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An Update From Katy Winton After Her Brutal Crash At EWS Olargues, France

May 14, 2018
by Sarah Moore  
When Katy Winton flatted and couldn t get her FTD out she had a long haul back to the pits from stage three. It left her spent and stressed knowing she was minutes away from missing her last start time of the day.

With a mega crash, a flat tire, and various other hurdles throughout the weekend, Round 3 of the Enduro World Series was a difficult one for Katy Winton. We caught up with her to see how she's doing after digging deep to stay in the race.

How were you feeling leading up to the race?

Not great, the Tuesday the week before I picked up the start of a cold and so was sleeping 10 hours a night then a nap in the day too just trying to fight it off. I'd had a busy couple of weeks moving back home from New Zealand, then from home to a new place, then raced a UK enduro... I had been a bit too busy and I was paying for it.

What happened on Day 1? How did you manage to drop stuff? And what happened on Stage 3?

Day 1 started with me nipping for a wee and my jacket fell out from between my bib shorts and my back where I keep it. It was in deep grass so I didn't hear it fall. Becky Cook saw it in the grass. Then on the way to Stage 2, I put my goggles on my helmet and wedged my cheek pads from my helmet in between the goggle strap and my helmet. I think when I took my helmet off when I was pushing my bike that the goggles must have got knocked off, in turn taking the cheek pads with them. So random, I couldn't believe it. Just lucky, Eddie, Richie and Remi saw them and kindly brought them up.

Stage 3, I had a good stage then punctured 5m from the finish, I plugged the tyre with help from Ines, but the tyre was having trouble seating onto the small dent in the rim. I tried, but my hands aren't physically strong enough to get the FTD and tyre off quickly, so I had to think fast weigh up my options and decided I needed to get back to the pits ASAP or I'd miss my start time for Stage 4.

Did you ride the enter liaison between stage 3 and 4 on a flat tire? Was it a detour to ride to the pits for a tire change?

Yes, all 5km of it max effort on a flat. The FTD was great though and provided a good platform to pedal along on. It wasn't a detour to the pits though, I just didn't have all that much time. My mechanics were quick and efficient though and got me sorted, hell of a team. Lucky to have them because I nearly passed out from the effort of getting there, I had pins and needles all over my body had to lie down, threw up and couldn't get my breath back.

How did Cecile end up pushing you?

Because Cecile is a great human and saw a mate struggling. Between the girls there is a mutual respect. I think I can say the same about most of the guys as well. These races are SO savage. We've all been through a lot together. We all know how brutal it is to get through one of these races never mind a whole season - the highs, the lows and all of the emotions. It's one hell of an experience and one we share together. If we didn't look out for each other in the hard times and have a laugh along the way in the good times and enjoy the buzz together from riding amazing tracks, then what would be the point in all the suffering? Victory is lonely, but with these experiences, good people around you and the stories along the way, now, that's what makes it memorable.

Cecile stayed with me at the end of Stage 3 to help me with my puncture, but then when I had to ride she went out of her way and stayed with me and would physically push me when my effort would start to fade. She went above and beyond. I didn't think I would make it but she was there to encourage me and push me on. What an absolute machine, can't thank her enough!

When I made it to Stage 4 the rest of the girls were cheering me the last bit of the way, big love to them all!

What happened on Stage 7?

I had a big crash in the main chute of the stage and smacked my head really, really hard destroying my helmet. It was pretty scary, actually. I got to ride down behind Cecile for the rest of the stage though which was actually so awesome!

A rough weekend for Katy Winton. Winton finished sixth after fighting off a cold last week and a bit of trouble on course yesterday that pushed her way past the hurt locker to stay in the race.
A rough weekend for Katy Winton.

How is your head doing now?

