Evansville Rockin’ River Ride. It’s fun they said. Do it they said. Forecast was for rain periodically throughout the day BUT with a sunny window between 8am and noon…perfect! On my way to pick up my friend Jim it starts sprinkling. No problem I said, ride doesn’t start until 8 am…it’s 630 now. On our way to the event more sprinkles off and on. Again, no problem. Forecast promises a clear window to ride. Jim and I get to the parking lot and unload the bikes…first omen, my bike falls over while I am grabbing my helmet out of the truck. Quick once over, bike looks good. No scratches, everything is working. We mount up and head towards the start line…more sprinkles…actually steady light mist…omen number two.
We arrive at the start of event. Vendors who have braved the potential weather are setting up. Omen number three (I don’t know how many omens it takes to convince you to not do something): the sky opens up with torrential rain for the next 30 minutes. Jim and I spend those 30 minutes under a gazebo waiting and hoping this is not what is in store for us. At about 7:45am the rain lets up. They ask us to head to the start line so we can get started early. I don’t know how many people signed up for the ride but I would guess less than 100, maybe even less than 75 showed for the ride. National anthem done, they tell us to head out. Rain starts to fall again…omen number four.
Now here is the kicker, my triathlon coach was not a huge fan of me riding that day. It just wasn’t part of her training plan but she relented and said I could ride the shorter route 60k…about 37 miles. 25 of the 37 miles were in driving rain. I was just coming to terms with it and telling myself all rides, training or otherwise aren’t going to be picture perfect. Training guru’s from all over the universe tell you to train in inclement weather to prepare for the worst…well this ride was the worst…then it got worse!
Train tracks, unassuming and silent, looming in the distance, mocking me. I have crossed dozens of tracks in my rides, narry an incident to tell. Until now. The sun had broken through slightly, the tracks ran across the road at an angle so it was important to hit them perpendicular to avoid incident. I did not do this. The combo of wet tracks, angled approach and my less than graceful riding ability…oh and not slowing down (key factor here) caused me to break the cardinal rule of riding…keeping the rubber on the road.
In one quick second I was staring at the sky hitting the pavement with my shoulder, leg, head and forearm. I literally had one second to react, and my only thought was to not stick my arm out. For those not familiar, asphalt is not soft. And much to my surprise my first thought was not the condition of my bike but the condition of my shoulder. There was a brief moment I thought my whole season was over…and my coach didn’t want me to ride. Now I had to tell her, great. The moments after were full of checking the function of all my moving parts, arms, knee, fingers, elbow. And thanks to all those who pointed out my leg and arm were bleeding…really? Range of motion on my shoulder felt restricted so it was not until the next day that I was confident it was not seriously damaged. Now the bike…
Visually the bike looked ok. The chain was off, the shifter bent in a little, rear derailer banged up. Could be worse. The ride indicated bigger issues. I couldn’t shift smooth, couldn’t get the bike into all the gears, small but annoying things. So after the ride I took it into the shop. I am still waiting on a verdict.
Anyway, beyond a cracked helmet it could be worse. They always say it’s “when” you crash not “if”. Lets hope I got mine out of the way for this season. Safe riding. Louisville here I come.
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