What's your best crash ever?

A resolute tree? An icy patch with a beer in your hand? A Kamikaze deer?

No one wants to hear a story about that great ride you did or that random event you won. But if there is a good crash involved, suddenly you’ve got an engaged audience.

 My favorite crash involves a small herd of deer, a steep mountain and Strava. Oh yes, I was/am one of those idiots. 

Full brakes, full contact, and the entirety of my face burrowed into his furry side

A few years back when Strava was but a fresh young thing in the world, I noticed that a friend sat nearly atop the leaderboard for a descent of a local mountain. Just like any hubris-filled male, I thought to myself, ‘I can beat that’. 

You see where this is going.  

So one day I am riding with another friend, Dave, who has more sense than I. Just before we crest the top of the hill to begin the Strava descent, I start sprinting like a fool. This was years before GPS computers offered Strava Live Segments, so I had no idea of my pace versus my friend’s. I just knew I needed to go fast. I was racing

Nobody told the deer. 

I came around a bend at about 40mph, tucked low. Ahead, a pickup truck was stopped in the road, because a herd of deer was strolling off the road to the right. Now, I’m no fool, so I kept an eye on those deer. But I — wait, scratch that ‘no fool’ part — didn’t so much as feather the brakes as I crossed into the opposite lane. I was racing, I tell you. Now, this little herd of deer continued safely off the road to the right with no incident.

As I pulled even with the stopped truck, I caught some movement in my peripheral vision to the left. A lone, patient deer remained in the ditch. As I passed the truck, this Kamikaze deer leapt into the road, directly into my path. I swerved, but he countered, his body perpendicular to my path. Full brakes, full contact, and the entirety of my face burrowed into his furry side. 

I flipped over the deer, my face in its side, my bike catapulting over the both of us and hurtling down the road. A few moments later, my friend Dave — who was not riding like an idiot — came around the bend to see: a stopped pickup with its door now open, me laying on the road 15 meters or so in front of the truck and my bike another 15 meters or so down the road. There were no deer in sight. 

"What the heck? That doesn’t even make sense," he said, as I gathered myself and stood up. "How do you get hit from behind coming down a hill?"

 My one regret of the day: Alas, I did not have a GoPro running. 

 How about you? What is your best crash story?

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

Related Articles

Back to top