Well, I managed to pick up a stomach bug so I woke up for throwing up etc. at 2 am, then more in the morning so I felt like death all morning and didn't eat anything until dinner time where I had a small bite. (This is some interview, haha!! Honestly, my life isn't usually this eventful!!) My head is feeling good though all things considered, but I will be taking the week off, with no/minimal screen time and very low if any exercise. These injuries shouldn't be taken lightly. So that's over and out from me!

Get well soon Katy!

MENTIONS: @trek @mdelorme


  • 139 2
 A stomach bug or post-concussive syndrome? I've had one really bad concussion in my life (and I'm sure a few other minor ones) which caused me to throw up uncontrollably for 24 hours the day after my accident.
  • 26 0
 I was thinking the same thing. I am sure she will get it checked out properly. Good excuse to lay around for a week after what it seems like she has been through. Bunch of respect for her!
  • 9 0
 I bet they checked. You're right though. I was nauseous and super tired after my last concussion for a good 24-36 hours. Felt like being poisoned actually.
  • 6 7
 Totally! I've seen it happen many times. Crazy how people can't put two and two together. Then again, she hit her head really hard...
  • 2 0
 @chris6-6-6: Her helmet looked like a crushed eggshell.
  • 5 1
 Throwing up all night followed me through all my concussions...
  • 4 0
 It's never happened to me, but a friend of mine threw up after even what was diagnosed a minor concussion, so yeah, this was the first thought I had.
  • 11 0
 There was a gastro bug going through the town supposedly. A couple of aussie guys over there couldn't compete because of the mudbutt and vomiting.
  • 32 0
 There was also a gnarly stomach bug going around that ruined few riders weekends as well, and it would likely feel much different to the nausea from a concussion.
  • 5 1
 @davetrumpore: exactly. While nausea is common post-concussion (I’ve had my share), the difference of a stomach illness and concussion symptom nausea are quite different in how they manifest physically, at least for me.
  • 5 1
 You can't ask the person with no medical training and a possible brain injury to diagnose themselves. She's doing the best she can. Hopefully her team has a head injury protocol that kicks in when you damage your helmet and verified that she is okay before racing again.
  • 73 1
 So she hit her head "really hard" and then rode down the rest of the course? And we are celebrating this and her "toughness"?

Apparently, we collectively have very short memories. There was an article about Lorraine Truong not long ago, and she specifically mentioned riding after her head injury. These are athletes - I get that. They are in the moment and want to finish. And that is exactly why the sport needs independent concussion protocols and evaluations.

Down vote me all you want. I don't want to see another heart-breaking article like the one about Lorraine last week.
  • 5 0
 @dooganmcdoogan: I spent a good deal I time in Oz. Aussie mudbutt is more commonly associated with pies and tooheys, but could have been an illness I guess.
  • 8 1
 speculation is awesome. Maybe if we ask nicely she will detail her accompanying fecal situation and we can put it to rest.
  • 8 0
 @tkrug: If anyone can rekindle the magic of it's the PB commenters.
  • 3 0
 @drboudreaux: that was the first thing come to my mind....
  • 3 0
 @drboudreaux: I was thinking the same thing. They should really be pulled from the race immediately after any head impact. Not worth the risk just to finish one race.
  • 6 0
 @huntstyle: Yeah, when the helmet is 'completely wrecked' (or whatever the wording was) I don't think you need look any further. I was going to say 'a no-brainer' but that sounds like a really sick pun - which wasn't what came to mind first. Eesh.
  • 6 0
 @drboudreaux: Feels like the NFL 10-15 years ago. "What a competitor, he got his bell rung but is crawling back out to the huddle! Wow!"

