Monday, February 10, 2014

First Wipeout

It appears there was some kind of turkey convention at the bottom of my driveway this morning.

My ride today, again on my road, was quite different from yesterday's ride. We had received about an inch of snow overnight, so the world was newly white and fresh.

I thought I would be more comfortable on today's ride. After all, it was 22 degrees F--warmer than yesterday. LESSON 1: It's not all about the temperature. I actually felt more cold today. There was no sun and the wind was blowing at 11 mph. During much of my ride, there were big, fat snowflakes falling. Quite pretty.

I have renewed respect for winter athletes. It is really challenging to work this hard when the bitter cold is assaulting your muscles and everything else as well.

When riding on snow, the tires of my bike make such loud squeaky-crunchy sounds that I keep thinking there is traffic approaching from behind me. Today I was taken by surprise when a vehicle passed me. LESSON 2: Just because the bike tires give me false warnings sometimes doesn't mean I can stop paying attention entirely.

I was surprised to discover a couple of spots along the road where my bike unexpectedly fishtailed. LESSON 3: Until tire chains are purchased and used, this is probably the deepest snow my bike and I can handle.

About three miles into my ride, I had my first wipeout. It happened so fast, I went down on my side with the bike--like I was glued to it.

Do you see anything here that is particularly troublesome or concerning--that might cause a wipeout? Exactly. LESSON 4: When headed for a spot at which your bike has fishtailed twice already, it might be wise to avoid riding straight through that spot again. LESSON 5: This experience reaffirms my decision not to ride on regular roads; this wipeout on a regular road would have put my head right under a car. LESSON 6: Any doubts I had about needing a full-face helmet have been laid to rest.

I didn't get hurt in this fall. (Correction: Turns out that I ended up with a large, deep bruise just below the outside of my left knee. It was in such a weird place, though, that it didn't prevent me from continuing to train.) Notice that my first inclination, while still on the ground, was to get up and take pictures! LESSON 7: Falling in the snow is way better than falling on pavement. (This time, there were no bruises or scrapes and no torn clothing.) LESSON 8: Those very wide, straight handlebars serve a good purpose during a fall. They protect the cockpit; it's almost like having a roll bar.

When I stopped riding because of this fall, my glasses immediately fogged over and I had a devil of a time getting them functional again. LESSON 9: Always carry a good glasses-wiping cloth.

I may have just fallen, but check out this great view looking south downriver:

I finished the rest of my ride without incident. Needless to say, I stopped carving out new ground through the snow and stuck to the well-used tracks.

I used the Road Bike app on my phone to record my entire ride again today. I kept the phone in an interior jacket pocket this time, though. When I finished my ride, my phone still had a 65% charge. LESSON 10: Keep the phone protected from the worst of the brutal cold.

Isn't it great when a simple hour-and-a-half workout yields so many educational opportunities?

[Update: The photo below doesn't illustrate it as well as I'd hoped, but it turns out there was a very deep rut buried by snow--right where I had my wipeout. I think a tire either got caught in the rut or fell into it. Needless to say, I've been avoiding this rut ever since.]

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