Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Crash

I guess it had to happen at some point, I finally had a crash.  I'm sure I "fell off my bike" many a time growing up and I know I had that "oh shit I'm falling and I can't unclip" fall twice since I started "clipping in" on road bikes.  This was the real deal though.

In gearing up for a 60 mile benefit ride, Victory Junction Camp Challenge, I wanted to get in a solid 40 mile plus day so I headed over to the Brugger's Bagels / Carribou Coffee parking lot with 20 other cyclists for a nice Saturday ride.

Every time time I've gone out with this group, the Thorns and Roses, we all start out together at an easy pace and then after a few miles the A group, Thorns, start pulling away.  On that Saturday however there were different plans as one of the Thorns went off the front only a mile into the ride.  Wanting to see how my conditioning was holding up I jumped into the now 4-man breakaway.  I was actually feeling really strong and even earned a KOM on a segment in Apex.  A few miles later though I realized I wasn't quite up to the Thorn level and needed a little help to keep up on one long hill.  After that we road a fairly quick pace on some small rollers and long flats.  Just before "the event" we came across the cycling portion of a Triathalon going in the opposite direction.  It was fun watching them try to be serious and focused as we waived and called out "good morning". :-)  Then we turned past their starting point and the Apex police directing traffic and headed toward the Nuclear power plant.

Less than a mile after the turn I remember hearing a loud "CRACK" and a brief thought of "shit my frame broke", then nothing until one of the guys was kneeling over me telling me not to move.  Pretty much everything hurt, but after a couple of minutes I was able to stand and we started picking up the parts of my bike that went flying. (seat, safety light, water bottle)  On inspection we deduced that at some point one of the two bolts holding the saddle to the seatpost came loose and fell out.  The remaining bolt wasn't enough to do the job and the "crack" that I heard was it snapping.  I must have had a lot of weight on the back of the seat because the only thing that makes sense is that when my body shifted from the lack of a seat being there I fell to the back and the right.  

The damage?  A sprained wrist, road rash on my right hip, elbow and shoulder, deep scuffing on my right shoe, ripped jersey and a cracked helmet on the right side where I hit the pavement.  The road definitely won that battle, but I did manage to leave a long blue streak from my helmet. :-)

It's now 13 days later and the road rash is healing quite well.  It looks like my wrist will slow me down the most.  As for the equipment, between Performance Bike and Loews Home Improvement I was able to get my seat-post reattached to my saddle.  I've replaced my Bell helmet with the same style I had but with the carbon fiber look.  After work today I'm heading to CyclingSpokenHere to make sure my frame is OK and if that checks out then I'll be going for a test ride this weekend!  

Of course now I'm 2 weeks off schedule from prepping for the VJC ride so once I'm all healled I'll have to put in some serious miles get in proper form.

Lessons learned:

  1. Check the bolts that hold the saddle to the seat post.  I had NEVER looked at them other than to make the original adjust.  It'll be part of my pre-ride check list now.  
  2. Wear a helmet every time you get on the bike.  This happened on a long group ride, but bike failure can occur anywhere.  I often ride without my helmet when I'm just going from 1 building to another on campus, but if the bolt broke on campus my head would have hit the ground just as hard.