I often correct people in conversation when they refer to a biking event as a race.
Generally they are referring to events such as R2D2 as a race. It’s not a race, it’s a ride the Ride To Defeat Diabetes. I correct people because it is an important distinction. For some reason, many people automatically associate biking with racing. I have been an active cyclist most of my life but I have never been a bike racer.
I do love being involved in racing events, which is what I was doing this past weekend at two local races which NorthBay supported by providing first aid services. NorthBay has been supportive of the Winters Road Race and the Vacaville Gran Prix for many years. In fact NorthBay was one of the original sponsors of Monticello Cycling Club when it first formed more than 25 years ago I have the old bicycle jerseys bearing the NorthBay logo to prove it. None of those events, however, depend on first aid as much as the bike races. The ER staff can attest to this, the bike races are the events they prefer to work because they know they will be busy.
Crashing in bike racing is part of the sport. Serious injuries are rare but most bike racers have crashed at least once in their racing career and have experienced a bad case of “road rash” which is what they call the abrasions received from sliding down pavement at 20 or 30 mph. When bike racers crash, they almost always get right back on their bikes to continue the race. Only if their bike has been damaged or suffered a punctured tire would they be forced to abandon the competition. It is usually after they cross the finish line that they visit the first aid station.
I remember one race when an entire group crashed on the first lap of the race. They all got back up and raced 30 more laps and then all at once about a half dozen of them arrived at the first aid. We had their teammates attend to them while we handed them the first aid supplies.
This year there are three local bike races that NorthBay is supporting. On Saturday was the Winters Road Race on rural open roadways around the city of Winters. Racers used roads that were open to auto traffic with assistance from the California Highway Patrol to ensure safety. It was a 25 mile course that racers covered once, twice or three times, depending on their racing class.
The following day was Gran Prix in downtown Vacaville. That race is known as a Criterium or “Crit,” held on a short closed course.
The Vacaville race was 0.8 miles and included a hill on Monte Vista Avenue alongside Andrews Park. A Crit does not always have a set distance. Usually the racers are given a set amount of time which may be 40 minutes and then there is a countdown of laps so the riders will be told “ten laps to go,” at a certain point in time.
On Sunday there was one rider who fell hard in a sprint finish. He appeared to have suffered a concussion and we needed to summon an ambulance to take him to the hospital. Otherwise on both Saturday and Sunday we dealt with a normal number of “road rash” type injuries.
The third race that NorthBay will support this year is mountain bike race. Usually it takes place at Lagoon Valley Park but this year, for the first time, the race is scheduled to be held at Rockville Park on Saturday, Oct ## ## . 31 Halloween. The park will be decorated for the event and we expect to see some riders wearing some cool costumes.
It did not take long for reports of the hit and run began circulating on Facebook with a description of the vehicle. Somebody who saw this on Facebook saw a vehicle parked on her street matching the description given which had body damage and reported it. This led to the arrest of a suspect on suspicion of hit and run.
The injured cyclist, Cynthia Pouncey, has been a NorthBay employee less than a year. She was critically injured and at the time I am writing this, there have been positive reports on her recovery. The Monday after the accident NorthBay counselors visited departments where Cynthia works to visit with coworkers.