Everybody falls

We took a longer Sunday ride than usual this morning, to get ready for some long organized rides several of us will do soon.  We went to San Marcos, Texas — abut 35 miles south of Austin.

The San Marcos River’s headwaters are at a spring-fed lake in town. A park on the university campus straddles the river (in the Midwest, where I grew up, we’d call it a creek), and everyone oohed and aahed at the crystal clear cold clean water.

But we had to head back. About four miles out, the road takes a sharp turn. My new frame mounted pump was getting jolted by the rough chip seal road surface, and the hose had come loose. It was banging against my knee on every pedal stroke. I leaned forward and reached down to try to get it back in its cradle.

The road hit a bridge over the Blanco River. The expansion joint at the edge of the bridge was mounded up with sand and dirt. My front wheel hit the two-inch high mound, and a series of bad things happened.

The mound slowed the front wheel almost to a stop. Since my weight was forward, I lurched even more forward. The wheel jerked to the side. I knew I was going down.

Time really does slow in a situation like this. In my case, I saw things unraveling in super-slow motion. I saw the wheel slow, then turn. I saw that I was leaving the saddle, and that my body was being propelled up and over the handlebars. A classic endo.

Because things were happening so slowly, I could actually think my way through it. Roll, I said to myself. So I twisted to hit the pavement on the back of my right shoulder, and somersaulted to a sitting position.

That's all?  Big wup.
That's all? Big wup.

Everyone stopped in horror. They gathered around to check out my damages, which weren’t bad. I hadn’t hit my head, and the only damage that was obvious was a nice bloody strawberry on my elbow. The back of the shoulder where I had hit was just dirty, not torn (good thing — it was my favorite jersey).  “You got some impressive height to your trajectory,” said one of the riders.

I had one guy pour some water over it, and we resumed the ride. But the combination of the soreness and the pace we had set on the way down (I finished the 34+ miles to San Marcos at a 17.2 mph pace, way faster than I usually go) had taken it out of me. By the time we got to Buda, I was ready to pack it in. That’s when I discovered the other casualty of the ride — my cell phone.

Time for an upgrade.
Time for an upgrade.

I borrowed a phone from one of the other riders, and called home.

“Honey? I’m at the Walgreen’s in Buda. Can you come pick me up?” (I think I detect an unwelcome pattern here.)

It turned out later that although cracked and otherwise damaged, the phone still worked.

I once read a comment, either in a book, magazine, or an online forum, that went, “When you crash — and you will…” At the time, I thought it didn’t apply to me. I was too, ahem, mature, too careful for that. But I guess everybody crashes at one time or another. At least, that’s what I tell myself to make myself feel better about this situation.

What did I learn? If it’s important enough to require your attention, it’s important enough to stop the bike to attend to it.


  1. says

    Ouch! I’m glad you made it out as well as you did! I’ve always said that the nice thing about cycling (as opposed to jogging) is that you get cool scars :) As for your pump they make little straps that help to hold it to the frame…might check out one of those. I think they’re about $3…I know Performance has them. I’ve always been impressed with how tough jerseys are! I’ve NEVER managed to damage one even when I’ve gone sliding across pavement or caught my shoulder on a tree!

  2. says

    So is it time to ditch the pump and just carry the CO2 cartridges? As I read in Velo News (back page) about a year ago, “Coulda been worse”! (CBW)

  3. says

    Man that stinks! At least you seem to have come through it unscathed for the most part. I wish I could have been so lucky when I crashed. I’m glad you made it through OK. If your frame pump isn’t too big, and it doesn’t bother you, maybe you could just throw it in one of the rear pockets of your jersey. I’d opt for a better strap though.

  4. says

    Glad you did not have any serious injuries. Your quick thinking probably saved you from more road rash. One thing you didn’t mention — any damage to your bike?

  5. rainycamp says

    There doesn’t seem to be. I rode 15 miles more before I decided to bail on the ride. Bike seemed normal. I even pulled once during that time.

  6. says

    I’m glad you’re fine. You’re right:

    “When you crash — and you will…”

    I used to say that is statistics! More you ride more close you are from a crash.

  7. says

    Glad everything is okay. I tell people that it’s a good thing to get the first crash out of the way. It seems like the crash isn’t normally as bad as the anticipation.

    What I want to know is if you handled it like a true cyclist. Did you check your bike for damage before any other consideration?

  8. rainycamp says

    I guess I’m not there yet. I’m old. I have to take care of me first.
    It’s amazing how many bumps and bruises surface two days after the fact. I’ve got a beaut on my lower back where I landed on the cell phone.

  9. says

    A little not on crashing and x-training. A few years ago I started doing Pilates and yoga. I think it has improved my cycling a lot.

    A few months after starting I crashed on my bike. I was riding on snow and ice. I was sure the next day that I would find aches and pains that didn’t show immediately after the fall.

    The next morning, much to my surprise I didn’t have a single ache. I attribute it to the pilates and yoga. And I am not a young guy. I have passed the half century mark.

  10. says

    Glad you’re OK. Crashing will inevitably happen at some point, so it’s always good when it happens without major injuries. Good job, rolling rather than trying to catch yourself.

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