Mara Abbott's up-and-down day at the Redlands Bicycle Classic during Thursday's stage 2 Yucapia Road Race started with a hard fall during the third of four laps but then ended with the win and race lead at the top of the final climb to Oak Glen.
Abbott suffered abrasions to her left shoulder and hip and was experiencing pain in her neck and shoulder at the finish. Medical personnel on scene advised her to have the injuries checked at an urgent care facility, but the slight climbing phenom was reluctant.
She told assembled media that she'd see how she felt Friday morning before making the final decision about starting the stage 3 time trial, but she was optimistic she'd be on the line when her time came up.
"My plan for tonight is to convince them I don't have to go to urgent care because that sounds lame (laughs), and then tomorrow is another day," she said. "So I'll get a good night's sleep and then we'll see what happens."
Asked directly if she planned to continue, Abbott said that if medical personnel couldn't tell her something was wrong, then the decision was hers, and she'd never before dropped out of a race because of injuries.
"If I could ride today, I can probably ride tomorrow, so if it gets worse that might be a problem," she said. "But I mean if you get some ice on it and get some ibuprofen, I think I'll be OK."
Abbott, who won the same stage and the overall at Redlands in 2015, came into the day just 11 seconds behind overnight leader Scotti Lechuga (Hagens Berman-Supermint) and six seconds behind Twenty16-RideBiker's Kristin Armstrong.
She powered away from the field and then Armstrong on the final climb, taking the win by a comfortable margin and riding into the race leader's yellow jersey. But her celebration was tempered by the injuries she suffered in the crash.
"It was one of those where there was a bunch of people going down, and I actually managed to go around them but someone else did not, so they took me out from behind," she said while waiting for the podium ceremony. "Thankfully, considering how fast we were going, I landed on another person but it put a pretty good ding to my limited edition Amy D Lazer helmet.
"My shoulder and my neck are pretty sore," she said. "I didn't really notice it as much when I was riding, but since then it's gotten pretty sore. We'll just see how that goes and keep the fingers crossed."
Armstrong said she wasn't even aware that Abbott had crashed during the stage and only learned about it when she saw her in the medical tent at the finish.
"In fact when I saw her in the medical tent I thought maybe she crashed after the finish line, but that was not the case," Armstrong said.
"I hope that she gets better. Sometimes as competitors we get endorphins when we crash, and they do amazing things for us. It looks like her shoulder, and she also hit her head because her helmet was damaged, so I just hope that she gets proper care because our health is number one and competition is number two. We always have a hard time with that, but it's very important."
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