Saturday, 14 October, 2000

Crash on the Down Home Ranch Ride

Today was the 56 mile "Ranch Ride" to support the Down Home Ranch in Elgin, TX.  It was a beautiful day for a bike ride, and we hoped to complete the ride with at average speed of 17 or 18 miles per hour.  Unfortunately, about halfway through the ride I got a little too close to my riding partner's back wheel and we both hit the pavement.

I've crashed my mountain bike too many times to count, but this is the first time I've laid down the road bike.  An unexpected dismount of a mountain bike usually results in a few bumps and bruises, and maybe a little skin left on the trail.  Broken bones aren't as common as you might expect—in four years of riding I've seen one and heard of two others among people I know.  Laying down a road bike is something else entirely.  First, you're usually moving much faster.  Today, for example, we were going at least 20 MPH when the road came up to meet us.  The other major difference is that a mountain bike trail is usually softer than an asphalt road, and has obstacles (trees, shrubs, and rocks) that stop you when you fall.  When you lay a bike down on the road, you hit hard and slide.  When you hit the road at 20 MPH, you slide a really long way.

I now have a very large bruise on my butt, serious road rash on in various places along my back, butt, arms, and legs, and a splitting headache from my head's impact with the pavement.  If anybody asks me why I wear a helmet, I'll show him the scar from this wreck and the little bits of gravel that are embedded in the Styrofoam.  I'd rather my head remained in a single piece, and I don't relish the thought of digging gravel out of my scalp.  My riding partner, in addition to assorted scrapes and bruises, ended up with a nasty cut on his elbow.  We finished the ride in spite of the mishap, albeit a bit slower than we had planned.

I find it ironic that this happened the day after I got upset about people thinking I'm crazy for riding as much as I do.  When they see my trophies, they'll have even more ammunition.  Oh well.  I guess it goes with the territory.