There is something about a bike crash video that is especially cringeworthy. Even low-speed accidents elicit winches, gasps, and/or stomach aches. Maybe it’s the fact that you are connected to a large, spiky in places machine that has no qualms about mangling you even if you don’t crash. Maybe it’s the fact that you are traveling at high speed either over rocks and dirt or hard-as-pavement pavement – neither of which do that great a job at breaking your fall.
Maybe It’s all of the above.
This particular crash at the Crystal Cup outside Washington, D.C. is a perfect storm of miscalculations, unfortunate circumstances, and balls-out riding. The action gets going at around the :30 second mark when a rider trailing the peloton – not the car – clips the race marshal, then nearly gets run over by the pace car that is coming back around. So the pace car is coming back around, which means the peloton is also coming back around. The situation goes from bad to worse, as other officials begin to yell for the riders to “stay left,” when they need to stay right. One rider – Tim Rugg – tries to thread the needle with a bold line to bunny hop move I’m sure he’s practiced a hundred times for just this situation. Unfortunately, the prone race marshal is 5′ 7″, not 5′ 5″, and he takes the brunt of the impact – besides the marshal’s face of course which gets smashed into the hard-as-pavement pavement. Also narrowly avoiding getting run down by the cycling hoard is the male sheriff’s deputy who employs some supremely fancy foot work and body gyration control in the middle of the melee at the 1:11 mark.
Side note: a rider cruises to a stop to the left side of the white pace car as the carnage unfolds and takes off on foot out of the frame at the 1:13 mark. Where is he going? Is this the moment he decides he’s had enough of this dangerous sport and just walks off into the sunset of cycling retirement?
No serious injuries were reported, and there is a pretty healthy debate in the comments on the Vimeo page of the video, so it’s worth it to check them out.
Also here is a hilarious cycling related bonus fail gif from the Giro d’Italia: