If you are a competitive cyclist, or even someone who plays one on TV, then you sweat over every little detail of your training. You log every mile. You prepare everyday with your next work out in mind. You know your resting and max heart rate. Some may call you obssessive compulsive or a control freak.
We know our weekly routes like the back of our hands—every ripple in the road, every corner of every trail.
Yet, despite our best efforts to control every aspect of our training there are some we can not control. One of these is the time and place of the inevitable crash. Most of the time, they occur with little warning, like in your weekly group ride when someone unexpectantly breaks in front of you and despite your best effort, you and three others go down.
Most of the time crashes occur while racing. Most of the time, for the same reason mentioned earlier, rider meets pavement.
When these unscheduled meetings occur, the results are never pleasant. There you lie in a heap of Lycra, broken skin, and bike parts. Your race bike has just become a yardsale item, and if this happened at a race, the promoter has basically pocketed your entry fee, and you are left with only the stories of the idiot who caused the carnage and war wounds to prove it.
Me personally, I'm good for an average of one good crash per year. I reserve mine for training rides, or as in July 3, 2005, getting into it with a car (hit and run). But nonetheless, I have eaten dirt and pavement on a few ocassions.
I still prefer dirt any day.
All of this brings me to my lastest mulligan. Last Saturday, I went out for a ride on my old steel framed bike, Raleigh, that I picked up at a yard sale for $20. This bike is a 20-something-year-old tank. I have had it repainted in baby blue and yellow, kind of an Astana-ish look alike...sort of.
As I navigated this SUV with pedals, I was towing my most precious cargo, my three year old in a bike trailer.
I was coming around a corner and hit some loose gravel as I tripoded at a whopping 8 mph, I came to a stop. I saved it. I looked back at my daughter who was completely unfazed by this turn of events. I think she was banking on me falling.
I then attempted to clip back into my pedal only to have my foot slip off the pedal, which then caused the crank arm to contact my left shin, and next thing I know, I'm on the ground. This amused my daughter, "Daddy you're silly."
While as amused as she was, I landed directly on my left shoulder, which in turn sent a signal of sharp pain to what little brain I have left. I sat there for a second not trying to drop the F-bomb and a few other choice words in front of an impressionable youth.
The pain subsided after a few minutes and I picked up my bike and rode home.
I didn't venture out into the cruel, unforgiving world yesterday. I, instead, trudged my way through an indoor brick work out. I was too scared to leave the confines of my training facility (garage).
After said workout I decided to face my fears and leave the security of my home to take my daughter to the local toy store, to buy her silence in this embarrasing matter.
As we were leaving, I again encountered the spot of our crash. I placed a little wreath on the spot of my crash to mourn the loss of my dignity.
Before I left the scene, I saw the loose gravel there mocking my return. I then went to my vehicle and got a broom from the trunk and swept away the miniscule menace from both the road and my memories.