Thursday, April 17, 2008

Black Saturday Indeed!

I don’t usually like to write about the misfortunes of other folks, but his past Saturday seemed like “Black Saturday” to me when it comes to cycling. Three folks, two of which I know personally, crashed big time while riding in an organized event, and the last of the three who was riding in my little peleton. Planet Ultra’s Mulholland Double Century and Century took out two people pretty badly. I’ve never done that ride, but I do know the area pretty well and there are some pretty wicked climbs, as well as wicked descents over there in that part of the Santa Monica mountains. My friend, Cynthia took a particularly bad spill as a result of some alleged poor LBS work on her bike. Evidently, her handlebars rotated downward on her stem, leaving her virtually “brakeless.” Unable to stop on a steep descent and with the potential of plummeting down a steep embankment, she chose to take a rock wall head-on in order to stop. Here’s an excerpt from her account of things:
"I should be writing Specialized a letter....their product is the bomb! There is nothing like having to pick your own crash landing spot...that was the most hellish that I don't want to go through ever again! And when the choices are cliff, embankment of rock, or try to ride out one more corner in hopes the descent does not get any steeper....well, those choices suck, ya know! I chose the embankment. Now, since the "School for Stunt Women" has not officially accepted my membership application yet, I do not have professional training on how to crash! Needless to say, somehow the most protected part of my body took the initial hit. The top of my head went into a rock, with my body doing an endo before landing. In my bloody resting spot, my helmet was intact, un-cracked, and no serious head/neck/back injuries of mention. Wow! Was that cool? So, I am now DEAD set on riding Specialized for my next road sled!!
For those who haven't seen me, I walked away with stitches to my left knee, hip, and forearm. I have superficial wounds in random places, bruising and strained muscles. I see an orthopedic next week to assess the damage from the laceration to the knee. I feel like I am recovering very well so I anticipate a good medical report with hopes to be back on the (a) bike soon.”

My other virtual BikeJournal friend had a similar Mulholland experience. Evidently, the road slopes away from you on several corners of the course making turn negotiation rather difficult. Curtis was lucky in that he, too, walked away from a horrible crash. After looking at the pictures of his bike, I’m amazed that he only suffered from a broken collarbone. You can read his account here.

I’m not much for cell phones, but this puppy saved DrDog’s bacon on last Saturday’s tour of Boulder City. I was in the lead with Bobbie on my wheel and the Costin peleton in tow, about 50 yards behind. There were a couple of splintered two-by-fours laying in our path. As we approached, I pointed them out as hazards (good bike leader etiquette, I might add) to the rest of the gang. Well, it appears that my signal did not get passed down the line, like it should have. DrDog was positioned well within the peleton, but not well enough to avoid the obstacles. I heard a muffled noise behind me and decided to take a look over my right shoulder. All I could see was a pair of legs sticking straight up out of a cloud of dust. DrDog hit the two-by-fours dead-on, did an endo over his bars, and hit the dirt while bouncing into the air a couple of times before coming to a rather dirty and bumpy stop. He, too, was lucky on this “Black Saturday” suffering from only bruised ribs, road-rash, and the loss of a now useless $700 dollar phone. The only thing we could figure is that the phone (tucked in his jersey’s rear pocket) hit the pavement first instead of his body. So, the phone acted like sort of a cushion, albeit an expensive cushion at that!
The only bright spot in “Black Saturday” that I can think of is that fact that everyone is still vertical! That’s a day I hope not to relive, or read about, anytime soon.

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