Guest Article: I’ve Fallen for You

photo: paramount pictures

What does this have to do with the Worlds? Nothing, but it makes me laugh and includes a wicked photograph so this is the guest article today. @roadslave joined the 2012 Keepers Tour for the full week of riding and ranting and he was excellent at both. He rode at the front with a Chris Horner smile and now he admits to only riding for four years. Fair enough, with only four years in, there is still time for a few firsts. Here is one.

VLVV, Gianni.

It should be no surprise that, having grown up in the 80s, one of my favourite movies of all time is Top Gun. There aren’t many situations in life that can’t be fitted to one of the many great quotes from the film, and there are certainly many that can be adapted to cycling (“It’s too steep, I’m switching to guns”, etc). Anyhow, you remember that bit when Shorty gets told off in class for flying too aggressively, (“gutsiest move I ever saw, man”) and gets on his huge, err, throbbing motorbike to be chased through San Diego by Kelly McGillis?

“My review of your performance was right on, in my professional opinion”

“Jesus, and you call me reckless. When I fly, my crew and my plane come first”

 “I’m gonna finish my sentence. My review of your performance was right on. I see some real genius in your flying. But I can’t say that in there. I was afraid they’d see right through me. I don’t want anyone to know that I’ve fallen for you.”

Now, I’ve been cycling for a little over four years. I’ve covered tens of thousands of kilometres on six bikes in seven countries on two continents. I’ve bored most people I know with how much I love cycling. I’ve begun to follow the pro cyclists, and have even ridden some of their rides. And I’ve spent too long on sites like this talking about cycling when I could have been using the Internet for useful stuff, like, err, porn. But, up until last month, I’d never fallen for it. I have now, and boy, it hurt.

It was a stoopid fall. A through-and-off at the end of a fabulous long ride, out with a buddy on a cold, crisp winter’s morning in the hills southwest of London. On the drag back into town, a miscommunication – I thought he was going for it, but he was actually sitting up. Our wheels overlapped. He steered the way he thought would get me out of it, but no. A 50/50 chance, and the house won. BOOM! Tarmac, Roadslave, Roadslave, tarmac. Introductions at over 45 kmh are always going to be a little bit rushed, but even so. Helmet was cracked in two, shredded sacred garments out at the elbows (sorry, Frank), leg warmers and gloves in tatters, road rash on face, elbows and knees, and the most sodding awful bruise on my hip.

Amazingly, other than it looking like someone had taken an angle-grinder to my Ergo-levers and saddle, Bike No. 1 was ok. As, by and large was I. Nothing was broken, no concussion, no lasting damage (I hope). Which was amazing, given the physics of the deceleration, the road, my weight, and ending up on my face in the oncoming traffic lane.

Adrenalin is a wonderful thing. I was on my feet in no time, picked up and checked the bike, rode the last 20 km home, and hosted 20 five-year olds, plus parents, for my son’s fifth birthday. It was only later that things went a bit doolalley. The shock came that afternoon. Uncontrollable shaking, feeling faint, wanting to throw up. Mind you, that could have been the impact of the 20 five-year olds. The stiffness came the next morning (written with a straight face… probably the most painful bit of the whole episode was getting out of bed that day.) The whiplash came on Day Three. I still can’t fully look over my right shoulder and there is still bruising weeks after the event. I won’t go into details, but if you’ve ever watched CSI, you’ll know about blood pooling and gravitational effects. Suffice it to say, I’ve had some swelling and discolouration in some strange and unexpected places.

I was off the bike for six days. Irritable, bored, grumpy. I had been planning on doing a big block of training just prior to Christmas. Why?

a) It’s what the pros do.

b) It just sounds cool. “I’m doing a big block now to lay the foundations for the cobbles in April”

c) I was changing jobs, so had the time on my hands but the training was out the window. I moped about the house, lost and forlorn.

When I did get back on, yes there was residual soreness and stiffness, but it made my heart soar to be back in the saddle. I honestly believe that was when the healing process really started. Admittedly, I rode like Nick Clegg/Barack Obama (apply to whichever country is appropriate, insert your own weak politician, etc). I had no power, no stamina, no confidence. As my US cycling sensei told me, my body had basically gone into blue screen mode. But it still felt so good to be back riding again. I (or rather my backside) became a bit of a local celebrity, and we did the round of Christmas parties, gallery openings, and for a few seconds, trended on Twitter.

