16 May 2009


It was to be a short ride, and with 4 guys it was going pretty well. Enough NW wind to require shared pulls on the way out, but not so stiff as last week's rough go. I had to be home mid-morning, because it is a fabulous family weekend. So the route would take us north and west into St. Charles, then head south and east - the idea being to catch a tail wind home.

At what turned out to be almost exactly half-way, I had a spectacular crash. Now, if a really good crash requires injuries, hospitalization, blood, and the anxiety of the peleton ... well, then it wasn't all that spectacular. But for me, it was. And I hope it is the most spectacular crash I ever have!

We were south-bound, at a pretty good pace, along IL rte 25 in Geneva/Batavia, just south of the Geneva Spur crossing. I was at the back, and calling out "car back" as appropriate along this stretch. Traffic was fairly light, so when I called out "car back" I wasn't in a big rush to move over. I slowed a bit and moved, but moved too soon, and connected with Jim's rear wheel.

This has been a pretty good year in that regard. A couple of years ago I was always bumping someone's wheel, then gyrating back into control. The physics of the thing are that it is the cyclist in back, doing the bumping, who will go down. Sure, it is disconcerting for the guy being bumped ... and I have taken some fair ribbing for this. I tend to ride too close.

Jim said, later, that not only did he feel the bump, but felt the pressure of our tires in contact. Yeah, I got that, too. I swerved, dipped, and this time could not pull back and stay on course. Knowing the car was behind and approaching, I shouted - now, what good did that do?? - and went down. The bike slid left from under me, and I landed on my right side. Slid. Saw the curb approach, and somehow rolled up and over the curb without breaking anything.

I say "somehow" - let me be more specific: God was good to me, and aside from some road rash and a little plastic, my bike and I are no worse for wear. I'll be sore a while, and cautious a while longer yet. But that road, that car, that curb ... I thank God that I am sitting here practically pain free on the same day!

Damage report: pretty impressive knee scrape; great rash which only my wife and I will see (which, since my shorts didn't tear, stayed nice and clean through the ride), a small piece of plastic missing from my STI shifter hood, a little scrape on the bike. I did not hit my head, and none of my clothes tore.

So, I hope I can say "OK, now I've crashed." But I won't count on that. My experience tells me otherwise. For today, at least, it turned out OK and hopefully I will always be able to look back on it as "the worst."

09 May 2009

Somewhere between Oz and Pooh Corners

It was a very blustery day - that's the Pooh.
And we may have seen Dorothy and Toto ... on today's very windy ride.
6am start from Prairie Trail Center, with winds WNW/NW in the mid-20s mph, with gusts. And I mean gusts.

5 of us rode south and west to Sugar Grove, where at about 27 miles of riding our avg. speed was 15.3mph. That's down about 1.5 from a normal ride to Sugar Grove. After our pit stop at the BP station, we took our loop west and north, noting as we did that those winds did seem to be shifting. Was our WNW "ace in the hole" going to let us down on the return? Well, suffice to say when we returned .com said winds were NNW. We knew it! At least they had not - yet - turned east! Also the winds were down in the teens, with gusts up to 25. Hey, that's practically nothing!

We all took our turn pulling into the wind. Mine, I must say, was short, and probably the least necessary, being part of our roll through Batavia. Jon and Randy - clearly our strongest riders - did the lions' shares. My best pull was on the return leg, coming out of Kaneville, and I guess it was ... well, someone has to be in front. I set a pace of about 21-22 mph with the wind at our back and side. Pretty exhilarating especially after the last longish slog heading due north.

So, for me, 2 rides this week, totaling 110 miles. I still need to be on the bike for short rides throughout the week if I am going to really enjoy the Saturday rides. Today was nice, though ... afterwards, sure, but most of the time during as well.

08 May 2009

Rough Grooved Surface

As Dave Barry used to say, "that would be a great name for a rock band" ...

But as a sign on a familiar bike ride, it is not so welcome.

Fabyan Parkway, west of Batavia is torn up for re-surfacing. With any luck, in a couple of weeks this will be the nicest new road in Kane County!.

44 miles today with friend Fred. Good stuff!