Spring Road Rash

26 Apr

I finally had what pretty much every cyclist (racer, commuter, cruiser) dreads – a high-speed crash, the kind where your skin helps you skid to a stop.  An interesting experience for sure, but one that I hopefully won’t repeat any time soon.

Due to an open schedule, I was finally able to make it to a D38 Tuesday evening group ride, which departs from Pedal (our team shop sponsor) in Littleton, and heads out to Chatfield Reservoir.  We had just hosted a Meetup.com ride on Saturday along the same route, so I was ready to tackle it again at a faster pace.  We rode out to the turnaround point, about 13-ish miles to Titan Road, took a group picture, and started back.  Not too long after, the team split into two groups, and I found myself in the second group with three others.

After some nice conversation while rolling along, we decided to kick it into a higher gear and try to make up some ground on the front group.  I’m not sure how long we were riding, but we had a great paceline going, and it felt like we had found our rhythm as a group.  As we were about to leave the low part of the park and head back towards the top of the dam, the excitement began.

Note to reader – switching to passive voice here to keep things anonymous.  A rear wheel on one bike crossed a front wheel on another bike, resulting in a Tour de France-worthy moment (minus the exciting save by Lance).   One rider went down, another rider went over the top of the downed rider, somehow landing on his feet without a scratch.  After some discussion of events, the checking of parts, both bodily and bike, the group dissected the event, turning it into a nice teaching moment.  Lessons learned: 1. Don’t cross wheels, ever.  More importantly don’t touch wheels with another rider.  Don’t even try to find out what might happen.  Learn from others captured on Youtube:

2. If you are riding at the front of the paceline, rely on others to communicate what’s going on behind you. And do stuff like drinking, eating, and looking back when you are not on the front.

3. Pull off the front and signal the next man up.

4. If you’re riding in second position, be sure you can safely move up with confirmation from the first rider via verbal cue or elbow flick (to the side you should move up on).

Riders, take these words and cherish them in your hearts!

Back to active voice!  After some deliberation, we decided to send two of the group back to get a car, and I waited with another rider to get picked up; at this point, we had about seven miles left, and I wouldn’t be riding any of them quickly.  After a pleasant ride back to the shop and a quick change of clothes, I met up with the rest of the gang at the Celtic Tavern to share some food and drink, rehashing old injury stories, talking of upcoming races, and wondering how it was suddenly 10 PM on a Tuesday.  One of the most disappointing things was that the crash broke up a great ride.  I know, that may sound dumb since having some skin back would feel nice.  We had such a great rhythm going that I totally felt in a zone, and the moments passed by in slow-motion, not in a boring way though.  Because of that feeling, I’m already excited to get back on the bike and do that again, minus the crash!

Back of the jersey; it just earned its place on my non-existent "wall of fame".

The bike seemed to have fared well enough, though I shouldn’t speak too soon, since it’s now in the shop getting checked over.  My brake/shifter hoods both got tweaked in.  Not sure how that happened, since I only went down one way; best not to ponder these things too long.  The housing on the right shifter looks broken, again odd, since I didn’t go down on that side.  The other side has some scraped carbon, but looks mostly cosmetic.  The bike seemed to still ride fine, and I couldn’t find anything wrong with the frame.  My fingers are still crossed though!

As for me, cleaning and dressing/redressing road rash has felt the worst by far.  Not so much fun.  As a side note, athletic tape sticks to: hairy arms and oozing areas. It does not stick to itself, gauze, or any kind of wrap.  How does the tape even come rolled up?  It sure doesn’t stick to itself once unrolled.  Another mystery – arm hair seems fibrous (no issue on my leg because of shaving; ha!), cotton gauze is definitely fibrous; yet, yet (!) tape only sticks to one of those things, and you will most certainly guess which.  You know what? Hair and tape should be the new velcro! (An aside, I’m pretty sure the remnants of my oatmeal could work quite well as super-glue.  Why is that stuff so hard to get off the bowl?)  If you are curious, I’ll put a few links to the rash, but don’t have to see it if you don’t want to; ADDITIONAL NOTE – for whatever reason, the images are quite large, so you might want to take a good step back from the screen.  Soon after the “event”; my thigh, with some nice bruising, and what looks like some gauze stuck to the skin in the lower right corner; my shoulder, where the jersey tore/melted or whatever happened to it.  Fun!  Really, only my skin hurts, no broken collar bones or the like.  If you have to get these crashes out-of-the-way, I think I’d rather do it training than in a race, where you spend $35 or whatever to wipe out.  I will continue to strive avoiding that scenario!

My left shoulder - dirt, blood, road stuff combined; still unwashed for display purposes.

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