Jerry Painter: Crash ends race day

I entered the Tax Day road bike race held in Inkom on Saturday and scored a DNF (did not finish).

The short version of the story is that I crashed and blew out my rear tire doing about 30 mph.

The Tax Day Race in years past was held on the Saturday nearest to April 15 (tax day). But, in hopes of getting better weather, the date was pushed back a month (just keep in mind, it’s always tax day in America). Despite the date shift, the weather in Inkom was still chilly, windy and threatening to rain/snow, but it held off for the racers.

The race starts at the Inkom Elementary School and heads up into the hills behind the town. Once there, bikers do a specified number of laps of an up-and-down circuit about 7 miles long. Each loop gains and loses about 700 feet. Our race — the masters 55+ open group (the 55 refers to age, not that I’m admitting anything) — was to do the loop 4.5 times.

It was on the third time around that I was feeling pretty good about taking the steep hill down a little faster (call me a cocky idgit). I wanted to catch up with the guy just ahead who was riding for a team out of Bountiful, Utah. I believe he was in fourth place. As I sped down the hill, my bike computer registered 50 mph. Whoa! I let off the gas and caught up with the guy still flying in the mid 40s. I wanted to pass him on the downhill, because I thought I could lose him on the next uphill. The problem was that I caught him with plenty of speed to pass on a sharp corner. He didn’t hold his line around the corner and drifted to the left just as I wanted to pass him on the left. I swung wide to avoid a collision, then I hit the brakes because I was getting pushed off the left side of the road. My tires hit the loose sand and pebbles on the edge of the road. With the less friction, my rear tire locked up and fish-tailed. I heard a loud pop — the tire blowing out. I rode into the ditch and was pitched off the bike head first. I rolled and flopped into the soft, damp soil. It felt like falling on a wet, 30-year-old motel mattress. It all happened faster than a loud burp.

I lay on my back for a second with my eyes closed and listened to my pain sensors. Nothing felt broken. I wasn’t even missing any skin. I did have a mouth full of dirt. I stood up and felt like a fool. A fool who had been robbed.

I couldn’t finish the race and give that Utah dude a run for his money. He was kind enough to come back, “Is everything all right?” He looked skeptical when I told him I was fine. Perhaps it was the dirt I was spitting out of my mouth and brushing off my legs. Then he scared me: “A couple of years ago, my teammate’s wife went off the road and crashed on this corner and broke her neck. She’s never ridden since. You were lucky.”

He then pedaled down the road and ended up placing fourth in the race.

Two small cars showed up shortly after my crash. One took my bike, the other me. My bike and I were dropped off back at the elementary school where I waited for my friends to finish the race and return.

You know what this means: I have to try again next year. I hope I’ve learned my lesson. No more passing with speed on the corners. What bothers me, is I seem to only learn my lessons the hard way. I need to stop that.

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Congrats to two area road bikers who participated in the Idaho State Road Racing championship held in Emmett (north of Meridian) on Saturday. Shane Watt, of Idaho Falls, and Tom Baird, of Shelley, both took first place in their divisions. Watt for the Masters M B 45+ (3-4-5) and Baird for the Masters B 35+ (3-4-5). Both were riding for team Bill’s Bike and Run.

Nathan Barnes, of Idaho Falls, also won his Masters 35+ category at the Tax Day Race in Inkom on Saturday.

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On another subject, Dave Roskelley will be making a presentation on his successful climb of Mount Everest in 2013 at 7 p.m. tonight in room 120 of the Taylor building of the Department of Health, Recreation and Human Performance on the Brigham Young University-Idaho campus in Rexburg. The public is invited. To read more about Roskelley’s climb, go to www .deseretnews.com and search for “Roskelley.”

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If you need a goal to get in shape for or just want a challenging outing to push yourself, Mountain View Hospital and Eagle Rock Cycling will hold its third annual century ride on June 14. There are 25-, 50- and 100-mile options with a catered picnic at the end. Those who preregister will get a T-shirt and bottle. This ride is supported with snack stops along the way. Compared to many century rides, this one is a bargain: Join the Eagle Rock Cycling club for $25 and the century ride is free. Or pay $50 for the ride. Sounds like they want people to join up. The club’s website is www.eaglerock
cycling.com
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For information, or to register for the ride, contact Gretchen Houston at ghouston@mvhospital.net.

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