Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Life - First Attempt

A bit dejected.

It took me somewhere in the range of 3 hours to get the bike set up on the trainer. It's not as easy as it may seem, although it wasn't quite as hard as it could have been.

I got the bike downstairs, got the heart rate belt for the SRM, even got the SRM. Optimistically I wanted to see how I would do, heart rate and cadence. Power, too, but that was just extra.

Ironically it's been so long I forgot where I stashed the front wheel stand, but it was right there, next to the trainer.

I also brought down a laptop so I could Netflix something (World War 2 thing if you must know). I'd spent some time upgrading the RAM in three different machines recently so it felt good to be using some of that RAM for a good cause.

In a twist of fate, I decided to wear the shorts that I had on when I crashed. Almost in perfect shape, just a few small holes in the side.

In case you forgot what a pair of Verge shorts looks like after a fall that fractures a pelvis in two places and causes a bunch of road rash under said pair of shorts.

I am a huge fan of Verge gear and their support of the sport. I can't emphasize that enough. The support for the sport, fine. But their gear is absolutely top notch and super durable. I still have my Verge gear, worn regularly on the trainer, that I got as long as 6 years ago. And they make the best, brightest, and rich looking winter jackets as well - I have a few of them now, two old team ones, one from my 2009 team. Excellent pieces, all of them. Great bib knickers too. Hm. I'll have to do a separate Verge post or something.


I got my socks on (Verge also, and on their last legs after 6 years of daily use, both on and off the bike), probably the most challenging part of dressing myself due to the sharp pain of the ankle wound. Although I try not to touch it, just stretching the sock around my ankle hurts because the skin tugs on the wound.

My shoes went on - I realized how much my feet have swollen as I was about 7 or 8 clicks looser than normal. Riding should bring it down, so I looked forward to bottoming out the click strap.

When my feet are normal those straps are snugged down all the way. The haphazard look is how the shoes were after the EMT took them off. Or maybe it was SOC. Someone I can't recall in my pain haze.

I also brought my cell phone and cordless home phone in with me, just in case something (like my right leg) kept me from getting off the bike. If I got totally stuck on the bike, I would call the missus. In fact, during a phone call before I got on the bike, she asked that I call her when I got off the bike, just so she knew that I was okay.

She loves me. Well, that and she has a reason to be worried.

I've been known to fall off the trainer (or technically fall over with the bike and trainer, as a unit) and not say a word as I try and figure out how to get out of the bike-trainer trap. The missus ran into the living room after one such incident and found me turtled on the floor, feet clipped in, heavy trainer weighing my bike down.

See, I was watching the Giro, and Bugno on Spinergy Rev-X wheels, and the guy near him leaned way over and stuck his knee out like he was on a GP motorcycle. I thought, no, could it really help? Is it possible? It's on the tape, but can it work for real?

I leaned off the side of the bike, stuck my knee out...

And toppled over.

Luckily my knee was all of a foot off the floor, so I didn't fall that far, but I couldn't unclip and I couldn't really reach the pedals.

The missus helpfully banged on the shoes, unclipping me, and I got back up and on the bike.

Anyway, since then and until just recently, I think the missus worried more when I got on the trainer than when I started a race. My "crash" record on the trainer is pretty high. I have to admit that there were a few other incidents in the basement of the old house, plus one trainer that short circuited and literally started smoking while I was riding.

Lots of trainer incidents.

In races?

Not as many.

More recently I've had two falls. One topple at Hartford, where I stopped and toppled, and one unusual unclip where my back wheel skipped, my shoe unclipped, and I fell over, all while trying to sprint out of a corner.

I have to go back to about 1993-4 before I fell before that, a series of crashes while setting up for the finals laps of some hotly contested races.

P123 at Scotch Plains, sitting 5th, guy came up the inside and lost it. Slid through me and a few other guys as he went across the 3rd last turn. I think J-Me (as he was known back then) Carney won. If only...

3s at Nutley. 2 to go, sitting maybe 10th. Guy moved up the inside, got squeezed, went down. A bunch of us ended up tumbling to the ground. I'd gotten 11th a different year, led out the sprint.

P123s at New Britain. Massive brake check on the main straight. I bailed going left, avoiding a huge stack up. Looked up to see a guy lateral his baby kid to his wife as he started leaping backwards. I slammed into him, went flying. Baby, mom safe. I was banged up but okay. I tried to apologize but the dad was a racer, understood.

One more in a 5 week period. Then a wet skating fall in Danbury, maybe two years later.

And then nothing for a long, long time.

Anyway, the missus thinks I fall off the trainer more than I fall on the road, and for the last 15 years, that's been true.

So, I prepared once again to get on the trainer. First time in 5 weeks and a day that I've had my cycling gear on, first time I was about to get on the bike.

I threw my leg over the bike.

The phone rang.

I grabbed it. The missus.

"I just threw my leg over the bike."
"Are you finishing up or starting?"
"It's been 3 hours. Are you okay?"
"Yeah, it just took a while to get everything down here."
"I was working when I realized it'd been 3 hours since we talked and I got a bit worried that I hadn't heard from you. Okay, have a good spin."
"Okay, talk to you later."

I clipped in my left leg, my good one. Placed the right shoe on the pedal. I wasn't sure if I could unclip that side so I didn't clip in.

I pedaled down once on the left pedal.

My leg felt like a caveman just grabbed it and tried to rip it off my body.

I let my right leg dangle, resting my toes on the trainer. The one-leg drill position.

Pedaled again.

It felt like a fancy French chef was delicately slicing through my pelvis with a set of finely honed knives.

I picked up the phone, dialed the missus.

"I just want to let you know I'm getting off the bike now."
"That was quick."
"I can't pedal so I'm stopping. I wanted to let you know so you wouldn't worry."
"Oh. I'm sorry it hurt."
"I thought I could ride, but it just hurts too much. Even if I just pedal with my left leg, it tugs on the right or something."

A pause.

"I wonder if you spoke too soon when you said you'd be able to go for a spin in Vegas."


"Um. I'll be okay. I'm healing really quickly. It's a week away."

Fingers crossed.

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