Rolling down a good descent, the line was coming directly into the largest climb of the day. When Mike’s cleat broke, it sent his crotch landing on the top tube and his upper torso slamming into the handlebars. The quickness of it all caused me to do nothing more than lockup. I froze and stayed straight. The pace line was directly to my right and oncoming traffic to my left, all at around 30ish miles an hour. My options were extremely limited, and I had to make a choice in an instant. The abruptness of Mike hitting his bars made the front wheel kick hard left, and the bike slam into the pavement, his body spinning on the asphalt. In my locked up state, by the time (all within milliseconds) I got to his legs, his lower half had rotated out of my path. I shot by him, as his bike bounced somehow into the air and cartwheeled beside me. It never made contact with me.
The line sat up and everyone checked on Mike. I turned around and went back to the crowd. Two riders waited on each end of the accident for traffic reasons. Mike was missing a good bit of skin and jersey but bounced up quickly, more out of embarrassment than anything and said he’d be okay. I joked that I would need to change my bibs. With the chain put back on and the handlebars readjusted, Mike wrapped his most injured part with a bandana and mounted up. We tucked him into the pace line, excusing him from any pulls, and carried on with the ride.
It is amazing how quickly things can happen. I was blessed not to be involved. Everyone said that I did all I could do, but in all actually, like I said, I froze. All I could think of was how not to harm my bike . . . bones can heal, bikes cannot.