Monday, March 26, 2012

when a biker crashes...

and no one is around to see it... is there a reason?

Saturday I hit up Wompatuck with no real route in mind.  I had thought about going down to check out Burlingame (even though I wasn't racing on Sunday) but when I realized it was an hour and 3/4 drive I decided against it.  I had also thought about going to the race to take pictures... but again, the distance and the 9am start kind of made that an unlikely event.

So, Saturday I rode around Wompatuck.  My general idea was to get 20+ miles.  With no pre-set route I was free to just ride.  Wompatuck is big, but it is hard to get lost (or at least lost for long) as there are a plethora of old paved paths that will lead back to the road and major trail intersections are well marked (assuming you have a map - or knowledge of the area).  My ride started well.  My legs were feeling pretty good - definitely stronger.  The weather was great for riding - low 50s, and the trails were in fantastic condition (some blow down here and there, but overall things were great).

I wore my new long sleeve merino jersey and that thing is sweet ass!!  It's made by Icebreaker.
I got a large, and all I can say is that I'm glad I've shed some pounds (and continue to do so) because it was tight.  Not so tight that it was uncomfortable or restricted movement, etc... but it is tight.  I've never worn merino wool before and wasn't sure what to expect.  When I tried it on I wasn't sure how warm it would actually be as it felt super light weight.  I decided to try it out on Saturday with temps in the low 50s because I figured my jacket would be too much and a ss jersey alone wouldn't be enough.  Well, it was PERFECT!!  It somehow managed to keep in body heat while also keeping me cool... as I flew down trails I could feel the cool air - but it felt good.... never got a chill from it (even when I soaked my back with an exploding water bottle... more about that later).

I ended up my ride with 25.8 miles and something to explore on my next (non-ride) visit.  I came across a whole section (so I guess there are areas I haven't ridden) of old abandoned buildings along an old railroad line.  Just a lot of opportunities for some great shots so I MUST go back with the camera and see what I can get.  But, let's get to exploding water bottle....

So I was following a bit of the race course and at one point I wasn't exactly sure which trail to take (turn or continue straight).  I stayed straight and as I was flying down the trail I saw ahead a slight bend with the outside having a slight berm to boulder.  Somehow, someway, something got caught up and I took a spill.  It felt as though something had grabbed my derailleur and flipped my rear in the air... I tried to keep my balance but soon felt like a spill was inevitable so I tried to separate from my bike.  I landed on my left elbow/side with my bike away from my body - but of course still tangled in my legs.  As the dust settled I saw a water bottle top laying in the trail in front of my face.  I look to the bottle on my bike and it's in tact, so I quickly reach back to my jersey and pull the open bottle from my pocket.  At this point I was more concerned with my bike than anything else so I methodically look it over and everything was fine!  My shins on the other hand were beat to hell, but overall ok.

I could not for the life of me figure out how the crash happened.  There wasn't anything there that snagged my bike... it was a mystery.  I continued my ride and soon forgot the crash... except for the wet jersey.  But even though I was wet - I didn't feel wet... if that makes any sense?  The jersey did not retain a chill from the spill, so I probably just looked a mess to other trail users after that point.  I didn't take any pictures before continuing my ride, but before the day was done I decided to find my way back to investigate the scene further.

approach to the scene... looks like a nice turn, right?
ride the outside... that's the plan
ground disturbance....
So, there was a nice divot in the area where the "accident" occurred... but what caused it?  Like I said, it felt like something had grabbed from behind... like a derailleur pull or something.  But there was nothing around that could have grabbed it, and of course no damage to my derailleur....

So I set my bike up to check if I could have hit the ground with a pedal.  I thought I had my pedals parallel to the ground, but maybe not??  

Nope, inside pedal doesn't reach... 

outside doesn't reach either...
Maybe I had the inside pedal down by mistake?

Maybe I wasn't as far to the outside as I thought and I had my outside foot down??
It's a freakin mystery!  Now that I'm back home thinking about it the only thing I can imagine is that I dislodged a rock (my rear wheel bouncing over it - thus giving my that feeling of my rear wheel lifting??) and that divot is where it had been resting?

As I worked my way down the trail there were a number of impact areas on the trail before I came to my final resting spot... the whole spill must have been a sight to see!!

Initial impact zone
circles in the upper right are from the picture above.  bottom circles were about where my feet/bike came to rest - body further down the trail.
Top circle is accident spot, lower circles are from the first impact zone - picture taken from where my bike came to rest. 
It's one of those crashes that will go down in the books as a head scratcher.  Bike wasn't hurt, I have no major injuries, so we just keep rolling forward.  
Back to the original question: When a biker crashes and no one is around to see it, is there a reason?  My answer is: NO
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does it make a sound?  That one is not so clear... what I can tell you is that the trees in Wompatuck are a little scary...

ok, relax!! I won't...
"Death is Coming" "He is Very Close"... ok then, I'll just keep on riding, maybe a little faster now!!

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