Posted by: fizzhogg | August 18, 2012

Down goes Frazier!

I felt it coming all day.

For some reason, on this particular ride, two images kept floating through my head…

NBC’s replays ad nauseam of Kristin Armstrong’s crash at the Exergy Tour TT in May. This was arguably the greatest female time trial rider on the planet and she crashed making a very simple maneuver she’s done ten thousand times.

The other image was Caleb Fairly’s crash during Stage 5 of the Tour oF Utah — when he was executing an absolutely average turn, with very little traffic, and he just face planted. The excuse was he lost his front wheel when he rolled over the paint – the painted traffic lines on the road. Yes, the old adage in cycling is “Stay off the paint!” — because it gets super slippery when wet, only there was no moisture anywhere on that day.

In both instances it was a seasoned pro making a maneuver they are capable of making with their eyes closed. And there was no rain, no wind, no chipseal, no opposing riders issues at all… and yet, both hit the pavement. Hard.

As I rolled out on Monday, I could still see remnants of wetness from the rains the night before. Maybe that’s what started my negative thoughts and images. Though, in all honesty, the roads were probably 90% dry.

I felt good. Felt strong. Everything was positive. Except… about every 15 minutes or so, the images of Armstrong’s or Fairly’s crashes would suddenly flash through my mind with a little crawl across the bottom that read something like:

They were seasoned professionals, and you’re just a tubby hill slug, there’s no way YOU can stay upright

And then it would be gone. But it got to me. It made me tentative. I descended slower than normal. I rolled through corners slower than normal. And what happens when you ride tight and fearful as opposed to relaxed and confident?

You crash.

Only I didn’t crash. I was 30 miles in, then 35, then 40, and though I kept feeling like I was going to go down, I didn’t. I rode and climbed and descended and spun and TT’d, and the whole time I never came close to crashing.

Then I crashed.

I was trying out a new route – somewhere I’d never ridden – and according to my Google maps recon the night before, I knew that I would have to ride on this one particular road I have avoided ever since I began this project back in 2010.

It is actually a great road for cycling – smooth pavement, twisty curves and a couple of nice rollers. The only thing is — it is a very narrow two-lane road with no bike lane at all. And it is a very heavily trafficked road. And heavy traffic + no bike lane = Fizz don’t ride.

But if I wanted to tackle this new route I knew I was going to have to ride on that road for a tiny bit — maybe a few hundred yards (meters for our lads across the pond). No problem.

So I hit that road and actually got lucky in that the majority of traffic was going the other way and I had very few cars to deal with on my side. I rode quickly, wanting to get to the right turn that was “Carriage Crossing Lane” which would take me back over some new roads and then drop me on TRFKATP.

100 yards went by.

Then 200 yards.

Then 500.

After about a thousand yards, I knew something was wrong. I must have missed it. But how?

I pulled The Goat off the road and onto a sidewalk and checked my iPhone map app. Yep… I missed it. But how? I zoomed in on my map and realized Carriage Crossing Lane actually does NOT connect to the road I was on. It’s a cul-de-sac that butts up against it. You have to get off the bike, hop a small fence and then ride.

How did I miss this the night before? Laziness, I guess.

So now I had to ride back up the other side of this road — the side where there were cars whizzing by every two or three seconds… with no bike lane, and several blind turns. With the Speed Limit being 40mph, the thought of me cranking hard just to sustain 20mph while a line of angry motorists lines up behind me was something I did not want to experience.

So what to do? I know! I will ride back on this nice little sidewalk right here. It’s early Monday morning, there is probably no foot traffic. And it will take me right back to Carriage Crossing Lane and I will be on my way.

So I began riding on the sidewalk. I had to duck every so often due to the overhanging trees, and did notice at one point that there was a bit more standing water on the sidewalk than out on the road where the sun had dried it all.

100 yards.

200.

500.

I noticed the sidewalk ahead was winding through beautifully landscaped bushes and trees, and I thought about how it was far too elegant to be maintained by the city — it must be by the Homeowners Association of this gorgeous neighborhood next to me.

Big beautiful homes, with glistening swimming pools, and golf course like backyards, and…

Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!

Now, just like Smokin’ Joe, I was back up immediately, doing that thing all men do – where, no matter how injured you may be – you are looking around, nodding, saying something like, “Yep, no worries, meant to do that.”

I looked back at the sidewalk and saw this:

I had ridden straight into mud. In a turn. And when you ride straight into mud on 1-inch tires, AND THEN try to turn…

You crash.

I crashed.

I hit the mud just as I was turning my bars into the turn that I felt was coming. I say felt because…

I was not looking where I was going. I was admiring the lovely homes on my left. I saw the mud about a nanosecond before impact with the concrete.

The Goat survived better than I did.

My shoulder looked similar.

Once I regained my faculties, I realized the cul-de-sac known as “Carriage Crossing Lane” was no more than about 40 yards from where I went down. So close.

I cleaned the mud from between my brake calipers and fork, then walked The Goat to the cul-de-sac, lifted it over the little 3-foot high fence, and continued on my ride… as blood ran down into my shoe.

It wasn’t Johnny Hoogerland type stuff, but as I pedaled passed a couple walking their dog, and saw their eyes bulge at my bloody leg, I thought, “That’s right. I’m a mother*#&@*%# cyclist, baby!”

