I’ll start where I left off in the last post: at the top of Vail Pass. The sun was out and things were going well. I was at the final rest stop and according to others around me, this would be a high-speed screamer into Vail and on into Avon to the finish line. Sounded like fun.
Let me tell you, this final descent was like being shot out of a cannon! I hadn’t ridden this part of the course though so I wasn’t sure about the twists and turns. I kept the speed at the high end of modest. Glad I did because there were a number of turns that had I been going any faster I probably would’ve wrecked in an ugly way. Which brings me to the worst part of the whole day.
I rounded a corner, started down another slope and about 100 yards down I saw two people lying on the pavement. (A couple of bikes were turned over and two other cyclists had just hopped off their bikes. Thankfully, this was a bike path and not a road. No cars to worry about. A man was on his back bleeding from the face and head and he was groaning. A woman was several feet ahead lying face down. She was also bleeding. She wasn’t moving. There was blood on the pavement. One person was tending to the woman, the other person was heading down the hill to a nearby highway patrolman. I had a look at the man on his back and knew from CPR training that the only thing I should do was to calm him down and keep him from moving. I told him he’d be just fine and that help was nearby. About that time another cyclist showed up and told me he was a medic. Thank god. From there, I and another rider went back up the road from where we’d come in order to slow down other approaching riders. An ambulance arrived in maybe 10 minutes. When I left the woman was conscious.
That situation was a real nightmare. I’d never seen a wreck like that. It could’ve been any of us in that wreck. If those riders weren’t wearing helmets I imagine I’d have been looking at two corpses. (There’s probably not a very good way to transition from that episode…)
The rest of the ride went well. We had a tail wind and an easy downhill. I’m not sure where the energy came from but I pushed hard over about the final 10 miles into Avon. Now it was hot and dry but the ride was done! One-hundred twenty miles, about 8.5 hours of riding, and my ass felt like someone had replaced my bike saddle with a cheese grater. Time to eat, drink, and sit down in the shade. Much thanks to my wife for driving out to pick me up. I hope I get to do it all again next year.