A day to forget

With IMLOU only a few days away, this past Saturday was to be the last “lengthy” ride before the big race.  A moderate 2.5 hour ride at an easy pace – more to loosen up the legs and keep the bike skills sharp over gaining any type of fitness.  JW and I decided to do the ride together, so we met at 6 a.m. and headed out for a roughly 40 mile ride that we had done numerous times before.  We actually thought we had caught some luck rain hit our area the evening prior and more was scheduled for later that day.  Nonetheless, it was a beautiful morning and we were happy to enjoy each others company.  Until …

Act I.  

I’m guessing half way through the ride and we were finally starting to hit our stride.  One thing most cyclists love to do is go fast – get in that crouch position, kick it into a higher gear and zoom past other cyclists as if they’re standing still.  After trudging through some moderate hills JW found an opportunity to kick it into 5th gear.  He sees another cyclist a few hundred yards ahead of us, looks at me and says “I’m blowing past that guy” and takes off.  Not being one to sit on my hands I take off after him and feel the rush as we both whiz by him like he was going backwards.  What JW and I quickly came to realize was this guy was going slow on purpose.  We were so wrapped up making this guy feel like a turtle that we blatantly missed that the road up ahead was being worked on and quickly turned from pavement to gravel.  In a heartbeat, I flew past JW over the gravel and on to the grass that ran next to the road.  Thankfully, I didn’t blow a tire/tube or more importantly fall.  I quickly looked back to make out the fate of JW and there I found him on the ground with a big ‘ol smile on his face.  He had tried to slow down and make a turn on the gravel only to fall at a slow speed.  Thank God it wasn’t worse.  We actually found it pretty funny in hindsight as he mentioned he had just finished cleaning his bike earlier in the week.  As a perfectionist, I knew he was steaming inside as he’d just have to clean the whole thing again – I couldn’t help but laugh.  To throw fuel on the fire, I made sure to bring up that every time he chooses the route we inevitably hit a road with gravel – every single time.  A little dirty and with our ego’s now firmly in check we shrugged off the incident and continued on our ride.

Act II.

We were almost home when I suggested we tag on this small section of hills that run through this beautiful wooded reservation.  It would take an extra 10 minutes and it would get us right at 2.5 hours for the day.  It’s a section that we had both rode countless times over the past year and a half.  You put in the work to go up and then are rewarded with a nice little downhill at the end for your efforts.  Usually a great way to end a workout.  Saturday was a bit different.

As I mentioned earlier rain had come down the prior evening, so the roads were still a bit wet in certain places – especially in the shaded wooded reservation.  I had made a right turn to head down the last descent and soon enough JW had zipped past me.  With him a good 20-30 yards ahead of me I was confident my speed wasn’t an issue.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  With the roads still a bit damp I wasn’t confident of making any sharp turns, so I gradually drifted to the outside of the road (at approx. 25-30 mph) as I gently, but firmly applied the brakes.  I ended up drifting too wide and ran over a slew of tree branches that had fallen from the storm.  I had time to think “Oh Shit” before heading over the handlebars and onto the pavement.   I slid down the road managing to scrape up both shoulders, my back, my knees, and smacking my head against the pavement for good measure.  The good news out of all of this is my bike landed on me and then flipped up onto the grass shoulder, so it wasn’t damaged too badly.  The shifters were banged up, but the mechanic said at first glance things seemed to be okay.

Apparently feeling a bit left out as if he  didn’t get his fill of excitement for the day from his earlier spill, JW decided to run over a huge pot hole and damage his rear wheel.  He was able to ride home, but upon closer inspection he found a bulge in the wheel causing it to rub slightly on the brake pad.  It sounds like he should be able to take care of it via some overnight shipping to a wheelbuilder in California, but geez what a day.

All things considered the day could have been much worse.  I know way too many people who have been in cycling accidents only to come out far worse than we did.  Yes, I feel sore and have a bunch of bruises and scrapes, but it beats broken bones or any type of head trauma (thank God for my helmet!).  Thankfully, JW was able to control his bike or he could have had a nasty spill as well.  Good Lord to think what our wives would have said if we both came home banged up!!  The plan for the rest of the week will have to be adjusted a bit – I won’t be getting in any more swims as I don’t want the stretching to open up the wounds.  The bike is in the shop until Wednesday, so the only rides I can get in will be late in the week.  I will try to get in a jog or two here in the next few days just to see how sore I really am.

Thanks to all the friends and family who reached out and asked about my well being.  I’m lucky to have a great support crew.

Thanks to JW for being Johnny on the spot with the camera!

Oh, and yes Mom, I’m ok.  Please don’t worry about me  🙂

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4 Responses to “A day to forget”

  1. Oh, Evan!! That looks so painful! I’ll be sooooo glad when IMLOU is done. Tell JW I’ll be giving him what-for when I see him!!
    Mom

  2. John Withrow Says:

    I am glad you are okay! Let me go on record and say the debate about doing that extra hill at the end was the first debate I have ever lost with you… I will not let that happen again!

  3. Good Lord E….and I thought biking was for sissies! Glad you’re ok, kick some ass at IMLou, I’ll be praying for you brotha!!

  4. If anyone asks how you ripped your shirt, you should say you flexed.

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