By the late 80's the Coors classic was no more, but some of the races survived. The one crit stage in Sacramento CA with the quarter mile of cobbles which still existed was sponsored by the California Lottery and brought huge loud crowds. It was equivalent to an NRC race today and brought teams like Coors Light, Schwinn-Wheaties, Celestial Seasonings and 7-11. It was huge and was also one of the first races I did as a cat-2 (junior).
I remember being on the start line (actually really far back from it) and looking around and being terribly intimidated because the guys around me were the same people I would read about in cycling magazines. It seemed larger than life.
When the race first started, I used everything I had to get in the front half. After about three laps I was pretty blown and the cobbles were kicking my ass. I vaguely remember seeing something like 60 or 70 laps remaining as I was slipping backwards fast and the single file line of riders was passing my on both sides. Before I knew it I was hanging on the very back by a string that was about to snap.
To my luck, at some point the race slowed down and when it picked up again I found myself in the top 10. Suddenly being up front gave me new life and I was pumped hearing the crowds. I did not want to slip back again and I was giving it everything to hold my spot, to the point where I was getting tunnel vision and going cross-eyed.
Then it happened. In the turn, going off the cobbles my front wheel skidded out on someones water bottle that had been dislodged from the vibrations. I slid left in the right hand turn and my handlebars hooked into the orange snow fencing standing my bike sideways for the rest off the single file field to plow into. It was chaos.
Some how I was fine, so I began to look for my bike in the carnage. It was next to Davis Phinney who was holding his extremely bloody hand and yelling all kinds of obscenities. All I could think of saying was "Sorry" as I hopped back on my bike and rolled to the pit where there was a huge gaggle of other riders waiting to get back in. I finished the race, but barely.
At a crit in Oakland the next day, Davis's hand was all hospitaled up. Apparently he split it between his fingers on my chain ring. Ouch. As I heard him yelling to officials, or somebody something about juniors should not allowed in the elite races I slinked back to try to stay out of his sight.
That wasn't the end of it. For several years, no matter how well I did at races I would be known as "that guy who crashed Davis Phinney". To make matters worse, I have seen that crash on TV (more than once) on shows like Bloopers, Bleepers and Practical Jokes.
So, although I was a junior and it was over 20 years ago, sorry Davis.