« A two-fer || HOME || A few moments (103-108) »

April 2, 2006

The crash was probably my fault.

It was my team's weekly group ride. After getting stuck towing a weak rider the last 2 miles into Highland Park, I was eager to proceed to some long, fast miles with our stronger riders. Finally, after a short warm-up, the pace turned hot and it appeared we were off to the races.

Halfway up a false flat it looked like someone might get to the top before me, and per usual I would have nothing of it. (Oh, to think how many grams I could trim if I left my ego at home.) Just as I jumped left to pass, someone swung around on my left and my front wheel clipped their rear. Down I went, hard.

Fortunately, my body broke the fall so my bike was mostly fine. I also had the foresight to land on my back, so I was able to reach up and catch the two people who landed on me. My hip and elbow took the worst of it, but nothing was broken, save for my helmet, which cracked. I'd wanted an excuse to buy a new one anyhow. The shock wore off after a few queasy minutes, and I was able to ride the 20 miles home.

At least it wasn't a race, and thank goodness I was using my crashing wheels instead of my Ksyriums.

A teammate insisted I pop in at the physical-therapy clinic that sponsors us. I checked out fine, and I had my single square inch of road rash cleaned by their first-aid specialist, a former Army medic fresh from Iraq. Our conversation went something like:

"You've probably seen worse than this, huh?"

"Uh, yeah. Nice Spandex, by the way."

Afterward I went straight to the bike shop down the street, which was hopping with fair-weather cyclists. Nonetheless, my guys gave me an even faster check-up than the clinic, truing my wheel and nursing my derailleur for only $7.50.

The special service may have been thanks to the case of beer I bought them last summer. It always pays to tip your mechanic in currency they appreciate.

The shop has a very "High Fidelity" feel to it, and I've come to like the guys who work there, even though I'm sure that behind my back I'm not spared their expert heckling. I like how they always ask about my Ksyriums, the way obstetricians also might ask about the babies they have brought into the world.

The one lingering issue was my training. With Saturday's ride cut short, I'd have to ride 5 hours today in order to make my weekly goal. Without intending as much, I did it, the hard way, the hard way being to get lost in the northern suburbs, the hard way being in the cold and the rain, the hard way being without enough food. But if I can do 90 miles in the rain today, next week's 44-mile race will be soft indeed.