Like, haven't we gone through the CTE stuff enough by this point? These people should know better.
  • 3 0
 @drboudreaux: My guess is that there isn't a medic everywhere on the course so she had to make the decision herself regarding whether to stop or continue. She has taken time off as per doctors from what I read. I agree that it's unfortunate that we have to read a heartbreaking story like Lorraine's before the dangers of concussions start to sink in. Thanks to Lorraine for sharing her story so that people like Katy and all the rest of us can understand how serious concussions are.
  • 2 0
 @kkse: I would think there would be someone at start and end of every stage. Anyone with the damage shown to her helmet should have been pulled. You don’t need to see it happen , just seeing that helmet should have been enough to pull her from the race. Athletes need to protected from themselves sometimes.
  • 2 0
 @kkse: whether there are medics or not, there shuold be a race rule that benchs you automatically under a concussion protocol, unless a medical doctor clears you. This might seem harsh, but if we are going to get serious about brain damage, which is what concussion really is, then we cannot be seen to be soft-stepping for the sake of competition.
  • 1 0
 @drboudreaux: She did end up walking a bit of one of the stages as she didn't want to risk crashing again.
  • 2 1
 @davetrumpore: The stomach bug was present on day 1 according to the article as she said she threw up from the max effort from flatting getting back to the pits correct? And thrbwreck happened on day 2, do unrelated.

Plus all you guys screaming concussion are doing stupid football math on the impact!

MTB helmets are made far different than football helmets, even motorcycle helmets.
MTB helmets are crunchy air bags that dissipate energy immediately and in stages from outside to inside.
Football helmets are rigid externally and take dozens of crushing and brutal hits to them all day everyday.

A can't destroy a football helmet with a steel hammer but you can crush the outside of an MTB helmet with a silicon spatula.

I am not diminishing the potential for a concussion, but trying to act like she got a head shot from Ed Reed so dramatic, I have to read all your comments in a high pitched "mom" voice.
  • 62 0
 Gnarly!! Get well soon! Props to Cecile and the enduro bros, too. The PB trolls care about you too.
  • 20 0
 Right on. It makes me happy to hear mountain bikers can compete at the highest level and do so while caring about each other.
  • 6 0
 @Adamrideshisbike: Peaty did the same thing (well almost) on the first year of EWS when a fellow racer had a flat tyre.
  • 33 0
 Footage of the crash courtesy of the VitalMTB crew:

Words don't do the crash or the section of trail any justice. That chute was insane.
  • 13 0
 That clip is nuts!
  • 10 0
 Jaysus fook!
  • 24 2
 that section makes WC tracks look like a fucking JOKE !!!!!! HOLY HELL.....
  • 11 0
 It may just be the camera angle? BUT it looks like that guy in the blue jackets is sticking his head and sometimes hands right out in front of the riders as they are dropping into that gaping maw of destruction... I'm surprised one of the riders who crashed there didn't get up and punch him...
  • 9 0
 Wow, even Sam Hill went down. Crazy section.
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: that looked really weird yeah. Maybe he was trying to prepare to help in a crash event, but not knowing what to do at all it was just hesitation? Should have just gone about 2m further away from the track.
  • 2 0
 @daweil: I think @stiingya is right. I rode this section during training in dry conditions. It's so easy to crash to this side of the track. The guy is just protected by the tree in front of him in my opinion. There were many places where the spectators took quite a risk getting hit by a crashing rider.
  • 18 1
 That OTB's slam was no joke. I heard the audio clear, she was genuinely terrified/scared on that initial impact. I felt for her, she seems so kind. It really was a f*cked up slam. Tough little cookie.
  • 12 1
 She's a real trooper that's for sure. Racing an EWS is already incredibly brutal (not that ive done it myself, i can only imagine), and to add on the frustration of mechanicals and crashes is just something else. Way to go Katy!
  • 12 2
 Should mtb have concussion rules? I really don't think she should have been allowed to continue riding after writing off her helmet. Riders are at a much higher risk of crashing again, and highly likely to do more severe damage.
  • 9 0
 The issue is how do you enforce it fairly? If a rider crashes in the middle of the woods with no spectators or officials around, who stops them from getting back on the bike and going? If a rider minorly wrecks in the middle of a timed run and someone wants to do a concussion check, and stops their progress thereby completely screwing up their result when the rider didn't hit their head and is deemed fine, who is held responsible? Who determines if a fall requires concussion testing? And how you classify the fall (seenin real-time it may appear completely different from actuality)? Lastly, who adopts it and agrees on it? EWS and UCI want nothing to do with each other, or your local series not affiliated with any governing body. How does uniformity come about?
  • 5 0
That's a really good point. To solve degree it would need to be an honesty system. However, you could trial mounting accelerometers to helmets, which set off a light at a certain impact. Another system would be ensuring that helmets of those in the race do not have significant scratches or damage.
  • 4 0
 @Jamminator: here's an opportunity mate - make a low cost G-sensor that goes on a helmet and sends an alert of somesuch when it registers a big impact. NFL would probably want something like that too.

