First, it went “click-click-click.” It was an unnatural, grinding sound, and despite the cacophony of whirring carbon rims, clicking derailleurs, and spinning chains, our ears were finely tuned from the instinct of self preservation to quickly pick up any sound that didn’t belong, and this one didn’t belong.
I couldn’t see the origin of the click but since it was ahead and to the right I moved left as the clicking became the mashing clash of a pedal caught in spokes followed by the cursing and the inevitable smashing sound of a plastic and metal bike hitting the ground at full speed, body and head and arms and legs attached. The chain reaction included the guy who slammed into the twisted mess at full speed, and also the idiot who had awoken that morning with the terrible foreboding that today he would crash badly and even though he had plenty of space and time to avoid the catastrophe, he gave in willingly to what he thought was fate but what was actually nothing more mysterious than his decision to chew up some asphalt with his face.
I steered through the carnage and chased onto the peloton, now reduced by half thanks to the crash and a very manageable field of about thirty riders. My teammate F-1 Jim had gotten stuck behind the crash and been given a free lap, so the next time around he rejoined us.
On the first turn through the start-finish another foolish person smoked into the turn and made idiots of everyone behind him, as an even bigger crash ensued. One victim vaulted head first into the pavement, and as he bounced, shedding teeth, skin, and valuable bicycle components, he had the presence of mind to scream “You stupid motherfucking idiot sonofabitch!” at the bleeding, inert corpse that had caused the pile-up.
Rather than shed precious teeth and sensitive skin in the pursuit of blaming the crasher, I focused on the only two options before me: Hit the bloody head of the corpse, or shoot a narrow gap in the barricades and race up the sidewalk over the grass, and back onto the course without, hopefully, killing the baby twins in the pram and the nice, terrified lady pushing them.
I executed the escape and returned to the course just as F-1 Jim, caught behind yet another crash, made his way up to me. Rather than chase, he cleverly approached the official and requested another free lap. Terrified and gassed as I was, taking a breather sounded like a great idea, so I followed his lead.
The official had other ideas. “Did you crash?” he asked.
“No,” we said.
“Then you’re chasing!”
Now we were hopelessly behind, but not out of stratagems. We madly raced to the start-finish and relayed our sob story to yet another official. “Okay,” he said. “Go over to the pit.”
Along with a BBI wanker, we flipped a u-turn in the middle of the race course and dashed to the pit. The announcer and officials began screaming. “Hey, you’re going the wrong way! You can’t do that!”
Once at the pit we changed our story up a bit to make it even more calamitous. I explained how I’d had to bunny hop Godzilla’s penis and climb out of a 30-foot sinkhole filled with black adders.
The official, who was dumber than a sack of broken dicks, accepted the story without question. “But that wrong-way maneuver to the pit was against the rules. You’re all three DQ’d!”
“Maybe we are!” I snarled. “But just wait ’til next year!”