The Stig, our tame racing cyclist, was pretty matter of fact:

“Bummer.  Biggest cause of accidents. Period. You hear the ‘Zippp’, you prepare for the worst. Last time I crashed, it was in the finishing sprint of a big crit and wheels overlapped. Tore so much skin off my thigh that I was in hospital for weeks getting a square foot of skin graft. I was lucky. The other guy lost his thumb, and the third guy fractured his skull and was in a coma for two weeks – he was the only guy not writhing around on the ground screaming like a little girl.”

It was the response of my non-cycling friends and family that surprised me the most: zero sympathy, lots of anger (“how could you have been so stupid? To pick today, of all days, when you knew we had the kids party?”) and much encouragement to take up golf (thanks, Dad). When she saw the bruise, and the red mist had cleared, the wife forced me to go to the ER. The doctor’s response was priceless; “So, you fell off your bike, and you have a bruise and your wife has made you come to have it checked out?  Well, it looks fine to me.” He was looking at the small road rash above my left eyebrow. “That’s not the bruise I want checked out… this is.” “JEEESUS!” At which point he ran off, leaving me with my pants down, to get the other doctors into the cubicle. What, you want a second opinion? “No, I just want them to see this.”

The most thoughtful response was from my US cycling sensei via email. I think it’s worth sharing in its entirety:

“The overlapped wheel. No one gets away for long without going down because of that. Ask the pros. It amazes me how often big groups go down in the peloton because of it. For all the riding you’ve done – and challenging riding at that – you can feel good that it hasn’t happened before. As you now know, the worst part of those falls is that you literally get catapulted into the pavement; there’s no sliding or deceleration of one’s body. Of the several times I’ve gone down, about 1/3 are because of overlap. I broke my hand once. Glad to hear the bike is ok – but a shame about the cosmetic damage. I can understand why the wife is upset, as I know you do too. Funny – if you’d gotten injured in a car crash, it would be nothing but sympathy from her. But because you (we), as grown men, choose to dress up in tights like superheroes to pedal half the day on the open road on what most adults see as a child’s toy… well, I think most see it as borderline selfish, risk-taking behaviour… how do you explain to the kids that their dad got seriously injured doing something that was totally voluntary. Hence, IMO, the disproportionate reactions to cyclists on the road (how dare they enjoy themselves while I have things to do!). That’s just my take on it… I know plenty of guys that pretty much stopped cycling after they had kids – not just because of time constraints, but also because of knowing how bad cycling crash injuries can be and how it might impact their families. Personally, I think that was an extreme position for them to take, but then, I don’t have kids.”

Now, I know it’s supposed to be taboo to talk about this stuff – and, indeed, it is in breach of the new Rule #81. (This did happen before its introduction.) But I really don’t know if I’m lucky – after all, it could have been a helluva lot worse. Or am I plain idiotic (see Rob’s excellent article on overlapping wheels), unlucky (proper cyclists rarely fall), or normal (this is just something that happens from time to time, so get used to it)?

Forget the responses of non-cyclists – we tolerate them at the best of times. All of my cycling buddies gave me comradely and knowing looks, as if I’d passed some rite of passage, and was now a proper cyclist. Have I? Am I? Just the other day, @Houdini was describing another rider to me: “He rides like someone who hasn’t fallen off yet.” Before this fall, I would have had no idea what he was on about, but now I get it totally.

As with most things cycling, when in doubt, I look to the pros. And my conviction is that falling is a rite of passage. It’s what proper cyclists do. Getting back on defines the true cyclist. Hoogerland is defined by his fall, Cavendish either wins or crashes and burns. There is no middle ground. Part of our love for JENS! is because we saw him bounce his face down a mountain in 2007, or in 2011 when he went down twice, swore at the camera crew, got back on and up to the front, and rode tempo for the next hour in service of his (undeserving) team leaders.

Then there is the dark side. We know these falls can lead to the bad places where we do not want to go. These occasional tragedies unite cycling like no other event. IMHO there is nothing more noble, more heartbreaking, or that stirs greater pride, than a neutralised, mournful peloton. Self-shackled race horses. Chapeau Millar, the dignified master of ceremonies for the last horror, grew as a cyclist and as a human that day.

So, while a first fall is a rite of passage, it is also a warning of where not to go and what not do to. For each fall we get up from, we have the adrenaline-primed happiness of knowing it could have been much, much worse.

I am a cyclist, today is a good day, today I rode on.

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/[email protected]/Nigel/”/]

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128 Replies to “Guest Article: I’ve Fallen for You”

  1. great article.

    I spent my teenage years crashing bmx’s, mountain bikes and skateboards, my shins and knees look like i’ve been in a shark attack.

