This weekend the Fiera Race Team had 5 riders registered for the annual Pigeon Lake Road Race, and we were all really excited heading into the race. Stefan was psyched to take on the riders in Cat 3 after his upgrade from Cat 4, Simmon and Shari were participating in their first ever road race, and Pat and Joe were hoping for a top-10 finish to win some points for the team.
Unfortunately, the race didn’t turn out quite the way we expected. We all received bad news when we crossed the finish line: Simmon had been in a crash and there was a rumor going around that he had been taken away in an ambulance. Pat, who was in the peloton with Simmon, heard the crash and knew it was bad, but didn’t know the extent of Simmon’s injury because the crash happened behind him in the peloton, and he didn’t see the riders go down. When we got back to the Community Centre, we were met by Simmon’s bike – which was a twisted and mangled version of it’s former self (see here). Our hearts filled with panic and dread.
As we raced around trying to find someone who could tell us which hospital Simmon had been taken to, a crowd began to gather around the bike. They were in awe. (This awe was compounded by the sight of another bike that had also been in the crash: the front fork was completely sheered off. I’ve never seen anything quite like it in my life).
When we finally learned that Simmon had been taken to the UofA hospital, we loaded up the bikes (and bike pieces) and headed out. When we arrived in the emergency room, Simmer was still strapped to a spine board, with an IV in his arm, a broken collar bone, a road rash that covered 30% of his body, and a giant smile on his face.
I haven’t know Simmon for very long, but this is what I have learned about him: this guy exudes positivity, and you always walk away from an encounter with Simmon with a smile on your face, because that’s just the kind of guy he is. True to form, that’s how Simmon was throughout the 7 hour ordeal in the hospital: all he could talk about was the “up-side” of the crash – how he could focus more on school (although I’m not sure how this is possible, given how focused he already is) and on building strength in his legs while his broken bones healed. All this positivity as they x-rayed, re-set bones, and scraped gravel out of his wounds with a scalpel.
From what I understand, the prognosis for the collar bone is good, as it was broken “in a good spot”, away from the joint. So, everyone is hoping that this injury won’t slow Simmon’s super-fast swimming times (well, everyone except maybe the other triathletes who have to compete against him). We also hope that this crash hasn’t injured Simmon’s love of cycling (he told us he was having a lot fun fun before the crash happened), and that he will come back from this 6 week hiatus from racing with large(r) quadriceps. I have no doubt that he will.
There were a few bright spots in the day, including a great ride by Pat Kong, who not only managed to stay upright in the crash that took out Simmon, but also put down the hammer on the uphill sprint to the finish for 6th place. Stefan also created a stir in Cat 3, with a 1.5 lap break-away from the peloton. In the end, the peloton managed to reel him back in with less than 20 km to go, and Stefan managed to sit in for 9th place in the field sprint, despite the ensuing cramps in his legs. Joe needs to find a new mechanic, or needs to watch where he’s riding, because he managed to get 2 flat tires in the first 10 km of the race and had to pull the shoot because the wheel car had already passed him after his first flat tire. I managed to stay with the woman’s peloton for most of the race, but got dropped with about 20 km to go, and spent the rest of the race trying to catch the peloton, to no avail. This came after a uphill attack that Bridget (Hardcore) and I launched on the second lap. We didn’t manage to get away from the group, and in retrospect, this is likely what lead to me getting dropped, but it was fun trying.
Thanks to Sanja for coming out, taking photos, cheering us on, and standing in the feed zone for us. We also want to give a shout-out to the Hardcore Cycling Team, who had a top-3 finisher in Cat 3 who is donating a portion of his winnings to Right to Play.