Far better though to have people rock up and say they've had one and make it so riders want to report it.
  • 1 0
 @Jamminator: They might not be able to stop her mid stage but no way she should have been allowed to continue after the finish of that stage. Just look at the helmet. Who in their right mind can say on its not bad after looking at the helmet. This is isn’t that hidden interior damage. I get your point on the questionable ones but there is no reason they can’t do the right thing for the rider when there is obvious damage to a helmets shell.
  • 13 0
 ... but apart from all that it was alright.
  • 12 2
 Finally. This interview is one of the best examples illustrating what is Enduro about
  • 3 58
flag RedRedRe (May 14, 2018 at 16:24) (Below Threshold)
 I have not seen any of the xco women creating all the drama for a fall and a bad day. And any xco race is physically tougher than enduro. Last race I have seen in person, eva lechner went otb on a 6 meters drop, landing on her face/shoulder. I feared she was dead as she did not move for a minute. She got up and kept racing for another hour...
  • 33 1
 Hold up. F*ck this attitude. If XCO is shrugging off terrible crashes and potential life threatening head injuries then that's a problem. If Enduro is making a big deal or "dramatizing" somewhat minor crashes, then awesome, it brings the community together. We need to not be such tough guys/gals and sometimes slow down a bit and actually care about our competitors. Good on Ravanel for being awesome and the EWS/Pinkbike for community for sincerely caring about the condition of Katy.
  • 16 1
 @RedRedRe: 6 meters? Did she fall off a ladder on top of a basketball hoop? How did she get up there?
  • 3 38
flag RedRedRe (May 14, 2018 at 17:22) (Below Threshold)
 Cycling is a shitty and tough sport. No pro or real cyclist ever bragged about how hard it is. That is the point. I have only seen amateurs writing diaries of their races. Still wondering why americans can’t understand cycling and soccer.
  • 6 0
 @PHeller: I don't think it's "shrugging it off" opposed to just being completely untrained for a concussion with no formal protocol/procedure. It doesn't matter if it's Enduro, XCO, BMX, road cycling, etc, cycling in general has had a terrible history with poor handling of concussions. A few months ago Mark Cavendish had a crash (unknowing at the time) that resulted in a concussion, and was allowed to continue down the road...this is on the biggest platform in cycling with [supposedly] some of the world's best athletic doctors. It's a total cluster @$&# because there are no time outs in any cycling discipline, so we have this go-go-go attitude to get back pedaling. I don't know or have a solution, but every discipline needs help.
  • 2 0
 @bigwheels87: I remember that race. It was NOT 6 meters, but was pretty far if you watch it in slow motion and just focus on her head:
  • 5 1
 @RedRedRe: This is an interview not a diary? Regarding her instagram posts, tonnes of pros of all cycling disciplines gave race reports similar to that both on good days and bad days. don't know what you're on about
  • 2 0
 @RedRedRe: Head impacts are no joke. Not drama. I was properly happy to hear Katy mentioning that head shots are not worth pissing around over. Protect your noggin like you would your noodle and you’ll be alright. Just don’t Satan wrap your noggin. Bad idea.
  • 13 0
 @RedRedRe: sounds to me as if you've fallen on your head a few too many times. Maybe apply some concussion protocol now and refrain from any screen time and making inane comments on social media.
  • 13 0
 @RedRedRe: I’ve raced both XCO and Enduro at world level, and I can tell you there is no way you can say one is harder than the other!!