    As yet, i’ve avoided anything more than a light scrape on the road. i know it’ll come at some point….i really should wear gloves more often.

  2. @Cyclops

    I have an acquaintance that is on a conti-pro team that had his front wheel come of on a 80kph descent early this season.  He’s done.  He rides a little but he’s having a hard time reconciling the danger with the benefit.

    That’s my one phobia — losing a front wheel on a fast descent. And it started this season after a crash (March). This really hit me after the doctor’s release (broken clavicle) out during the 2nd rehab ride, while going down a long, fast section. The descent lasted long enough to get it in my head, so I stopped almost near the bottom and checked both skewers. I wanted to get beyond it and resumed all the downhill speed and more so. I have the *phobia*, but rationalize it as craziness… I know that I constantly check the skewers

  3. Really nicely written piece. Welcome to the club – and fromthe sounds of it you entered with style by going down on the high side – the hardman’s way to crash. One correction – its a block of training. You ride a bloc – when you are channeling Vino. There is also the Australian “choc a block” – as in ” I walked into his caravan only to find Tom Cruise choc a block up one of the young camera boys”.

  4. @unversio

    @Cyclops

    I have an acquaintance that is on a conti-pro team that had his front wheel come of on a 80kph descent early this season.  He’s done.  He rides a little but he’s having a hard time reconciling the danger with the benefit.

    That’s my one phobia “” losing a front wheel on a fast descent. And it started this season after a crash (March). This really hit me after the doctor’s release (broken clavicle) out during the 2nd rehab ride, while going down a long, fast section. The descent lasted long enough to get it in my head, so I stopped almost near the bottom and checked both skewers. I wanted to get beyond it and resumed all the downhill speed and more so. I have the *phobia*, but rationalize it as craziness… I know that I constantly check the skewers

    Yeah I found my rear QR loose while on vacation with my bike earlier this month (in and out of the car with it, taking wheels on and off) and I guess I had not checked it well enough.

    Finding the lever that has almost worked itself into the open position after you’ve ridden up and down 1k of elevation gives you a bit of pause thinking “what if”.

  5. @doubleR So sorry to hear about the nasty damage you’ve sustained. All I can say is to go slow but please don’t give up. The bones will heal and the confidence will return if you just give them time. Don’t make any decisions while you’re still feeling wounded and vulnerable. Kia kaha, Oli

     

    Great article, Roadslave. Maverick out.

  6. @ErikdR

    It’s adrenaline I reckon – after a fall you’ve obviously put yourself in danger and your body’s natural reaction is to juice yourself up to get out of danger and get somewhere safe. It sucks when it wears off, your body cools down and things start throbbing. 

    By the fucking way, crash talk must be about as bad as puncture talk for the superstitious. After I saw Scaler 911’s purple arse on here, I innocently thought, huh I haven’t crashed for a while. Few days later, hit a pothole doing I think 40-ish on a decent, had the bars jerked out of my hands when the front wheel hit, then bucked off the saddle when the back wheel hit the pothole. No fucken chance of holding that one together, although I did manage to get hold of the bars again on the way down somehow, since I hit the ground holding them and turned a 42cm set of bars into a 38cm set of bars at the drops. 

    Moral of the story is, I wasn’t wearing gloves; I took half the skin off my right palm, and the skin off the tips of my index and middle finger, and a decent chunk of flesh out of my left elbow. The following week at work sucked hard (can’t type with 2 fingers on your right hand, can’t lean on your left elbow, can’t sit back in the chair because of bruised hip) 

    Moral of the story #2, do it in front of an audience. I was riding round the burbs here, and hadn’t seen anyone at all for 40 minutes; the street I do it in front of a parked car getting ready to pull out, 2 guys with concrete mixers, and a car full of a women getting ready to go somewhere. Very embarrassing to ride around hilly Wellington for years and never cook a decent, then come here and stack it on what could generously be described as a ‘rise’. 

    Good Mercxk I think I’ve crashed more than some of you have had hot dinners. Admittedly most of the bangers were while I was a cycle courier (stupid riding + 8 hours a day + taxis) but they’re par for the course. I’ve got the cyclist’s collarbone and rarely feel anything in my elbows when I crash these days. 

    Oh and get good scars – after one run in with a taxi, I headbutted the curb and split open the skin to the left of my left eye socket. Bit of tarmac got in there, and now I have a small permanent dark road coloured scar there, a wee bit like a single teardrop tattoo that Marcus got either in Prison or Freddy Mercury’s house (Marcus’ reasons for being at both places is the same). 

