Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Crashing The Party

Someone told me there are 2 types of bike racers, those who have crashed and those who haven't. I was very happy to fall into the latter of the two, until tonight. I had my first smash and while it hurts it really wasn't as bad as it could have been. It happened on an uphill sprint you see so there wasn't too much skin loss but I landed hard on my shoulder and thought I might have done in my collar bone. Alas it was just a hard landing and unlike my legs it seems my upper body has some resilience. We were sprinting pretty hard - out of the saddle stuff.

It was the biggest smackdown I've ever done and the biggest group I've ever ridden in. About 12 people altogether. We set out steady but I was not comfortable in the pack so I hit the front and pushed the pace. No one was in trouble which was a good sign. The smackdown was taking shape and that shape was one of suffering and torture. On Austin I hit the front again and pushed the pace on my pull up the hill. A group of 4 of us broke away. I'd never ridden with the other 3 guys although I have seen Donnie ride around Providence a lot. He is the spitting image of my friend Hamish Thorpe. I've no pics to show you so you'll have to take my word for it. Anyway, it was Donnie who made the first move and only Evan responded. I was dropped as was Evan's team-mate but not really dropped, rather we took our time bridging which we did comfortably before the first of 2 climbs up to the first sprint point. It was on the first climb that I made my effort, about 450 yards out. The three lads grabbed my wheel, something that I had not experienced recently or expected. I was pushing hard and slowly Evan and I gapped the other two. About 150 yards out from the line, just as the hill was about to level out Evan came around me. We both held our ground and then next thing my quick release got caught in his back wheel and I ripped out 5 of his spokes, causing me to flip off the bike and onto my shoulder. It all happened so quickly. I was on my back and my shoulder was very sore. Evan was pissed because he has been having bad luck with losing spokes lately and I was very nervous because he has a new frame. I didn't realize until an hour later that he actually didn't go down! So at the end of the day we both lost spokes, I need new handle bar tape, and we both missed out on what surly would have been an awesome training ride full of attacks. I was so excited all afternoon for this and its such a letdown to have it end. Its my last smackdown of the season given I'll be traveling for the next 2 Tuesdays.

My love/hate with biking continues. I LOVE the pain, the suffering, the tactics, and the constant attacks. I don't love the fact that the machines and everything else cost so much compared to running and I don't love that punctures or crashes happen so often. I mean, how have they not come up with ways to prevent punctures! I don't like all the nutrition and the need to constantly drink/eat. I struggle with drafting. I'm not comfortable on someones wheel so I tend to lead a lot which means I will never really win anything. But the pain is awesome. Its a killer sport and I find that it is easier to really punish myself because I'm not great and there is no pounding. In running my knees get sore before I get tired these days. So where's the fun in that? Onward and upward. Getting a new bike very soon and will put another winter in the legs so I can race a full season next year. Down but not out.........

Love kel


  1. I have thought very similarly about the reliance on machine, it dirties the purity of effort.

  2. You know your not that wrong. Love in running that there is no advantage in equipment, generally speaking. Yeah some shoes are lighter but really, $200 bucks and you have all you need. The difference between race wheels and training wheels alone is huge not to mention the $1500 it costs to get fast wheels. But this is the game now bro so I gotta roll with it. Thats why I drink the Gansett now, $2 a can, can't go wrong there!

  3. Well done on the first spill man,albeit extremely clumsily, which hardly surprises me given the fact that you managed to crash and puncture my bike on a 15 minute solo spin around Meadowview via Bully's Acre!

    The quick release should always be closed in towards the frame! That way, it can't get caught in anyone's wheel Kel. Funny the way these lessons are always learned the hard way.

    As for never being any good on the bike because you can't ride in a bunch...pfft. Anticipation. You always have to be one step ahead when riding in a group at speeds in excess of 40kms an hour. You'll get in after a while. May I suggest playing some bike hockey on some grass to get the feel for bumping off other riders. Works a treat.

    Anyway man, keep 'er lit.

    Love, Chris


  4. Bummer man.

    Bike fit is another issue you've got. You're still young enough to make it work, but you'll find with saddle to bar drop like on your current bike, you have slightly less control in situations like that.

    I'll be honest, that crash never should have happened. I wasn't there and can't say, and accidents happen, but that wasn't the first time Evan has cut someone off in a sprint. I can't but hope that it was purely unintentional but if deliberate that's dirty riding and really uncalled for (as evidenced by the crash).

    I'm glad it sounds like your shoulder will heal up.

    Oh and unlike running shoes, bikes tend to last a bit longer.

    How long does a pair of shoes last you? A year? two years? 2 months? How many pairs of shoes do you own? One bike can last ya 10 years (or in my case pushing 15). So when you factor that in, the price isn't really crazy out of line. Of course you can always buy more and more expensive stuff.

    Or you can show up with heavy old shit and still destroy everyone on $10k rides.

    You gotta try cyclocross. I'm gonna wager you'd get f'n hooked on that shit. Take the fear of eating shit at 30+ mph on pavement away, give you change of terrain, pacing, sprints, some running and put it in the fall and the cool weather... I can't help but think it would click with you.

  5. GeWille, lets discuss further. Maybe it is just what I need for bike handling. As for cost with bikes, I guess i failed to mention that I've been sponsored for 12 years as a runner and have not paid for any running gear/shoes etc since 1996. Anyway, bike stuff is cooler and I'm not being negative. i have totally caught the bug. Love it. The crash should not have happened but we were both out of the saddle sprinting and next I was on my back. I will go to the shop and check out cyclocross bikes........Hope all is well me man!

    Crawlor, I did manage to mess up your bike in 15 minutes, a sign of the times really. But I got 2 years on a road bike with no crashes. My quick release was not flush against my frame, amateur I know. Eamonn would not be happy with me. I knew i should have bought a Dawes bike back in the day and joined Drogheda Wheelers!

  6. I sort of kind of guessed that you probably haven't bought a pair of shoes in a long time, if ever. Wasn't trying to suggest you were being negative, just offering a way to compare equipment to equipment.

    And hell, you figure this riding in a pack shit and you'll have people giving you bike shit for free in no time.

  7. Hey Keith

    Jay Cech here....
    Good to see you riding!
    I raced for the Guinness Cycling Team a few years back...the manager turned out to be a bit of a nut...so i don't ride for them anymore.
    So i have a bunch of Guinness Cycling clothes i don't wear anymore that i could send your way.

    Let me know


  8. Wow JAY! Shoot me your email, kelrock@gmail.com and we can catch up!

    Nice one,


  9. you need to find a cross bike and hit some races this fall. races are typically around an hour of pure pain. not nearly as much in the way of tactics/drafting etc.

  10. Tim, right there with ya. Buying a cross bike this week!

  11. Kel,

    I hadn't heard about this incident. Sorry to hear, but glad that it's just a little soreness. I'm excited to follow your new foray into Cyclo-X. Hope to see you racing down in Roger Williams Park! We need to "hit" the roads again soon. (Pardon the pun...)