I flew to San Diego a day early for the eight day Tour of California in order to
test some prototype bikes for Trek. They found a technical decent where we could
push the bikes to their limits and give feedback on their performance. I had
finished my tests, stopped at the van, and took off my gloves to eat a sandwich
before heading up the climb one last time for a little extra training. On the
way down, I leaned into a corner at high speed. Without warning my wheels
slipped and I slid down the road on my right hip. The worst damage was to my
hands having deep cuts and blisters on my palms. But I also filleted my right
hip and quad. Scrubbing down in the shower… well, I prefer not to recall it.
The following day I attempted to ride with the team, but didn’t make it out of
the parking lot. My leg was only painful, not immobilizing, and I could slowly
ease pressure onto my hands, but any bump in the road was excruciating and
caused more bleeding. I am devastated to leave the team before battle. Crashing
is not supposed to be part of the sport, but as my friend, Jon Thomson, who I
randomly saw in the airport on my return said, “that is the nature of the
I had trained hard for this race and felt like I was peaking in the right
moment, but I’m equally disappointed to let down my supporters. I have a lot of
people to thank like my doctor, Andy Macfarlan, who took a special interest in
my diet and supplements. Johnny Phan, Guy East, and Todd Henriksen, among
others, who were at the race to follow me. On the other hand, as you know, it
was a difficult winter and spring to stay motivated. I had lost some of the
passion that drives excellence. I went to races to do my job. It is difficult to
inspire when you are not inspired! Watching my team at California as a
supporter, however, is harder than I expected. I want to be there. So, this is
an opportunity to rest, reset, and come back with my condition and head in the
P.S. I have a personal policy about posting and flaunting gory crash photos
online because crashing and road rash aren’t cool, they’re gross. But ask if you
have a twisted mind or happen to be in the medical field and want to see.
This report is late because I flew back to VA and have been full gas training for Tour of California and catching up with people after four months. I hope that a real break is somewhere around the corner!
Liege-Bastogne-Liege: 268 km
With 150 km to go, the pace never relaxed. In fact, the real racing and first serious climbs began with 105 km to go and never let up making this race a balance of attrition and aggression. I fought for position before the climbs knowing that it was critical for saving energy to be up front and avoid the yo-yo at the back of the peloton. Just before the first climb, however, one of our leaders flatted and I was called to the back. I paced him back to the peloton on the climb, then experienced the full yo-yo, brake-sprint chaos at the back. There was no opportunity to move up for the next four climbs. In fact, I was dropped twice, but fought back. Before the infamous climb, Col du Redoute, the team ordered me up front to help position the leaders. I got myself there but it felt like a token effort. With 130 miles of racing already in the legs, I was hurting. On the climb, my teammate broke his bike. I quickly gave him mine, then waited for the car with my spare bike. I caught a small group and we finished together.
LBL is one of the world’s most famous one day races, so I was proud to be there and to play my part for the team.
Thanks for the support!
Here’s an interview I gave on the start of LBL: http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/04/news/qa-with-ben-king-a-work-in-progress-hunting-an-opportunity_283948