As per usual lately, there is a big gap between cycles. So a 5 mile spin on the flat turns feels like I’m going up the Tourmalet on the big ring, and yesterday was no exception. But I have about 10 weeks to my first 100km cycle for the year, and even though things are fairly chaotic time-wise, that’s more than enough to start getting miles in.
With that in mind I said I’d potter off yesterday for a handy 15 miles or so. As per usual I thought I couldn’t possibly be as weak or unfit as I felt after 5 miles, but very slowly I started to feel a (little) bit better. The breathing got a bit easier, speed picked up and I was able to enjoy things. I was actually thinking to myself how much better I was feeling when the heavens started to open. It was only a shower although quite heavy, and since i was about 4 miles from home I said I’d up the tempo and try find a bit of shelter. As I turned a corner I saw a wall just off the road, just enough to shelter, so I started to sprint the 200m or so to it. I just started to unclip and brake as I pulled off the road, BANG! Bloody gravel! Straight down on my knee, hip, shoulder.
Doing what any self-respecting man would do, the first thing I did was jump up and look around, make sure nobody saw it. But of course there was a little Mondeo with an elderly couple about 200 yards away. By the time I had stood up and dragged the bike off the road they had stopped and wound down the window: she looked quite upset. But once I figured that nothing was broken (first I checked the collarbone, then the bike) I gave a thumbs and off they went.I was a bit sore on the way home, and it took a mile to loosen out, thankfully it was only 4 rather than 40 miles!
Now, this isn’t exactly a hardcore story of someone cycling a 20-stage race with 3 broken ribs or something. But considering this was the first time I fell off a bike in about 20 years (apart from the first day I was clipped in and forgot about it, but that was a very low-speed maneuver but generally I’m very cautious), it was a bit of a shock. I’m very lucky that nothing is broken, and apart from being a pretty stiff knee and sore elbow I couldn’t have gotten off much lighter (16 stone at 15 mph is a lot of momentum! Plus a lot of that went through the shoulder, so the very first thing I checked was my collarbone). The main thing is it’s a reminder to pay attention.