It was about 7 or so miles to home, and I managed fine. Over the next few days the damage assessment came in:

One leg with severe road rash.

One shoulder with minor road rash and slight bruising.

One bruised tibia bone.

One bruised ankle bone.

The Goat was just muddy.

In the end, the crash images and all that negative thinking had nothing to do with my going down. It was me losing my concentration for just a few seconds. They call it “pilot error” in flying. In cycling it’s called “Being a doofus.”

Or is it dufus?

Here’s a couple of fairly interesting points… if any of you are even still reading this:

One of the absolute best things you can do for a post-crash leg injury is get back on the bike. If you have a bruised bone as I did, or severe road rash (as I do), getting back on and doing a light but high cadence spin for at least 45 minutes actually breaks up some sort of junk inside your injured leg and “cleanses it” so to speak. I’m too tired right now to look up the specifics, but take my word for it.

After three days of intense leg pain at times – to the point I had scheduled an appointment for an x-ray – going out and riding took away not only all the pain, but the swelling I had, too. Gotta love cycling.

The other thing is… my friend and writing/riding compadre – Little Joey Choo Choo – had been on me for a while to shave my legs. Like any “real” cyclist would do. But I have always refused for no other reason than I think those skinny, shaven, pro kit wearing, Cervelo riding serious cyclists would be the only folks who’d even notice if I shaved, and chances are they would laugh even harder at a big fat hill slug with shaved legs, than a just big fat hairy hill slug.

I let my ego get in the way — thinking that shaved legs were only for guys who race Cat 3 on weekends and weigh 160 pounds.

Nope. You shave your legs so when you do go down – AS WE ALL WILL – you heal up much quicker and cleaner.

Yes, my legs are now shaved. But you gotta wait for those pics. At least until after you’ve digested your meal.

Eat better.

Ride your bike.

Avoid the mud.

 

 

Watch out for the road idiots


Responses

  1. Interesting thing from one hill slug to another. When you start shaving your legs you find you crash and get road rash less often. Now if I were superstitious I would think I will crash and rash on our Sunday morning ride tomorrow. I’m not so I won’t.
    We are rolling out from northwest part of San Antonio Texas heading out to Castroville and back. It’s a nice easy 60 mile round trip. The whole route only has maybe 300 feet of elevation change, it’s dead flat, no climes at all. It will be a fast spin training.
    Enjoy riding!

    • Best of luck!

      • We got rained out. With thunder and lightning with high wind it was not a morning to try to find our way through the flooding. We will try again another time.

  2. Woohoo!!! Not a … Slug? Ok.
    155!!!

  3. Sadly, I’m a hill slug too. “Yep, I meant to do that!” is something I’ve said a number of times, once in the wet, twice on ice. I’ve got to laugh at the image I must have presented, blood pouring out of my shin and knee, trying desperately to act unconcerned, while my daughter-in-law drove by. Fortunately she hadn’t even noticed me!

  4. Darnit, the Hairy Leg Club has lost another member! Tell me, did you shave your arms as well? The same logic follows, doesn’t it?

    Of course, cyclists don’t shave their arms. And people involved in professions where nasty injuries are somewhat common (firefighting and soldiering come to mind) don’t shave their legs. So quick recovery from inevitable cuts/scrapes must not be the reason cyclists shave their legs.

    After minutes of careful research, I have deduced that elite cyclists shave their legs for three practical reasons. The first is that they are expected to cycle at an elite level for 150 miles or so the very next day after suffering an injury and scabs prevent full range of motion. Therefore scabs must be removed, sometimes in brutal fashion with nasty wire brushes (shiver). The second reason for shaving is that swelling prevents full range of motion, so after ripping the scabs off their legs, elite cyclists will press on the flesh around the wound to force the blood out that is causing swelling (steps outside for some fresh air). The third practical reason is that elite cyclists receive daily deep muscle massages, and feeling your leg air pulled during these sessions is unpleasant and can cause nasty cysts to form.

    Note, this only applies to elite cyclists. So… if you don’t intend to cycle at an elite level the next day, there is no need to remove the scab and if you don’t intend to get daily deep muscle massages, you need not fear leg hairs getting pulled and cysts forming. You are now left with the two common reasons non-elite cyclists shave their legs: vanity and posing as an elite cyclist.

    The pictures are cool. Remember, chicks dig scars and they need not know the (completely) true story of how you got them! :)

    • After experiencing this incident, and another separate one last year (my mtb crash) I have now gone through both with and without shaved legs — and I can confidently say I’m sticking with the shaved legs.

      Because I’m lazy and like to do as little as possible when healing.

    • For some vanity is a reason and for elite cyclist and scab removal could be a reason. Here in south Texas with riding days well over 100 deg. every bit of cooling helps. Also putting on sun screen is easer with smooth legs.

  5. Ouch! But, you got to stun the neighbors by being such a badass tough guy who rides with bloody legs but spirits strong. Clearly your humor wasn’t bruised.

  6. Oh Man! So sorry you crashed but glad the injuries were basically minor. Glad as well the goat survived more or less unscathed. Love the story. Unfortunately while the images of the crashes seemed to be a forshadowing of events, it was the inattention that did you in.

    Gld you are OK.

  7. [...] My post from March — It Never Gets Easier, You Just go Faster – was the most visited post of the year, getting 37 more hits than the next closest (from August) — Down Goes Frazier. [...]


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