Crashes happen often in pro cycling, but not the kind Nic Hamilton experienced.
The 27-year-old Saanich resident – who spent plenty of time circling Colwood’s Westshore Velodrome this year – was on the Canadian track cycling team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow when his name went national. It was July 23, the day of the Opening Ceremonies, and Hamilton had just clipped a marshal during a training session in the velodrome. Both went tumbling after the 60 km/h crash.
“When you have a crash like that, it can go one of two ways,” Hamilton said from Calgary, where he was prepping for the upcoming Tour of Alberta, Sept. 2 to 9.
“Either you have both people pointing fingers at each other, or both are saying sorry, and it was the latter. You can’t sit around and say whose fault it was. Both the volunteer and myself were trying to do our jobs.”
It was with that mindset Hamilton moved to recover emotionally and physically from the crash.
He was concussed, and a series of injuries to the small back muscles kept him in bed for the better part of three days. The marshal, a Glaswegian woman, also suffered a concussion and broken collarbone.
Hamilton missed the track cycling portion of the event but was able to get back on his bike for the road race on Aug. 3, the final day of the Games.
The crash was part of a roller coaster that ended with three stages of recovery.
“I’m a very positive person, so for me my natural reaction is to be optimistic. I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve ever been mad. On the first day, I was okay. But the next day, I was frustrated thinking, ‘Six months of prep was thrown away.’ By the third day I knew I needed to move forward. And in the end, I was able to come away having competed in the road race.”
Hamilton also credits his speedy recovery to the Canadian medical staff who were on site and immediately took him in.
He attended the Games clinic for three sessions a day with a physiotherapist, massage therapist and medical doctor, who followed the rigid concussion protocol.
Hamilton didn’t finish the road race, but was in good company as only 11 of the 140 starters completed, most of them among the world’s elite, such as winner Geraint Thomas.
Hamilton will finish the season with his Jelly Belly pro cycling teammates at the Tour of Alberta and will then fly to Japan for the three-day Tour de Hokkaido.
“The Games didn’t derail anything,” he said. “It was just a temporary setback.