Lessons from the Curb
Let me set the scene for you. I have not officially gotten on the podium this season. Sure I got a couple top 3’s at the Cherry Creek time trials but no one has a podium (unless you make one yourself) and no one really counts those. I never even thought about getting on the podium this year because I was so new and honestly I was having such an awesome time trying to help teammates rock out and just didn’t think I had what it took. Well last week at Bannock I had a great race and started to have visions of sugar plums and podium facebook photos in my future but unfortunately time was running out very quickly. The last 2 crits of the year were this weekend and perfect timing my Mom was going to be in town. Choke Choke.
At Racing for Hope I got lots of “Oh my gosh Amanda thanks so much for the pull, you are so strong sorry I had to suck your wheel the entire race, wow way to work the entire race, oh what happened at the end, that was a long time trial for the final lap, ouch you popped hard, dude where did you go”. Yeah not a smart race for me and for some reason they don’t let you stand on the podium if you pull the entire race but can’t hang on in the last lap. Weird eh?!
With only 1 shot left I was really determined to do something special at North Boulder Park crit. I had heard from every single person I told that I was doing that race how “sketchy” and “technical” that race is. For some reason (because Rachel taught me) I know how to take a corner. In fact the more technical a crit the better for me. I don’t worry about myself and have learned who to stay away from and who plays nice. It seemed like North Boulder Park was going to be my field of dreams.
I went for my warm up and was feeling really good until I started to do some leg openers. Every time I tried to pull up with my right pedal my right shoe came flying out. “Ugh that is not normal” but I just thought maybe I had a rock in my cleat or something. Ingrid had come to the race early because she sponsored the SW4 race (so flippin’ cool by the way that I know QuickLeft Ingrid) and to help me learn how to do this don’t pull the entire race thing. She gave me great pointers and built my confidence that I could achieve my goals if I just believed I could. After soaking in all her wisdom I asked her as I got on the course what was up with my cleat and we discovered that it was in fact broken and would not clip in. Immediately I thought my chances for winning were done. NOBO was not technical enough, now I had only 1 working clip.
The race was going beautifully. I was always in 4th or 5th position and was feeling really great. I didn’t even realize but the front 6 of us had put a wee gap on the rest of the field and it seemed like we were going to keep it. Several times my right cleat came completely out of my pedal, usually in a turn, and not only scared the bleep bleep out of me but also slowed me down while I tried to regain contact with my pedal. With 3 laps to go things were definitely picking up and corners were getting more sketchy. As we came through with 1 lap to go for the first time I thought “oh my gosh I think I can hang on to this and get that top 5 that Sharon Madison told me I had to get today or else!” I was sitting in 5th but that is exactly where I wanted to be. I like a lead out train and a long sprint and it was looking like that is exactly what I was going to get. As we started to come in to the last corner I started the “clack clack clack” down shift to get myself into a mashing gear. I remember thinking “holy crap I think my sprint and this lead out is going to put me on the podium”. And then it happened. Hello curb my name is Amanda Cyr, let’s get physical.
The rider in second clipped a pedal in the corner causing her to slide across the road taking herself out and the 3 of us behind her. Instead of running over the girl whose wheel I had been sucking the life out of, I opted in a split second to take flight. Sharon says I have wings, time to test these babies out. Unfortunately she was wrong and I don’t know how to fly yet. I ended up flipping over in the air over the curb and coming down on to the sidewalk on my shoulder. Several people were standing there and started to help the pile of us. I jumped up more startled than anything when a man asked me “are you alright”. Since I play a doctor on t.v I knew I had broken my collar bone so I said frankly “yeah but I broke my collar bone”. He asked me to sit down and I said “no, but can you help me put my chain back on my bike I can not move my arm but want to finish.” He did and fixed my back break right about the time Breeze Brown from Primal came up. She rode me in across the finish line to people cheering and clapping. As soon as I crossed, she grabbed my bike from me and I made a bee line to the medical tent.
Back story: The only motocross race my Mom ever went to of my brothers he had a gnarly crash and ended up breaking his collarbone. She vowed to never go to another one of his races. We joked this weekend that hopefully the same thing wouldn’t happen to me as this would be the first racing she had ever seen me do. After the medic confirmed that I needed to go to the ER, I turned to my mom and said “no more races for you”. She agreed.
Xrays were taken and pain pills were swallowed. The excellent medical staff at Boulder hospital took great care of the “Naked Chick” and confirmed that I did indeed have a broken collar bone and that surgery would need to happen this week. Other than me making friends with all of them (every male was married btw) the best part of this story is next.
Not 1, not 2, but 3 female racers came to visit me in the ER. They brought laughs, smiles, Breeze Bars, money, and beer! Come to find out I had still managed to finish 5th after the crash! I guess the fear of the wrath of Sharon Madison is greater than any silly broken bone! Shelley Hartman offered me everything from rides to and from the doctor to a place to sleep. Virginia Betty and Wendy De Rosa took great photos, helped my mom find my car, and made sure she was able to get me home. And before I even got back to Denver there were TONS of facebook messages and emails with sympathy and offering genuine help.
The women’s cycling community here is amazing. I am beyond overwhelmed by their kindness and support. I now have every tip from how to drip dry to what surgeon to use from other racers from other teams who I didn’t know even knew me. My teammates have taken care of every detail from getting my bike fixed to who can help drive me to where I need to go. People are offering to help me in every aspect of my life and I don’t know what to say other than THANK YOU! I knew I had the best teammates but I had no idea just how deep those friendships we make on the race course were until today. From the bottom of my heart I can not say THANK YOU enough to each and every woman racer for the love they have shown me. We may race against each other for 40 minutes on a Sunday morning, but when the wheels hit the curb those same girls are the first to help in every single way.
What did we learn today? 1) I can hang with the pack 2) If you believe you can achieve 3) I can not fly 4) the women I race against and with are the greatest friends anyone could ask for and 5) pain meds ROCK!