FORT COLLINS, Colo. (VN) _ For the first time in his career, two-time national cyclocross champion Todd Wells was carried off a race course Sunday after a bunny-hop over barriers went awry at the Greenware U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross New Belgium Cup in Fort Collins, Colorado.
The Specialized rider was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where X-rays found no broken bones.
Late in the race Wells and Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cylocrossworld.com) were battling for second place, with Powers’ teammate Tim Johnson alone at the front.
The two men came into a double barrier section that both had bunny-hopped throughout the day. However in other passes, Wells had taken the barriers from the front; this time Powers came into the barriers ahead of Wells, forcing the Specialized rider into a different approach. Wells made it over the first barrier, but not the second.
“Jeremy was going over a little slower and going over one wheel at a time; I like to come in fast and try to bunny-hop the whole barrier,” Wells said. “He had been taking the center line, which was a little slower, and I had been taking the line on the fence, which was faster. But that time he took the wide line and I cut in to the center, the slower line. Some guys go over front wheel and then rear wheel, but the technique I use to get over the barriers is to not hit the wheels at all. But that time my back wheel tagged it, and my leg went straight down on the second barrier.”
After several seconds on the ground — and with the entire field coming up behind — Wells remounted his bike but was unable to pedal with his left leg. He traveled a short distance on the course before dismounting and asking for medical help.
“I couldn’t move it at all or walk,” he said. “It immediately tightened up and I couldn’t move on my own power. At first I got on the stretcher, and they took me over to the ambulance. But because I couldn’t walk, I didn’t know how I would get from the ambulance to the car to go to the hospital, so I figured I’d just take the ride in the ambulance.”
Wells said he will return to his home in Durango, Colorado, and undergo further tests, depending on how the leg feels over the next few days.
“I’m pretty optimistic it will heal quickly,” he said. “It’s just a bruise, it hurts badly, but it should go away quickly. The doctors were vague, and just said come back in a few days if it still hurts, but I’ve got a lot of people in Durango — good physios that use lasers and muscle stimulus machines. They’ll put me back together.”
Editor’s note: Discovering the redwood forest singletrack in Santa Cruz, California, was the beginning of a lifelong love affair for Neal Rogers and riding bicycles. He moved to Boulder, Colorado, in 2001 to take a three-month editorial internship at VeloNews. He still hasn’t left. In addition to traveling the world covering races, Neal can be found riding his bike in the mountains (during spring and summer), racing cyclocross (fall), and skiing or snowboarding (winter). Year-round he can be found cooking, or attending a concert.