One of my favorite moments in one of my favorite movies features a horse in a bike race. A character in the film is watching a VHS video mixtape that had been anonymously slipped under his doormat by his neighbor.

You see, the character had been living as a shut-in for most of his life. His neighbor had created for him an analog reel of sorts, filled snippets she’d recorded on her VCR that she hoped would remind her fragile, shut-in neighbor of how many magical moments there are in life, out there in the world.

The VHS mixtape switches from one different snippet to the next, almost like someone is flipping through TV channels, and then stops and stays on grainy footage that makes both the character and us, the viewer, suck in our breath. It's grainy footage of a bike race, somewhere in Europe and sometime during the 80s judging by the bikes, being led by a galloping horse.

More From Bicycling
preview for HDM All Sections Playlist - Bicycling

The stage of the mystery race appears to have neutralized and the the peloton is JRA, clearly in awe of the beautiful and powerful creature galloping majestically in front of them, leading them down the road.

As we, the viewers of the film, are as well. It’s a bike racing moment that makes us feel something. The horse is having an absolute blast. Then, in a flash after a moment of TV snow, the vision is gone and the VHS mixtape moves on to the next snippet.

The frame cuts to the main character, he blinks, and so do we, as if we’re both asking the same question: “Did that just happen?”

Well, folks, in this year's Strade Bianche Demi Vollering had an experience sharing the course with a galloping horse that was not magical at all. In fact, it was probably as far opposite from “magical” as one could get. Instead, it was absolutely terrifying.

This content is imported from twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

What we see in the race coverage is the moto’s cameraperson focusing on Vollering. She’s descending down a swervy road, chasing Kristen Faulkner like a heat seeking missile. She's flying.

Then she's screaming.

She screams loud enough to be heard over the announcers and the motorbike. It’s not a scream of frustration, it’s a scream of bone-chilling terror.

A split second later, we see why she screamed. A horse, galloping at full speed, swerves into the road beside and slightly ahead of her, a torn lead line flapping behind, as it takes off in chase of the lead moto.

Vollering, visibly shaken, somehow recovers enough mentally to continue her race, continue her pursuit of Faulkner. Meanwhile, we at home may have had a mild cardiac event. We may have had to lay down.

What did Demi Vollering do? She won Strade Binache, that’s what.

What happened to the horse?

The horse, who slipped and fell at some point during its outing, is reportedly okay. It's name is Zlatana.

eroica 9th strade bianche 2023 women's
Demi Vollering after the podium ceremony of the 2023 edition on the women’s Strade Bianche.
Luc Claessen//Getty Images
Headshot of Natascha Grief
Natascha Grief

Natascha Grief got her first bike shop job before she was old enough to drink. After a six-year stint as a mechanic, earning a couple pro-mechanic certifications and her USA Cycling Race Mechanics license, she became obsessed with framebuilding and decided she wanted to do that next.  After Albert Eistentraut literally shooed her off his doorstep, admonishing that if she pursued framebuilding she will be poor forever, she landed an apprenticeship with framebuilder Brent Steelman in her hometown of Redwood City, CA. After that, she spent several years working for both large and not-so-large cycling brands. Somewhere in there she also became a certified bike fitter. Natascha then became a certified personal trainer and spent nine years honing her skills as a trainer and coach, while also teaching Spin. During the dumpster fire that was the year 2020, she opened a fitness studio and began contributing regularly to Runner’s World and Bicycling as a freelance writer. In 2022, she joined the staff of Bicycling as News Editor.