This morning I had a 2.25 hour bike ride on the schedule. I got through the ride, I was faster than last week over a longer time, I’m getting better at gears, I was pretty happy. I do these rides as a modified out and back (there is a Y in the trail and I take one side out and back to the Y, then the other side out and back to where I started.) There is often a tail wind on the final stretch, and so I typically go out farther than I need to, to make sure that I don’t end up back at my car too early and lose time flipping a u-turn and heading back out, so I was about 3 miles from my car when my time was up. I saved the workout and headed in.
This trail has a bunch of steep (but short) downhills followed immediately by steep (but short) uphills. I had completed a really steep downhill and was on the uphill, which happened to be way less steep so I was going pretty fast. I got ready to pedal and my right calf cramped, hard. I should have just let the bike roll until I ran out of momentum but instead I panicked, I tried to put my foot down to stretch it and lost my balance, my foot and calf were cramping so hard that I couldn’t put them down on the ground. I managed to talk myself out of slamming on the brakes (because I figured flying over the front of the bike wouldn’t really help the situation,) so I was trying to brake gently but essentially I just went down hard on my right side. This was not the gentle slow motion keel-over from the early days.
In a moment that I think makes clear that I’ve lost all perspective, my thought when I was going down was “Thank god this isn’t messing up my time.”
The side of my leg and arm hurt, but the immediate issue was that my calf was still completely seized up, and was now under the bike, so the priority was to extricate myself from the bike and get that stretched out. Once that was taken care of, I surveyed the damage.
My right leg and arm were scraped and bleeding, but what shocked me was how bruised they were, and how quickly. And I was still almost 3 miles from the car. I snapped a picture (anything for the blog!) and hauled myself up.
At that moment a group of guys rode by, the first one “helpfully” pointed out that if I wanted to rest there was more room on the other side of the bike path. I rolled my eyes thinking “Thanks, I’ll definitely keep that in mind.” Another of the guys said “Idiot, can’t you see that she just crashed?” and stopped to see if I was ok, which was very kind. I assured him I was fine and he was on his way.
I then did move to the other (far more spacious) side of the path to check out the bike and collect my thoughts. Happily Phyxius is fine (which is good since I’m cheaper and easier to fix than the bike!) I drank some water and sports drink (too late, I’m aware) and it took me a little bit of self-talk to get back on the bike. When I got to the end of the path I was scared that my calf would cramp up when I tried to step off the bike but I stopped with no problem and headed back to my car.
I posted about this on Facebook and someone mentioned that the shower after hurts more than the initial road rash, and they were not wrong about that. Also, picking gravel out of an open wound will not make my Top Ten IRONMAN Memories list. But I soap and watered, debrided, peroxided, neosporined, and bandaged. Julianne got me Tegaderm that will apparently protect it when I run and swim tomorrow.
They always say it’s not if you’ll crash on the bike, but when you’ll go down on the bike. Today. The answer to that question is Today. And if the bike gods are listening, I’ve had this experience, I think I’m cool with not having it again!
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