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More important things that cycling victories.(6 posts)

More important things that cycling victories.RabidRider
May 9, 2002 1:13 PM
I received this e-mail today and thought I'd pass it on. In my opinion, Stephen finished first that day.

There were quite a few success stories for NM riders at the Tour of the Gila this year. NMVS and Velo del Norte raked in great results and some big $'s, but the top story in my mind, was related to an incident that occurred during Friday's stage, a 75 mile road race through the Mimbres valley. While cruising along the valley road, some poor guy in the men's 3 field hit a seam in a cattle guard, snapped his fork, flipped over the handlebars, landing on his face on a chip-sealed road. Stephen Knight-Williamson was pushed off the road by the reaction of scrambling racers, but rather than jump back into the race (and protect his $ placing in the top 20 of GC), he ran to the aid of the fallen racer. Turned out the poor kid had broken his back, tore off most of his face, knocked out several teeth, bit off half his tongue, etc. Stephen administered first aid while the support vehicle drove off to get cell phone reception and call 911. Luckily, the racer didn't die and made it to the hospital (not sure of his current condition). Stephen finished the race last that day.

This act of kindness brings us back to reality and should be a lesson for us all. If you are in a race and there is a tragic accident, what is more important, a fallen racer's well being or your placing in the field?

** Tue, 7 May 2002 **
The rider that crashed is a strong cat 3 from Midland. From what I have heard he has a compression fracture of a thoracic vertebrae (T-7) in his upper back, roughly between his shoulder blades. He has no numbness, no loss of feeling, no tingling, no alarm indications. As of Sunday night he was in the University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque. He also broke a tooth, and needed about 10 stitches in his chin and a few inside his mouth. He was pulling through in the paceline when he hit the cattle gaurd.

** Thur, 9 May 2002 **
He is still at UNM Hospital in ABQ. He is having quite a bit of pain, particularly at night, and the compression fracture doesn't seem to be stable. He is being fitted with a "turtle-shell" brace this afternoon. If that stabilizes him, he expects to return to Midland Thursday. If not, they will do some surgery. He has not lost feeling or movement anywhere, so the prognosis is still good.

His wife and mother are in Albuquerque with him, but he still sounds fairly depressed. I know that the lady who was driving the support vehicle has been to see him.

The Chaparral Cycling Club, truly appreciate the help and the concern from Stephen, Wendell, Eric, Tim, the support truck lady, and the ambulance crew. Drs. Michael Sergeant and Chris Hauson (sp?), and the rest of the emergency room crew were great. The whole racing community has also shown a lot of concern and compassion.

Kelly says he'll be back next year.
re: More important things that cycling victories.Dave Hickey
May 9, 2002 1:20 PM
I certainly hope he fully recovers. My prayers are with him. I cannot believe they designed a course that took the riders over cattle guards. They are EXTREMELY dangerous.
For those that don't know. This is a cattle guard. Poor guyDave Hickey
May 9, 2002 1:36 PM
agreeDougSloan
May 9, 2002 1:21 PM
You would think that would be a no-brainer. Someone's hurt, you stop and help. Period. I don't care if it's the Olympics or the Tour (but ambulances are right there for those).

Hope the guy's ok. That sounds really nasty. They have cattle guards around here with those gaps, and they are far scarier than anything else out there, if you don't know they are there.

Doug
a no brainer?mixinbeatz
May 9, 2002 2:47 PM
Well, in bike racing it is not a no brainer. If one was to stop at every crash where someone was hurt, you would never be in contention.

I hope this guy has a speedy recovery, I think a lot of us can relate.
Cattle Guards...PdxMark
May 9, 2002 1:50 PM
There are a couple of cattle guard designs in Eastern Oregon:

In one design the rails extend all the way across the road, from one side to the other. Reasonably safe... as cattle guards go...

In the other design right- and left-side rails extend to almost the middle of the road, but leave a gap of 2-4 inches between each right- and left-side pair of rails. This design leaves a 3-4 inch wide seam (meaning hole) that is perpendicular to the rails... meaning parallel to the direction of travel. A front wheel drops a couple feet into the trench, and.....

I've heard of one crash in which weeds were growing up through the cattle guard so that the seam was completely obscured...

So in Oregon, at least, you gotta avoid the roadway middle of cattle guards unless you can see rail passing all the way across.

Ride safely. Or, for Texas road sign grammar... Ride safe.