  7. @roadslave525Sometimes when things are going well you don’t think about the negative aspects of life and sport. Going 4 plus years with out a crash is a pretty good stretch. I’ve fallen 3 times just this year including getting hit by a truck, which was by far the worst crash and I was back on the bike within the week. It’s been almost 5 weeks and I’m only now feeling mostly better and regaining some fitness.

    @Cyclops  is right on, things can go to shit so suddenly it’s scary. There have been several instances recently of cyclists being killed on the road here in central Texas and it really gives you something to think about. Is your bicycle properly maintained, is the route your taking safe? Are you going alone, with a group/team?

    Really the only thing to do is get back on the bike and ride.

     

  8. enjoyed this post, as i recently had my first real unscheduled horizontality (and had my fastest time yet up the local mountain in the post-eat-it-adrenaline rush). mostly though, i enjoyed the “reactions of the uninitiated” section, as no one with hair on their legs seems to be able to get past “you fell off your bike?” illustrates the point well enough to say that the local shop owner (who puts together the ride on which said adventure occurred) used my tattered bloody shoulder as his facebook cover photo for several days after. he got it.

    oh and quick — first spoken lines in top gun. don’t cheat. winner gets… well, nothing other than the embarrassment of knowing that wee bit of 80s movie trivia.

  9. I got back on the bike a year ago, after an accident in 2009 that resulted in a C1 fracture and some knee damage. After another close call with an elderly driver who cut me off at a roundabout (she said she didn’t see me, but I swear we made eye contact), I decided that on all solo rides I’d mount a 900 lumen flasher. I noticed a big change in driver behaviour, but I still try to ride like I’m invisible. It hit home again last week when my brother (a CSS practitioner) had a Ford F-150 make a left turn into him. He took the headlight in his left knee, and it severed his patellar tendon. Almost lost his leg. Straight leg splint for three months, and rehab for Christmas.

    And as for that abomination of a movie (as a self-respecting Naval Aviator I vomit into my mouth a bit every time I hear a Top Gun quote), I have to agree with Quentin’s take on it:

  10. I just fear when i finally have my big spill that i’ll come back much like ricky bobby “flying along” at 5kph post crash comeback. 

  11. Yeah, the tarmac is a hard master.

    No one else has mentioned it, so I’ll bring up the ‘be fucking sure your gear is functioning PERFECTLY’ advice if you plan on riding hard and parking at home sans weeping wounds and worrying bulges. My drivetrain developed an occasional click after a high side chain unshipment wrapped up the rear derailleur and crank arm in amusing yet confounding ways. ‘How the fuck….’. The chain was less than recent, and I’d put on a used cassette to boot. After this incident, and only in the 53 x 19, a small ‘click’ would assail my ears. Irritating, but it had no effect aside from esthetic.

    So, I’m riding after work with C, trading pulls and generally getting worked up into a powerhouse frenzy, and jump to the front to sprint up an overpass on a completely deserted side road. Shift into the 53 x 19, grab the hoods and stand up, cranking hard but with perfectly smooth form, trying to maintain at least 30 over the top when I hear ‘CLICK’ and the fully loaded drive side crank suddenly skips 90 degrees. Here comes the curb and railing…swerve back left with a massive correction fighting to regain control, and try to pedal through to get the left crankarm down so I can swerve right to save this and now, it fucking jams. Ribs meet the road at just under 30 km/h, and the bike rebounds up off the road and slaps my right inner shin so hard the whiplash snaps my head off the pavement. Shortest skid ever. 6 feet, tops. If you want to absorb a maximum of velocity in a minimum of distance, I recommend crashing uphill.

    Assessment time. I can stand. This is good. Left side ribs feel very strange, like something bulgy was just placed beneath them. Push on them. Nothing horrible happens. Good.  Blood runs down my right leg where unknown bike parts gouged into my knee. Following the blood trail, the frame meets shin point is revealed by a crazy bulge. Leg supports weight, can’t be broken. Left hip check, yep, rash inside shorts. Left arm, standard edition road rash. Right shifter pushed in a bit, chain needs putting back in place, and multiple checks reveal nothing to explain what happened. Clearly, sprinting in the 53×19 is ‘out’ for the duration. Crush it on the way home, set a personal best along the way, and 6 weeks later my ribs still aren’t normal.

    Check your gear. The V is all good and well, but best observed via intentional suffering.

