, every single time I watch a race I'm just amazed at how close they ride to one another with so very few crashes. All I can compare it to is my friends and I when we ride. And I'm telling you, if you were to stick any one of us in the middle of a peleton, well, it would be carnage of the highest order. I doubt that I could go 5 minutes in a fast moving peleton (even IF I were able to keep up with them for that 5 minutes) without my front wheel touching someone's back wheel, and I'd go down just like that. And then watching them on the big scary descents. How very close they will be to the wheel of the guy in front, all the while riding at ludicrous speeds. Every sport has it's risks, that's for sure. But consider the 'uniform' of the pro cyclist and compare it to any other sport. As I said, it's amazing there aren't more serious injuries. The very fact that there are so very few is a testament to how good these athletes are at their craft. Because the cycling kit isn't really any protection at all, other than the helmet will keep your head from slamming directly into the ground, but not much else.

I can't imagine how the rest of the riders feel when they lose one of their own in this fashion. But it must be horrible. Lance lost one of his teammates many years back on a Tour stage, and it's talked about every time they ride that road. I must admit that I didn't know much about Wouter until today. But it sounds like he was on the right track to a great career, and his untimely passing is a real tragedy. And the cruel irony is that he won stage 3 of last years Giro, and this year he died in it. I just don't know how to make sense of that.

I vividly recall my little brother telling me during one quite hairy mt bike ride many years ago that "the price of failure is steep". I think of that line often when I ride. And that little voice in my mind is VERY adept at keeping me honest. Every single time that I ride he's somewhere in the back of my mind, analyzing the risks at hand, and reminding me of that saying when appropriate. And yet there are times when I somehow manage to NOT listen to that voice, and then suddenly realize (as I'm doing forty-something down a terrible road chasing or being chased by my friends) that even something so simple as a flat front tire would be disastrous. And I also admit that cycling wise, I've led a charmed life thus far!

I have no idea where I'm going with this tonight. I'm very sad to not be able to watch any of this, but I'm glad that I won't be seeing this crash. It's one thing to watch a crash when the riders get back up and go. But to see one where someone is truly hurt is not for me. I remember that crash of Jen's Voigt last year in the tour. It very much looked like he was dead, and it was so horrible to see. That he not only lived but was riding again a fairly short time later was just a miracle. And then we can make humor out of it (Did you hear about the dirt that was pushed up when Jens crashed in last years Tour? They named it the Col de Tourmalet).

Here's hoping the rest of the race goes off safely, with few crashes and no serious injuries. And finally, here's a virtual toast to Wouter and all of his comrades in arms. Be safe ladies and gentlemen, and keep the rubber side down.


  1. Here is my report for today. In all the years I've been writing it never once occurred to me that I would need to write a memoriam one day but the truth is, it's a possibility every single day I write a report. I hope some of you will catch highlights of today's stage on the internet. It was an incredibly moving tribute to Wouter. The tears just kept coming.

  2. Thanks for the link, Cathy. That is a very nice memorial and I love the photo at the bottom. Also nice to have a list of the guys who were riding for LT at the Giro. I had wondered who all of them were earlier today.

    I couldn't help shedding some tears myself this morning - just watching Tyler during that preocession to the finish about did me in. You could tell that it was a very difficult day indeed for Tyler and WWs teammates. Tyler's statement was eloquent and heartbreaking yesterday. I can't even imagine and completely understand their decision that they just can't ride the rest of the race. How could your heart be in it? And, if its not, you could be risking your saftey or the safety of others. I wish them all some peace during their mourning...

    There are some pics on VN that show the wall he hit and where he was catapaulted down the road to. Sobering and scary.

  3. I've tried to post twice before but for some reason it is not happening.
    I won't try to recreate my comments, except to briefly say;
    I was very shocked and saddened, even though I wasn't so familiar with Weylandt --I remember the first I heard of him was in a post on Sara Best's blog. Watching the Giro isn't the same now. And I join in that toast: To Wouter.

    Your two pieces were very good Cathy. Thank you.

    And thank you, SusieB for your very kind words.
    It has been a crazy time since then with various family and work issues and I think I have an ulcer now!

    And how do I post as other than anonymous? It won't let me sign in with my Google email account.


  4. Rae - it does eventually let me sign in with my google gmail account.....but I have to hit preview and post each a couple of times before it will post my comment. Not sure if its even the same number of times each instance. Maybe that will help - maybe not:)

    GREAT finish at the Giro today! I was out of my seat cheering for that guy I didn't know to just HANG ON a few meters more!!! A nail biter for sure. It would have been heart-breaking for him to be caught literally inches from the mountain top finish!

    Oh - and that OTHER race will be starting soon too! What a lucky month! Now.....if only VS would actually show the ToC footage at the actual time it is scheduled we'll be in business. Good field out there! I'm cheering for Horner and DZ - coincidentally both a zero on "the list". When is the UCI going to stop leaking.....I mean stop the leaks going to that paper? Ridiculous.

    Have a great weekend all!

  5. I'm in Lake Tahoe now and we're expecting SNOW tonight! Seriously, if we're going to have bad weather in May can we just move this race back to February so it won't interfere with the Giro??!! Race organizers have several options for tomorrow and will decide late tonight which to go with. I've "heard" if it's too icy they will groom a prologue track on one side of the lake and have that as the stage instead of nothing. There is still so much snow at the ski areas - I should have brought my snowboard!