Coming off the bike is never nice.
I never crashed a bike when I was 20 stone so I wonder if the extra “padding” I had would've helped cushion the fall? It's all irrelevant now, the fact is that skin, bone and muscle take a bash when you fall off, asphalt is very unyielding and lycra is about as protective as your mum's best doiley.
“A cyclist is always between crashes.”
A friend of mine offered that helpful tip to me after binning it. The next nugget from a club mate was a congratulatory tweet on opening my crash account so early in the winter. You can't think about crashing even if it is inevitable that at some point you will crash again, it's not the best thing in the world to do, but low-siding on a diesel spill isn't the worst thing either. There, I'm rationalising it, it's difficult to write how I feel about it but I accept that at some point I might crash again and that's that, there's no point worrying about it, sure I'll take precaution, looking for fuel spills, potholes, dodgy surfaces is part and parcel of riding a bike, being sensible and vigilant is the way forward.
How's the bike?
The worst thing about crashing, the absolute worst thing, is the damage to the bike. It's always the first thought that fires through your brain after you've kissed the tarmac. The scratches on levers, damage to paintwork, broken accessories are appraised through a hot flush of shame that you might have done something to prevent the damage to your pride and joy. Luckily the bike has only sustained superficial damage due to the spills that I've had.
My latest crash has left me with a damaged UCL (ulnar collateral ligament), which means I get to wear a nice “granny's tights”-coloured thumb support for the next week or two. Gripping the bars isn't safe at the moment so alternative methods of turning my legs have been secured – yes, it's turbo time. But what else can you do when you're off the bike for longer than you want to be?
Firstly, get planning, plan what you're aims are for next year and how you're going to achieve them, this might be how you're going to complete your first sportive, do your first 100 miler or in my case, get a Cat 3 race license.
Do your admin. Get your training plan together, sort your kit out, do any repairs, clean and service the bike, check your tyres over, replace those worn out brake pads that are slowly eating into your rims. Basically, make sure that when you get back on your bike, both you and your kit are as good as they can be.
Find something you can do. It's easy to say “I can't ride” then not do anything, you might be able to run though, or ride on a static bike. Find something to keep you ticking over, for your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health.
Finally, earn some brownie points. If you've been under pressure from home to put up some shelves, spend more time with the kids, sort out the cycling mags that are slowly overtaking the place or just be around a bit more, then do it. Use the time away from cycling to those things you've been putting off all summer, get them done as you'll soon be back into the swing of things and they'll be forgotten... again.
This blog is to remind me of these things as I prepare for a bit of time off the bike, most of all though I'll be focussing on what I do after I get back on the road. Looking for diesel patches will be the primary concern but ice and bad weather are also going to play their part at some point – vigilance and common sense are the best things to keep from falling again.
But now, for me, turbo. I hate the turbo. That's definitely the worst thing about crashing.