  12. @scaler911

    Great article @Roadslave. A month or so ago, I was talking to my teammate, telling him that I was surprised that my ticket hadn’t been punched in the 3 years since I had come back to racing.

    Thought I’m not generally superstitious, I should have never said anything. That very night, at our Tuesday night worlds local race, I went into the tarmac at 54Kph. Couldn’t be avoided. My teammate that I ran into, ended up in the ER with a broken collar bone and scapula.

     

    Exactly… this thread is like sending a gilt-edged invitation to A Fate c/- Doom House, Superstition Road, Curseville.

    I’m doing a mountain ride next Friday with a descent where I would normally be hitting around 80km/h and I’m going to be thinking of all these f*cking photos and horror stories.

    It’s still not enough to make me wear a helmet though.

  13. @brett

    @ten B

    +1 x 2…

    What is the Tarantino scene from?

    It’s from Google. Seriously though, apparently It’s from a movie called “Sleep with Me”, which I haven’t seen.

    Oh, and for the masochists out there (and perhaps the sadists too – you perverted w****er c***s) a photo of my bro’s knee injury (I decided to link it instead of posting for the squeamish little girls out there):

    Ouchie

  14. @ten B OK, that’s not an “ouchie;” that is an outtake from a horror movie! Did he get back on a bike (or even walk) with that leg again?

  15. @ralph

    @ten B OK, that’s not an “ouchie;” that is an outtake from a horror movie! Did he get back on a bike (or even walk) with that leg again?

    It was 10 days ago, so he’s still laid up. He did IM Mont Tremblant a few weeks ago, so he’s not lacking in the V department. He’s hoping to make a full recovery, and get onto the new P3 he bought a week before the accident (luckily he was on his old bike).

  16. @minion

    @ErikdR

    It’s adrenaline I reckon – after a fall you’ve obviously put yourself in danger and your body’s natural reaction is to juice yourself up to get out of danger and get somewhere safe. It sucks when it wears off, your body cools down and things start throbbing. 

     

    Minion, that’s spot on as far as I can tell – Adrenalin would trigger a sort of “fight or flight” reaction, yes? And as there’s usually nothing left to fight after trying to punch the tarmac out, you’d feel compelled to get the hell away from the scene. Very good point.

    Over almost forty years, on and off, I must have cycled more than 100,000 km, and I’ve had 5 crashes in all – three major ones that required a recovery period, and two minor ones that I just rode away from more or less undamaged.

    I remember The 3 major ones vividly: the first was, partly, caused by monumental stupidity on my part, the second was just a matter of being weirdly unfortunate and the third was boringly predictable. They all sucked, big time… but none required hospitalisation or anything. And you know what? I actually consider myself pretty lucky with regard to my crashing statistics. I’ll most likely find out what number 4 has in store for me, at some point – although I must admit that I ride a lot more cautiously nowadays then when I was young(er)

    I’m still chuckling a bit at @roadslaves’ British take on the matter, though: “terribly sorry to have fallen”. A good sense of humour in the face of mishap – that’s the ticket…

    Something else that I find impressive, is the fact that even a hip/ass that looks the way @roadslaves’ does at the moment, and yes, even a knee that looks as horribly demolished as the one on @Ten B’s brother, can actually heal – and be healed – with time (and in the case of  @Ten B’s brother, with help, of course…)

    I’m absolutely awestruck by these self-repairing mechanisms, or whatever, that are at work in the human body, which can transform a road rash that looks like uncooked hamburger into a patch of slightly-paler-than-usual skin in a matter of months. The old lady who, as Tim Krabbé puts it, so richly rewards those few who still can be bothered to woo her – i.e Mother Nature – is a class act in my opinion. 

     

     

     

  17. @doubleR

    * Fractured right clavicle
    * Bruised ribs
    * Pneumothorax (partially collapsed right lung)
    * Road rash all over my right side
    * Crushing headache for two days (CT scan was negative).

    So, here I sit on the sofa, loopy on Norco with a machine circulating cold water around my shoulder. My wife is already telling me that cycling is too dangerous, and that I should give it up.

    As much as I love cycling, the pain I’ve been through in the last six days has given me pause. For the rest of you-were you temped at all to hang up your cleats? When you did get back on the road, were you apprehensive of every car, every piece of debris in the road? How long did it take for your confidence to return?

    Ouch, ouch… and ouch. That must have been a really bad one you’ve had there. Yikes.

