Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bike Crashes

I took a little spill this morning on my bike... Ugh. It's nothing too serious, but I'm in enough pain that I skipped my ride and think there's a chance I won't be able to train at all for a few days.

I rode my bike to the pool, had a great swim, then got back on my bike to do a longer ride. Just as I was riding out of the pool parking lot I turned too sharply (and too fast) around the corner and my wheel just slipped right out from under me. I landed squarely on my right hip and slid across the pavement. A quick assessment and I knew I would be fine, but I'm surprised how much it hurts already! I just rode straight home instead of doing the ride I was planning... cleaned the cuts on my elbow and hip and am now icing in an attempt to reduce the swelling and bruising that is surely to come. I think I'm gonna have a bruise about 4" wide on my hip when I wake up tomorrow morning.

It got me thinking about bike crashes... and how many I've had. Not that many I think, given the miles I've ridden. 15 years of riding... last year I rode 5,000+ miles but I haven't average that for the whole 15 years... but let's say 3,000 miles a year as a (very) conservative estimate and that's 45,000+ miles of riding. And this is really only my 5th crash. Well, 5th if you don't count the inevitable I just learned how to ride my bike with clipless pedals and forgot that my feet were attached to my pedals when I came to that stop sign and I fell right over crash. If you count that one, today would make #6. But I don't count that one. That's like a right of passage or something.

Anyway, the first one happened in AZ. I was riding in a paceline with a group of friends and we were pushing rather hard. I was third in the line and the guy pulling sat up and backed off the pace without giving us warning... I accelerated right into the wheel in front of me and went straight down. The guy riding behind me actually rode straight OVER me so that was a nice little bonus to that crash. I still have some of the road stuck in my elbow from that crash. It wasn't too bad though. I got up and finished the ride, and then felt much worse (read: sore) the following day. (And btw, later that same year I was riding with the same group and we had a similar crash... only this time I didn't go down.. instead I rode right over Bill, who was the guy who rode over me in the first crash. We laughed about how I'd been planning my revenge. Lol. Payback.)

The next one was kind of a dumb one. I was out riding alone (here in Hawaii) and came to a huge puddle in the road. (Obviously it had been raining pretty hard). The puddle was big and I knew there were potholes in the road and I didn't want to crash so I slowed WAY down to ride through this deep puddle. The funny thing was, I crashed bc I slowed down TOO MUCH. My front wheel went right into a pothole that I couldn't see and it stopped me right in my tracks because I was going so slowly and I fell right over. No bodily damage, though my ego was bruised a bit as I lay there in the middle of that mud puddle.

The next one involved a car, though I don't know if you could call it a crash because I didn't actually go down. I was riding alone again here in Hawaii and was minding my own business, in the shoulder of the road, when a car came from behind me and just ran me right off the road! I was on my TT bike and in my aero bars and felt his side view mirror on my left triceps... he actually drove into the grass and pushed me off the road in the process. I was completely freaked out. I swear I thought he was trying to kill me... so when he stopped and got out of his car to come back and ask if I was ok, my brain went into protection mode and I told him to stay the hell away from me! I actually asked him, "Are you trying to kill me????" while basically screaming at him... In the end I was fine. I ended up with a flat tire and a cut on the back of my arm from his mirror, but that was it.

Then came the most serious one. I was riding alone (seems like I'm almost always alone when I crash? Hmmm.) in Ohio... I had just done the Greater Cleveland Triathlon (1/2 IM) and I won the whole thing overall so I was on this little high... 2 days later I was out riding a 50ish mile loop (I was training for Kona- 9 weeks out I think) and the whole time was thinking that these roads weren't super safe to ride on... no shoulders at all and not a ton of traffic, which meant the cars were going pretty fast when they did go by... anyway, I made it through the most dangerous roads no problem and then got back pretty close to my mom's house and decided to take the longer route through the neighborhoods instead of the most direct route which would keep me on a busy main road. I specifically thought to myself, "I'll take these roads because they'll be safer..." Well wouldn't you know it? On this nice sleepy neighborhood road, some car drove up from behind me and totally sideswiped me... I don't remember much of the actual accident but I did look up and see that the car just drove off. Ugh. Some people in their yards saw the accident and called 911... I ended up in an ambulance going to the hospital... again don't remember much of this. Ended up with a broken hand and a concussion and a very sorely bruised body for quite some time. I was stressed about all this because I had Kona coming up and didn't want to miss the training time... but I was back on my bike in about 2 weeks. I had a hard time shifting with my left hand for a while because of that broken hand, but I managed somehow and eventually got all healed up.

Anyway, except for that last one, all my accidents have been pretty minor, which I guess makes me pretty lucky. It does make you stop and think about this sport we're involved in, but I have to say, even after falling again today, I think the risk is worth the reward because (most of the time) I just really enjoy riding my bike. Here's to a safe rest of the year on two wheels... of course, I've only got a few rides left in 2010... so I'm gonna try to keep the rubber on the road for those and then it's all good.

13 comments:

Angela and David said...

Glad you are okay. And ummm, I can't believe you've only been unable to unclip one time. I have fallen over because I can't unclip countless times. I'm a rookie.

Lizzie said...

Urgh - sorry to hear that! But you have such a great attitude (and apparently great first aid skills :)) so looking forward to more great rides soon!

Running and living said...

If you think about it, 5 in 15 yeas is not much. I need to get a fall in bc I am terrified of falling and consequently I am holding on to tight on the handlebars, always ready to unclip. I think once I fall once, I'll get more comfortable (assuming no real damage, of course!)

Beth said...

Glad you are okay! Hope you aren't too sore tomorrow...and that you can get back to your usual self soon. Cycling can be scary! I've only crashed once but it was a bad one so hopefully I'm good for a while. ;)

Joel said...

Crashes suck. Period. Glad you're OK.

My worst crash experience is when a guy in front of me dropped a chain & stopped suddenly @ 30mph. Me: broken collar bone & hand. Him: broken jaw & teeth. I think I got the better end of it, even though I had surgery on both fractures.

Katie A. said...

Wow! Glad you're okay! And, running is dangerous, too! I've fallen, been egged, been hit by a car, been stalked - when we're out on the road we are susceptible to so many things!

DC Running Mama said...

Yipes! My uncle who is a major biker has been hit twice and both times he has ended up in the hospital. I'm a little freaked out about riding b/c of it! Hope you heal quickly.

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

Wow..I'm so glad you are alright! You have definitely had your share of crashes. I hope you feel better soon!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I hate that Ohio doesnt have shoulders or bike lanes for us.

GoBigGreen said...

ugh sorry. I am so lucky i havent had any bad ones, and usually the bad ones are not your fault. I tend to fall over after stopping for a caribou and somehow rolling along out of the stop i get distracted and fall over:) hahaha one time i fell when my mom was across the street and i called to her, and then tipped over. She was like :" um, nice, glad you are almost home!"

Hope that hematoma is coming down and you are better each day. Ouch!

Angela said...

glad you seem to be ok....here's to staying safe!

Regina said...

Glad you are ok. didn't realize you had taken sucha bad spill, relatively speaking.

cars scare the shit out of me. half the people driving don't pay attention to what the hell they are doing. Case in point, your drive down a neighborhood street with no other traffic around. What the hell? The person driving was clearly off in la la land.

Sometimes I think about when will my number be up? Cuz it's gonna happen. That is a bit unsettling.

N.D. said...

yikes - I hope you recover soon :(