Sure XC is 1.5 hour of pure suffering. But Enduro can be 8h on the bike with massive efforts in it.
And one is close to the pits all the time, while the other brings you far into the mountain..
  • 2 0
 Someone changed the original meaning of my message to the accidents part. I meant that this example of comradeship, even including those at the highest level of the professional competition, who helped at all moments, are defining what is really Enduro about.
The quote from Katy is one to remember:
"It's one hell of an experience and one we share together. If we didn't look out for each other in the hard times and have a laugh along the way in the good times and enjoy the buzz together from riding amazing tracks, then what would be the point in all the suffering? Victory is lonely, but with these experiences, good people around you and the stories along the way, now, that's what makes it memorable."
  • 9 0
 That's insane, what a total bad@$$!!!
  • 6 1
 You get back what give out. Good karma and all that. Had the pleasure of meeting and riding with Katy during a couple of transition stages at some NZ enduro races earlier this year and she is one of the nicest/genuine people I've met at a race. All the best for the recovery and rest of the season Katy.
  • 9 2
 'Flat tire defender worked great...' Because it let her pedal on a flat? Tough weekend for this gutsy woman but don't defend a defender that didn't defend you.
  • 8 0
 Huge respect. Come back stronger and faster!
  • 7 0
 get well katy! it’s inspiring to see you all work together and push each other in competition.
  • 7 0
 Pretty awesome comradery amongst the girls. Tough girl and I am glad you are taking some time off. Wise move.
  • 6 0
 when you KNOW when the BEST are struggling... WTF. !!!!!!!! wishing ALL the best to you katy !!!!!!
  • 7 3
 Imo, I think the track is too gnarly for an enduro race. I hope the organizers would not push the limits of these enduro bikes and most specially the athletes.
  • 4 0
 Hard to judge. You get sections of trails that are just about ok if you're feeling fresh, but after 2 days of racing and breathing out your eyeballs? Tricky...
  • 5 0
 Yeah they could make them more like DH tracks.
  • 2 0
 Just have to comment on the beautiful sportsmanship of EWS. Again it is so great that EWS mandates full face helmets. Katy is beautiful and a crash to the face would have been horrible, but most importantly the face is the head and the head is the brain.
  • 6 0
 That crash was brutal.
  • 3 0
 That must be one heck of a good helmet, as it was a pretty brutal smash to the side of her head.
Gooduck on your next race.????
  • 5 0
 Respect! Cecile and get well soon Katy!
  • 4 0
 I'm impressed, trying to pin it downhill after being exhausted is no easy feat.
  • 3 0
 Best of luck for the rest of the season and healing vibes.
Props to people who picked up her stuff on the way and Cécile the beast who helped her Smile
  • 4 0
 I like how the enduro lot band together sometimes when some one is having a rough race time.
  • 4 0
 Cecile is amazing. It sounds like she went way above and beyond. What a champion.
  • 4 0
 Just some perspective as to how gnarly this venue was!
  • 1 0
 Amazing to see the riders supporting each other, makes these events better to watch and so much more meaningful compared to fierce competition and riders trying to get one up on eachother.
  • 3 0
 nails.. great to read how they all help each other. look after that noggin
  • 3 0
 Brutal weekend.
  • 2 0
 what a warrior!!! props to ravanel too!!!
  • 2 0
 It was a crazy hard section because Sam hill crashed there haha
  • 1 0
 I got to say, what a cracking set of human being the EWS are. Ride, Race and help each other, Class act.
  • 1 0
 I hope her jacket didn't get a golden shower.
  • 1 0
 super glad Abraham Lincoln was there to take care of her
  • 1 0
 Pic of the helmet?
  • 1 0
 On instagram.

Best weblink I could find. I think it's identical to the instagram link up at the top of the article on the right.

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