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Friday, January 1, 2010

1/1/2010 First Ride - First Crash

The title pretty much says it all.

It rained overnight and into the morning, raising the question "would we ride?"
The rain let up around 9:00 am - Start time - and I hurried to catch the group after arriving about 15 min late. The roads up Mt. Diablo were slick but the clouds were breaking up, and I was quickly sweating as I rode to catch up. I caught them a few miles before the ranger station, and from there I slowed to take in the view. Near the top I picked up the pace again while chatting with some new acquaintances, and climbed the final 18% grade in the best form ever.

At the top I donned long gloves, arm warmers, jacket, etc. after meeting up with the rest of our group.

Then we descended.

Did I mention that the roads were slick?

I've descended this mountain fifty times if once. Over time I've noted all the areas where I would be likely to biff if given the chance. I got the chance on this ride. I came around a corner below the ranger station at a reasonable speed, but touched the brakes a little too much. I really think I could have made the corner if I had just stayed off the brakes and trusted my Michelins. Too late. My back wheel locked and I skidded on the wet pavement. I backed off the brakes then, but the physics were fatally altered. I chose a line through the rough gravel on the shoulder shifting briefly into Mountain Bike mode, but the rock face had my number. Everything sped up and slowed down simultaneously, and next thing I knew I was spitting pink gravel.

My comrades arrived on the scene one by one and made temporary repairs to my bike and Milt offered to ride down and return with his truck. The wheels were fine, and nothing critical was broke. Unfortunately my front brake was tweaked pretty good, and the guys had to flip it over to keep it from rubbing. My rear brakes were fine but my right hand was slowly loosing feeling, having taken the brunt of the impact. I could operate the brake by pulling back on the lever, while avoiding squeezing with my thumb. I decided to ride it down. Slow.

The group was great and someone tailed me for the whole rest of the descent. Milt graciously documented the event with most of these pictures.

I will look over the bike tomorrow when - hopefully - I can use my right hand a little better. Yes, I'm using it right now to type, but it's pretty slow going.

In all - Not a bad way to start off the year. If I have to crash this year - may as well get it over with.

Following are the stats...

Road rash right shoulder, right forearm, right knee, and cheek (face cheek :))
Cut all 4 fingers right hand, knee, face, lips.
Blood blisters on 2 fingers right hand.
Hyper extended right thumb.
Sore and stiffening rapidly - everything from my knees up.

Bike - Not sure. Will look at it again tomorrow. But, the brakes should be fine.

Gear - Small tear in 2 glove fingers (not bad at all considering the damage to my hands), Small tear in 1 sleeve of rain jacket, Helmet scratched but no real damage, 1 lens of sunglasses scratched beyond repair, everything else covered with mud.

Pride - Damaged, but not beyond repair.

The Guys and Gals I ride with - The best in the world.