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.
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.
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.