    As for being tempted to give up cycling altogether: yes, I’ve certainly had that thought cross my mind from time to time during recovery from painful crashes. And with regard to feeling completely comfortable about getting back on the road, I’d say you’ll be looking at months rather than weeks, like @Nate says. Trying to force things will probably do you no good, as you might be at risk of getting a bit too tense out there – and that is never a good thing when riding. The ‘trick’, if there is one, could be to take it slow, and start out by avoiding, as much as you can, situations where you know things can get hectic. Re-gain your confidence, as it were.

    And for what it’s worth: we can (also) get badly hurt doing something far less enjoyable than cycling. I once came out of a supermarket carrying an armful of groceries and tripped over a stupid piece of plastic band, of the type that is wrapped around cardboard boxes. Tried (and failed miserably) to save my quart of milk and jar of orange juice from exploding all over the pavement, fell hard and broke my fucking elbow. If I’d be allowed a choice as to where and how I’ll get bone fractures in the future, I’d pick cycling any time of the day.

    Good luck, man – get well soon, and ride prudently

  18. @ErikdR

    @doubleR

    * Fractured right clavicle
    * Bruised ribs
    * Pneumothorax (partially collapsed right lung)
    * Road rash all over my right side
    * Crushing headache for two days (CT scan was negative).

    So, here I sit on the sofa, loopy on Norco with a machine circulating cold water around my shoulder. My wife is already telling me that cycling is too dangerous, and that I should give it up.

    As much as I love cycling, the pain I’ve been through in the last six days has given me pause. For the rest of you-were you temped at all to hang up your cleats? When you did get back on the road, were you apprehensive of every car, every piece of debris in the road? How long did it take for your confidence to return?

    Ouch, ouch… and ouch. That must have been a really bad one you’ve had there. Yikes.

    As for being tempted to give up cycling altogether: yes, I’ve certainly had that thought cross my mind from time to time during recovery from painful crashes. And with regard to feeling completely comfortable about getting back on the road, I’d say you’ll be looking at months rather than weeks, like @Nate says. Trying to force things will probably do you no good, as you might be at risk of getting a bit too tense out there – and that is never a good thing when riding. The ‘trick’, if there is one, could be to take it slow, and start out by avoiding, as much as you can, situations where you know things can get hectic. Re-gain your confidence, as it were.

    And for what it’s worth: we can (also) get badly hurt doing something far less enjoyable than cycling. I once came out of a supermarket carrying an armful of groceries and tripped over a stupid piece of plastic band, of the type that is wrapped around cardboard boxes. Tried (and failed miserably) to save my quart of milk and jar of orange juice from exploding all over the pavement, fell hard and broke my fucking elbow. If I’d be allowed a choice as to where and how I’ll get bone fractures in the future, I’d pick cycling any time of the day.

    Good luck, man – get well soon, and ride prudently

    The timing of my crash was such that the road season was over anyway. I had hung up the bike just before my VMH and I got together, then when I started riding/ racing again, I’ve had good luck. Though I could have done another race or 2 post crash/ healing, she wasn’t too excited about that. Time heals all wounds like they say, and come this spring, I’ll be back at it I’m sure. I get cranky if I can’t get out and ride or do something physical (it’s the time of year to rock climb here). 

  19. @ChrisO

    Exactly… this thread is like sending a gilt-edged invitation to A Fate c/- Doom House, Superstition Road, Curseville.

    I’m doing a mountain ride next Friday with a descent where I would normally be hitting around 80km/h and I’m going to be thinking of all these f*cking photos and horror stories.

    It’s still not enough to make me wear a helmet though.

    You’re riding a mountain bike without a helmet? Because? 

    You’re a moron. 

  20. It’s a year ago today since my last off.  The weird thing about it is that I remember for a couple of weeks beforehand thinking that I was due for a big one.

    @doubleR – you have my sympathies, chest drains are a bitch.  When I had mine put in it was fine until the morphine wore off…

  21. @Buck Rogers

    Fucking awesome read!  Totally laughing out loud and your line about “That guy rides like someone who has not fallen off yet” is perfect! Totally lexicon worthy in my opinion but perhaps too long.  Thanks for sharing.

     

    Vertino – the disconcerting feeling that comes over you when you get too close to contemplating crashes.
  22. @ten B

    jesus christ! How do I get that image out my brain? Did he crash into the DPW wood chipper detail on the side of the road? 

    Thanks for at least linking that. Cyclops would have just posted up. He is an animal.

