The story of a Day 5 crash can now be told given that no competitive advantage can be gained by Italian readers of this blog who might also be riding Fondo Leopardiana. OK, so there are no known Italian readers of this blog! More importantly, spousal disclosure is complete, freeing all trip information into the public domain.
Our man Markham is an ace descender of course—some might say “daredevil.” He also occasionally reminds his riding companions of his prowess, in the joshing way that boys intuitively understand, by calling on someone named “Grammaw.”
Late in the afternoon of Day 5, we were descending the narrow, broken pavement of a country lane after Climb 3, heading for the tiny burg of Mevale, where we would have lunch. The road was gravel as much as pavement, and an earlier light rain had dampened the surface. I was leading the descent, cautiously, with Rick right behind me, a trail of riders behind him.
Markham launched behind everyone else on the descent and started passing guys, hitting the gravel patches when necessary. After a mile, he reached Rick, then rolled by Rick with a “See ya, Grammaw!”
I was just ahead in a hairpin turn, on the outside edge, and Markham took an inside line at 8 or 10 mph to pass me on the curve. Whoosh! His wheels went out from under him and he hit the pavement hard and lay there stunned.
We promptly went to his aid and he took a couple minutes to clear his head. Road rash on his leg and hip, and a torn rain jacket, looked to be the major damage until he tried to raise his left arm above his head. Ouch!
Todd, a doctor with ER experience, did some diagnostics and determined it was not a broken collarbone, but perhaps an AC separation of some degree. Markham was hurting. Eventually, he mounted his bike and completed the 20 miles in the rain to Norcia.
The next day was Race Day, and Markham managed to share the top spot on the podium with Charles, even though he couldn’t get off his seat and stand on the pedals.
That’s why we love Markham, and that’s why “See ya, Grammaw!” has become a permanent part of our lexicon!