An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Monday, October 21, 2013

It was a sudden gust of gravity!

Gravity is one of those constants, you say. Physics uses something called "the gravitational constant" to describe the action of two bodies relative to each other.

I say no. It's a sentient being with a devious and evil intellect. It waits, biding its time, patiently watching for that perfect moment to suddenly reach up, increasing its pull exponentially, and take you down.

 It's been a long time. Probably more than 15 years. And I could have gone a lot longer.

On Saturday, I crashed. Did a ground check. Had an unscheduled get-off. Kissed pavement.

It was kind of embarrassing, as I was leading the shop group ride at the time. Hit a wet paint strip mid-corner and the bike slid out from under me. Fortunately it wasn't all that bad, so I was able to get back up, straighten out the handlebars, get the chain back on, do a quick physical inventory, and get going again.

So here's the set-up -- it was a foggy morning, as most have been lately, so there was some patchy water sheen on the roads. The particular corner is off-camber coming from a slight downhill, and the county, in its infinite wisdom, had recently put in a traffic light at this intersection. Meaning lots of new paint stripes for crosswalks and stop lines. There's actually no way to take this corner and NOT go over paint stripes.

I'd slowed way down, or at least I thought I did. I kept the bike fairly upright and turned it rather than leaning it heavily, still with the weight on the outside pedal. But in spite of my efforts, the bike slipped on the wet paint stripe, and down it went. I hit mostly on the hip, my feet came unclipped immediately, and the bike went sliding across the road in front of another car (that was fortunately stopped for the red light). The look on that driver's face was priceless.

It only took a few minutes to get going again, after the aforementioned accounting and a little small talk with other the riders in the group. And we were only about two miles from the end of the ride anyway (though with one decent hill in that distance).

Total damage: bar tape on the right side beyond help, scrapes on the handlebar and brake lever that I sanded down, a scrapes on the wing of my saddle and the pedal that are nothing more than cosmetic irritants, a couple small holes in the right glove that won't hurt them much, some dirt on the jacket that'll wash out, and a nice raspberry/goose-egg on my hip that's still smarting when I sit down. It's amazing how much skin damage can happen under Lycra that remains perfectly fine.

Could have been a lot worse, though.

But like I said, it's been a long time since I crashed on the road. I wasn't missing it. Really.

So, Gravity, have your good laugh, sit back and chuckle, then go back to sleep. Hopefully for a good, long, LONG time.

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