Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To Crash Out


When I wreck on my mtn. bike, it's often dramatic. At least, the bad ones are. I love to tell and retell the stories as if I'm some sort of war hero describing the cost of victory. (Remind me to tell you about the missing cleat-bolt one--it's a goody.) When I wreck on a road bike (which is pretty rare), I'm usually doing something crazy like taking a corner too fast.

When I wreck on my rollers, it's just plain embarrassing.

And yet, embarrassing stories make good stories with the added benefit of leaving everyone else feeling better about themselves. This is that kind of story.

The Set Up

I ride on rollers, and my rollers have a small resistance unit. I've never disabled the resistance unit. I figure if I'm on the rollers, I want to get the best work-out in the shortest period of time. I've also signed up for to do a 100-mile ride on my rollers on Saturday. Normally, this time of year, I'd be outside full-time with my Hometrainer tires safely packed away until the winter. In order to build up my rollers-resistance, though, I've been riding the rollers more and more.

I realized, the other day, that if I'm going for distance, I needed to ratchet up my average speed on the rollers. I took off the resistance unit. As it turns out, without the increase in wind resistance that comes logarithmically with the increase of speed, I can speed up on my rollers without any perceptible increase in effort. Maintaining 27-30mph outside is hard. On the rollers, it means just shifting into the big ring. Those poor rollers sound like they're going to explode at that speed, though.

Crash 1. Ride time: 00:00:00
It was early this morning, before the house was awake, and I decided on a whim to try starting on the rollers without using a wall or some other solid object to balance myself until I got going. It turns out, this is harder to do than I thought it would be. I made it about 1/2 of a pedal stroke before I lost balance and fell. It's unfortunate that I'm another 6-8 inches above the ground when I'm on the rollers.

Luckily, I ride in a room that has become our "storage" room, so I didn't fall far before a metal filing cabinet "broke" my fall. Ouch.

Crash 2: Ride time: 00:04:37

With a minor bruise on my leg and only a minor bruise to my ego (everyone was still asleep and none-the-wiser), I was riding again and "cruising along" at around "26mph". [He actually wasn't moving at all, of course, because he was on the rollers. - Ed.] For some reason, my balance got off and I started to lean towards the wall on my left side (opposite of the way I fell just five minutes earlier). Unfortunately, my bike really took off as the angle to the ground decreased and slid out from underneath me to my right. This might have been because of the speed. I'm not sure. All I know is I went down pretty hard.

Hard enough that I'm still in pain. Somehow, I crashed my bike indoors while going really fast nowhere. And I crashed hard enough that I pulled a muscle in my neck. I think I was trying to catch my fall with my head against a pile of boxes. (Storage room, remember?)

Lessons Learned?
I tried to get on, but the rollers won this time. After less than five-minute's work-out, I was done for the day. As I gingerly leaned my bike against the wall, I noticed my saddle was twisted as well.

Humbly, I walked upstairs to find the bottle of ibuprofen. 100 "miles" of this? It just might be my most damaging century yet.

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