  23. The timing of this article is eerie.  Last night I had a 280km ride planned starting at midnight.  I needed some last minute food, so made a ride over to pick up some rice cakes.  A nice light drizzle had started, and I was in bliss, as I very much enjoy a rain ride.  There’s a bridge I have to cross, the type with a metal crisscross of floor, resembling more of a cheese grater than an architectural structure.  Now I’ve always had an aversion to this bridge, as it’s just scary when dry, but as I would find out, down and down crazy when a hint of moisture is in the air.

    Lucky, there was no traffic behind me, seemingly a first for every time I’ve had to cross it, there is a line of cars zooming by.  I feel the rear slip and immediately thinking “here it comes”, and bam, down I go, hard on my left side.  Just as fast as I went down, I bounced back up, grabbing my bike and walking as fast as I can in carbon fiber soles across what seemed to be icy pond of metal, offering zero traction.  

    Once back on the concrete end of things, I give myself a once over and notice the grater took a toll on me: knees, hands, shoulder, helmet.  A good amount of blood leaking from here and there, but I was pretty loaded on adrenaline that none of the pain was evident with the damage.  I reached my food stop with ideas of grandeur, that I’d grab the food, and be on with the ride.  After hopping off the bike and collecting the items, the chemical rush wore off, and was hit with nausea and dry heaves.  So much for that ride.  Scrap bin for the time being.

    20 hours later and I can only think of a few things:1) I just got that helmet 2) none of my kit was torn 3) it’s very difficult to shift the front mech 4) I’m a day behind on the Strava challenge 5) my sunnies never fell off the back of my neck.  I’m a bit mental for sure, but aren’t we all one way or another?

    Everyone’s stories in here are very encouraging.  That just might be what makes our glass half full.

     

  24. @ten B

    @brett

    @ten B

    +1 x 2…

    What is the Tarantino scene from?

    It’s from Google. Seriously though, apparently It’s from a movie called “Sleep with Me”, which I haven’t seen.

    Oh, and for the masochists out there (and perhaps the sadists too – you perverted w****er c***s) a photo of my bro’s knee injury (I decided to link it instead of posting for the squeamish little girls out there):

    Ouchie

    Yes!  That is an awesome injury!  An ortho’s wet dream right there, baby.  It will be a while before he is powering any cranks, though.  Hope he makes a full recovery.  That is a beast of an injury!

  25. @roger

    Man!  That’s crazy!  Those grate bridges are deadly.  Very happily amazed that you were not hurt worse.  Hope you heal quickly!  

    By the way, are you still pissing blood or did you get that looked at and taken care of???

  26. @Buck Rogers It has been one issue after another lately.   man period stopped.  Doc said it was likely from some blunt impact to testicles.  Saving grace is Autumn weather.  I absolutely love wearing warmers and gilets.  I saw you mention a NY cogal, weekend of the 20th I am busy, but would love to make it any of the other dates!

  27. @Roger

    @Buck Rogers It has been one issue after another lately.   man period stopped.  Doc said it was likely from some blunt impact to testicles.  Saving grace is Autumn weather.  I absolutely love wearing warmers and gilets.  I saw you mention a NY cogal, weekend of the 20th I am busy, but would love to make it any of the other dates!

     

    What about the weekend after?  27th?  Questioning if it will be too cold but will move dates to accomadate you!
  28. I appreciate it Buck, but don’t go by my schedule.  That’s the only weekend that doesnt work for me, but I’ll be there any other dates you pick.  

  29. @Gianni

    F-150 coming in the other direction turned left In front of him. According to Strava he was doing 33kph, and he figures the truck was doing 50ish. Caught the headlight at the knee. The driver had to be admitted to hospital for shock. He had a couple of surguries, but is hoping to get back into triathlons.

    As horrific as his injury looks, any time you have an accident like that, and you’re still breathing and can feel all of your limbs, you have to be grateful. It’s funny (in a macabre sort of way), but I could easily not have survived my crash, and the only external signs would have been some road rash on my knee and hands.

    I can’t stress this any more strongly: get a blindingly bright flasher for solo rides, and use it day and night (and augment with a steady for illumination if required). Yeah, they’re ugly and the battery pack is heavy, but I think we owe it to the people who indulge our passion.

  30. Well, on today’s ride as I was taking the MUP out of town to some country climbs I wanted to try, I saw a kid and grandma bite it on some uneven surface (roots under the path). They both did head-over-heels flips one after the other.

    Grandmother broke her wrist, the kid just had a scratch on her chin. Thankfully her husband wasn’t far behind, and we got 911 called to assist her.

