Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hard Lessons Learned

Headed out again today for a gravel ride east of Lincoln. The idea was to ride hard for 2 hours. The wind was really blowing today making any riding in the south or eastern directions pretty difficult. North and west were obviously wind-aided, but there was still a very significant cross wind when riding west.

On my way back toward Lincoln I made a critical error, that coupled with another error made for a difficult and painful ride home. Let me break it down for you. Over the past few weeks I have gotten very comfortable on my new El Mariachi. The stability that the 29 inch wheel format delivers has proven to be very confidence building, allowing me to ride hands free easily to adjust clothing, drink, eat, stretch, etc. As I was riding west on Fletcher Ave., near 148th street, I pulled my hands off the handlebars to stretch out a little bit.

Here I will pause to detail my second error. Riding in the city and on gravel roads this spring had made me forget the importance of wearing gloves while cycling. In the summer I like to wear them because my hands tend to sweat alot and they give me better control of the bicycle. This had not been an issue yet this year, and while I still wore them on all my trail rides, I had taken to just bringing them along in a jersey pocket for my gravel rides.

Back to the narrative; I pulled my hands off the handlebars to stretch, and within 5 seconds or so was hit with a gust of wind across my front tire. I overcompensated by shifting my weight into the wind and immediately hit the road at close to 15 mph. Felt some pain in my arm and stood up to take stock of the situation. First of all, the bike escaped without major damage, although I messed up the grip that dug into the road and seemed to have either tweaked the front wheel or bent my disc rotor. I guess I'll be taking it back to MWC earlier than anticipated. As for me, my palms are both pretty tore up (no embedded gravel, thankfully), I'm missing a pretty big chunk of skin out of my left forearm (quite a bit of blood), and accumulated some other bumps and bruises (strawberries on thigh and ribcage, sore knee).

As my bike was still rideable and I didn't seem to be bleeding to death, I decided to ride the final 7 miles home instead of calling the wife. I think I scared several people walking their dogs on the Dietrich Trail. At home, Laura played nurse and applied hydrogen peroxide, iodine, and any other torturous chemicals we could find to ensure that I wouldn't get an infection. Anyway it looks like I will be taking some involuntary time off the bike, for my sake and so I can get it checked out at the shop.

Notes to self
Do not under any circumstances remove your hands from handlebars when there is a 30 mph cross wind
Wear your safety gear.


Oscar said...

Ouch! Who'd a thunk those winds would be an issue?! Heal up fast.


crewcabrob said...

That sounds painful! Sorry to hear about the wipe out. It makes me think I should get the kids some gloves.

Congrats on the promo!


Harp said...

I've pretty much done the same thing. At least the hard lessons are the ones you don't forget or do twice.

Harp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dean said...

Yikes! That sounds like it hurts a lot. I remember when I was staying at Grandpa's a long time ago and I fell down on pavement and ended up with gravel embedded in my elbow. I still very clearly remember Grandma scrubbing the gravel out of my arm and pouring hydrogen peroxide on it. What you said about torturous chemicals reminded my of that unfortunate incident, anyways I hope it heals fast and I wish you happy riding.