Saturday, September 4, 2010

first group ride crash

I suppose when you ride with a group every week for years, it is inevitable that there will be a crash someday. Some days I have a bad feeling about the group ride so I just drop back and let them go, following at a safe distance. I felt this way this morning, and even told one of my early starters that I was going to hang off the back today, I wasn't in the mood.

But I was near the start of the roll out and the legs were fresh so I sat in the top third of the group. I was feeling pleased with myself that I had ignored the voice of fear and stuck it out with the group. The winds were gusty and we were going at a sedate pace when the rider ahead of me took a drink about 7kms into the usual route. Before he had a chance to get his hand back on the bars he ran over a plastic disk of some sort, which caused his front wheel to slide, twisting the handlebars out of his grasp.

In the most amazing slow motion he went down in front of me, falling left. I veered right as the rider to my left crashed. I don't know what powers of levitation got me over his arm but I never touched him, and managed to keep the rubber side down. A third rider crashed hard into the fallen, tumbling through my peripheral vision.

When I stopped and turned it was mayhem. I don't think anyone was badly hurt, but we were all a bit shook up. People were pfaffing about and making a fuss over the fallen. The guy who went down first said "I am fine, you just go" so I took him at his word and rolled off by myself. I wanted some time to ride alone without the penalty of being last in at the coffee shop, so I noodled along til the group caught me, then though "nah" and continued to noodle as they passed.

Despite my display of 'mad skillz' on the bike I was so suffering a crisis of confidence that I couldn't bear to be near anyone. I could barely make a start when I got stopped at the lights. A wobbly newbie again.

A couple of coffees later and I was much better. The ride home with my small neighbourhood bunch was easy. I know and trust them so well that I followed a wheel without a thought.

Well I guess I have done that ride every Saturday for about 3?4? years now. First crash. Hope it is a very long time til we have another.

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