    Back onto my ride, way out in the middle nowhere I had some fucking yapper dog run out of a yard right in front of me, so I had to slow way down so I wouldn’t hit it at speed (and crash myself). It then started to attack my ankle as soon as I slowed. Fucking dog. Got away from that with just a scratch, thankfully.

    I also missed my turn a bit further on and wound up climbing an extra 300m I didn’t need to do. Oh well. Weird day!

  31. @ten B  Wow, I hope he makes a full recovery, that is bad. Re: Lights- with all the great LED lights, weight is not an issue anymore, especially if one is using it for hazard flasher. We often use a red rear flasher because we start so early in the morning. I guess a forward facing flasher would be smarter. Those are the people that are going to kill you.

  32. @ChrisO

    @scaler911

    Great article @Roadslave. A month or so ago, I was talking to my teammate, telling him that I was surprised that my ticket hadn’t been punched in the 3 years since I had come back to racing.

    Thought I’m not generally superstitious, I should have never said anything. That very night, at our Tuesday night worlds local race, I went into the tarmac at 54Kph. Couldn’t be avoided. My teammate that I ran into, ended up in the ER with a broken collar bone and scapula.

     

    Exactly… this thread is like sending a gilt-edged invitation to A Fate c/- Doom House, Superstition Road, Curseville.

    I’m doing a mountain ride next Friday with a descent where I would normally be hitting around 80km/h and I’m going to be thinking of all these f*cking photos and horror stories.

    It’s still not enough to make me wear a helmet though.

    I don’t want to start yet another helmet/no helmet debate. However, take another look at my helmet:

    I survived my crash with a nasty bruise on my forehead and a two-day headache (in addition to the other injuries I described earlier).

    If I hadn’t been wearing the helmet, there’s a good possibility the Velominatus would be a member less today.

     

     

     

  33. @doubleR @brett

    Did I start telling anyone else what they should do or how moronic they are for doing it ? No.

    Why are people so keen to tell other people how they should ride. It was the same last week with telling off other riders for not following traffic rules.

    So thanks but… mind your own business

    And BTW Brett they do have roads through the mountains – quite good ones here, as it happens. A mountain ride is not a MTB ride.

  34. @ChrisO Well said. People should stop getting their knickers in a twist over what other people are doing and just worry more about what they are doing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, fucking wowsers.

  35. @ChrisO Let’s see… you’re against wearing helmets and against following the rules of the road? Or is it that you’re against other riders who highlight those two issues as important to cycling safety and therefore take exception to those riders that choose not to?

    Really? … “mind your own business?”

    … As far as others commenting on “what they (others) should do,” or “how moronic they (others) are for doing it,” it seems a bit ironic that you would post that considering the fundamental framework for which this entire website and community is based on. There’s really not a lot of grey area here… lots of diversity of course, but not a lot of flexibility to the core principles. There’s not a lot of highlights on helmets and following the rules of the road, but don’t be a jackass pretty much sums it up nicely for me.  

     

     

     

      

  36. It was not my intent to tell anyone what they should–or shouldn’t do. However, when your head smacks the asphalt hard enough to split your helmet, it definitely changes your perspective on whether or not to wear one. For me, I would never again consider even riding around the block without a helmet. 

  37. @ChrisO

    Sorry Chris for coming off a bit like a prat there… it is your choice, and I did read it as a mountain bike ride…which would be moronic. My bad. 

  38. @ChrisO

    Just as I didn’t read your post properly, you didn’t read mine properly either. I didn’t tell you you should wear a helmet. Just my opinion that those who choose not to might not have too much up there to protect. But it’s a personal choice, and we all make some risky ones.

    Now, I’m off to have unprotected anal sex with an African monkey… 

  39. @JFT

    @ChrisO Let’s see… you’re against wearing helmets and against following the rules of the road? Or is it that you’re against other riders who highlight those two issues as important to cycling safety and therefore take exception to those riders that choose not to?

    Really? … “mind your own business?”

    … As far as others commenting on “what they (others) should do,” or “how moronic they (others) are for doing it,” it seems a bit ironic that you would post that considering the fundamental framework for which this entire website and community is based on. There’s really not a lot of grey area here… lots of diversity of course, but not a lot of flexibility to the core principles. There’s not a lot of highlights on helmets and following the rules of the road, but don’t be a jackass pretty much sums it up nicely for me.  

    Mind your own business was being polite. As doubleR might say, it’s not my intention to tell you to fuck off, however…

    Y’all may not have noticed but The Rules are supposed to be humorous.

    I’m sorry I mentioned it, but it would have had an emoticon next to it if such things existed. 

     

     

     

     

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