As you may know, last Sunday I completed a 127 mile bike race in the Berkshires. Today I woke up at 500 AM to tackle a 200 mile race in Solvang, California. This is an event for which I’ve been training all year; the Santa Ynez Valley, in which the ride takes place, is stunningly beautiful, and I’m as fit as I’ve ever been.
It was a little chilly when I got on the road, but everything was par for the course for the first 14 miles. Then, while descending at 41 MPH I felt my bike hit something hard, and next thing I knew my headlight had snapped clear off my handlebars, my water bottle had flown out off its cage, and both my tires had gone completely flat. I am pretty certain that the only reason I didn’t crash–and likely break several bones–is that I am a fairly experienced rider.
It didn’t take me long to realize that my ride was over. For one thing, in addition to my inner tubes, the force of the impact had damaged my tires. For another, given that I wouldn’t have finished the event until 11 PM, I couldn’t have continued without headlights. Once my shock had worn off, I walked back up the hill to see what the hell I had hit; it turned out that there was a rather large, extremely jagged rock in the middle of the damn road, and I had gone straight over it.
I have had a depressing amount of bad luck of late on the bike. Here are just a few highlights: in March of this year I went to start a race in New Hampshire when, during the warm-up, the battery to my electronic gears died. The following week, at a race in MA, I hit a deep pothole in a torrential rain and damaged my rear wheel. Last year, various rides were brought to an untimely end due to: numerous flat tires; a snapped chain; a broken rear fender; and a snapped rear derailleur.
To say that I was furious this morning is to state the painfully obvious. Fortunately, after a few hours had passed and I had calmed down I was able to enjoy the day in beautiful Solvang with my parents; disappointed, to be sure, but lucky to not be in the hospital due to a crash, and even luckier to be able to spend time with my wonderful family.