Kevin Soller’s brutal twist of cycling fate
I was walking into the post office last Monday when I bumped into longtime local Terri Soller. It is not unusual, as anyone who lives in a small mountain town knows, to meet a fellow resident at the post office. This time, however, something was different. Terri looked concerned.
On the cover of the newspaper the day before, we’d run a feature story on her son Kevin and fellow Breckenridge 18-year-old Walker Savidge, under the headline “We’re not just here to race.”
It was a piece on Soller and Savidge’s recent exploits in Europe, where they’ve been training and racing with USA Cycling’s under-23 road biking national team for much of the last four months, paying their dues one step below the ProTour in an attempt to craft a career as a professional cyclist.
Terri quietly explained a situation so ironic I had a hard time believing it. Sunday morning, the same day he’d been pictured on the cover of his hometown paper thousands of miles away, Kevin Soller had been in a terrible crash during a race in Belgium. He was in the hospital, Terri explained, and it was only too obvious that she wished to be there with him.
In describing what she knew, Terri said Kevin had mentioned he might not want to race again at all. “It’s his first big crash,” she said, strikingly calm considering the circumstances.
I wished her luck soon after and we parted ways, me still shaking my head at the stunning irony of it all.
On Friday, I got an e-mail from Kevin thanking me for the story, with a number of photos attached. He knew I’d run into his mom so he kept the crash description concise.
“I was in the hospital for 6 days,” he wrote. “I broke a rib, broke my collar bone, I have about 10 stitches in my knee, another 6 in my elbow and about 35 in my face. … Heres some pics that kinda explain the story a bit better.”
I opened the first photo and cringed like I haven’t in a while. It’s the one you see on this page of Kevin’s hamburgered face. The other pics told a similar tale.
“I dont remember what happened,” Kevin wrote, “but i guess me and 2 other guys went down and i was out cold for a little bit. They almost called the helicopter for me but fortunately i woke up.”
Kevin gave us permission to run the photos in the paper, which is why you see them here.
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