Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And the bike bites back.

Ah yes, it's that time of year where we're trying to get the last hurrah out of a quickly waning summer season. The rain and cold has hit in the northeast, and things have gotten pretty sketchy pretty quickly.

Trails are soggy from heavy fall rains, and are covered with wet leaves and deadfall, so in the interest of not ruining the hard work of many, we stick to the road on days following heavy rains. Of course, there is nothing saying that deadfall and leaves aren't on the sides of the roads either.

That being said, in the 5 years that I've spent seriously riding, both road and trail, I've had my share of crashes, mostly on my mountain bikes. Of course, there was some bruises and scrapes involved, but nothing too terribly bad. Of course, all that had to change on Sunday afternoon.

Riding in paceline, no more than 4 miles from home on a beautiful 60 degree, sunny day, a large sticks (heretofore known as the "little bastard") managed to wedge itself into my front wheel behind the brake caliper. This means that my forward momentum of approximately 20mph carried me right over the bars and to the left, into the lane. Fortunately, no cars were right behind me at the time, and I escaped being flattened by a moving vehicle. My face and body didn't escape the pavement though. My chin cracked down onto the tarmac hard, leaving a deep gash, before I slid and tumbled across the pavement.

After taking a second to determine if I was going to die (I was not) I came to the following conclusions:
1: I was pouring blood from my shredded chin
2: My teeth were all still intact
3: I was laying in the middle of the lane, 2 feet from the yellow centerline, as was my bike and bottles.

My course of action (the two in front of me were scrambling to get back to me at the time) was to scrabble over to my bike on my hands and knees, and half carry half toss all my gear to the side of the road before staggering to the shoulder.

I realized that the bike appeared OK, and even though I was dripping blood at an alarming rate, I appeared to be mostly ok. So, off to the ER I went where they glued my chin back together after fishing out some of the grit.

So here we are, two days post accident. My body is aching and sore in places that I didn't even realize I had. My chin is disgusting to look at, worse to touch and even more painful than I could imagine that it would be. In fact, at times the pain is almost nauseating.

All because that little bastard decided to make itself known and put a quick end to my season. At this point, by the time I heal enough to begin riding again, the snow will be falling and the holidays will be here, which means no riding.

Ahh holidays. What more of a bummer does the year include other than "the holidays?" Those are almost as low on my list as the "little bastard."

On the plus side, time on the sofa means plenty of cycling DVD watching. Hello 2009 Giro and 2008 Tour DVDs.

Monday, October 5, 2009

And a month later...

Here I am again.

Forget updating ever couple of days, I can't even remember to check my bank balance that often. No, I'm kidding. Actually, the real difficulty in updating very often lies in the fact that life (which includes cycling, imagine that!?) has been interfering with...well, life.

Here in the northeast we've become mired in that awful beast known as "fall" in which the sun drops below the horizon early in the evening and leaves us stuck on stationary trainers or bundling up and donning lights to stick out a few miles in the chill of the evening air. It's an ever-present dilemma that anyone in a New England state will have to come to grips with early in their cycling experience. Gone are the long lazy evenings of tooling along trails and less traveled back roads. Those carefree summer days are replaced by worries of darkness, fallen leaves hiding slippery roots or potholes in the road, and the creeping chill of the coming winter.

Not to fret: the weekends are prime time to spend with the rubber side down. Knobby or skinny, mud or tarmac, spinning or mashing, climbing or descending, it is all good. It's just the exhilaration of the ride that makes the week's troubles melt away. It is worth all the time spent in the office, in meetings or on the phone. And it's one of the only escapes from reality that allows us to focus on the next obstacle in front of us without any thought of the consequences lying down the trail.

Wouldn't it be nice if life was just as easy?