Lesson #11: Turn slowly in the wet

Just adding here to the Top Ten Lessons enumerated in the previous post.

Our B ride took a 38-mile route today in nice autumn weather, but the weather deteriorated as the ride progressed. We started in fog and temps in the low 60s (17°C). A little more than halfway through the ride, the rain started falling. We were about 16 miles from home, and wanted to waste no time getting back.

The four of us on the ride headed out in the downpour, and actually caught a much larger ride at an intersection two miles down the road. But those folks dropped us, and one of our own riders peeled off to head home by a different route.

One of the riders with me started cramping, and dropping back. We were on a two-lane blacktop with no shoulder, and I wanted to turn into a residential subdivision where he could take it easy while we made our last several miles home.

I braked before the turn into the subdivision, then turned. My front tire gleamed from the amount of water on the asphalt, even though the rain had subsided by now. I watched the wheel as it slid out from under me, and I went down hard. Unlike previous crashes, I didn’t have the out-of-body experience where I watch myself fall and tell myself what must be done. I just hit hard on my right hip, and slid along the pavement. My helmet clacked against the hard surface. Two water bottles shot out in different directions. The rider immediately behind me maneuvered between me, a rolling bottle, and my bike — and managed to stay upright while doing it.

Several drivers stopped to ask if I needed help, but once I got to my feet, I felt all right. Road rash on the knee, my hip really hurt, but the most bothersome thing was the soreness in my right shoulder. Although I could move it, and raise my arm over my head, I knew that would be the problem area. A cursory examination of my helmet revealed no cracks, so we mounted up and soldiered on.

Back home, I found that although my leg and hip stung from the road rash, the injuries were really quite minor.

Shin, left, and upper thigh, right.

The shoulder, which has no visible marks, is still sore, and I expect that it will be for several days to come. Neither my shorts nor jersey has any tears or scuffs.

Maybe it was the wet, maybe it was because I was going slowly when I fell — but the bike is OK. It’s all wiped down and ready for the next (upright) adventure.


  1. David says

    Sorry, but I’m horrible at “Moral of the story”.

    Am I right in saying we should avoid wet / flooded spots as much as possible? Besides braking early?

    Just joined the world of road biking. Anyway, love your posts. Keep the great work up and get healed soon! =D

  2. Daved says

    Hi Ray, Too bad about the fall but it seems that happens to riders on some sort of cosmic schedule no matter how careful we are.
    Sorry I missed the Sunday ride but I tweaked my back on Friday (old injury) and I can barely sit in a chair much less pedal a bike.

  3. says

    Looks like some serious “bacon” to me.. I bet it’s turned a lovely shade of black by now.. Sunday I was out in similar conditions but since my back tire is completely thread-bare (and slick) I found myself taking corners with almost delicate care. Btw, I had a similar experience a couple of years ago, albeit off road. At least there you expect to crash. Best wishes and here’s hoping for a speedy recovery!

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