Saturday, November 04, 2006

Blood, Sweat and No Tears

Ah, the joys of cycling.

On Wednesday night Hawthorn held the first of its Summer criteriums. I conservatively decided to race in B grade because I'd been off the bike since the Melbourne Warnambool. Anyway at the twenty minute mark after the field had come back together after an intermediate sprint the bloke in front of me clashed wheels with another rider and came down. I went over the top of this guy at 45km/h, and another two riders came piling in on top of us.

I got absolutely shredded! I've got skin off both knees, elbows, flanks and my back. It's like somebody has taken to me with a giant cheese grater. I've had five stitches put in two cuts on my right arm, but the road rash is what hurts the most. My knicks have been shredded, but the bike came out of the incident relatively unscathed. The only problems were a broken 53 chain ring, and a slight knock to the front wheel. The doctors in emergency were a bit amazed by how nonchelant i was with my injuries. I think as a rider you put yourself through a lot of pain out on the road. So gettings stitched up, and having the wounds intensively 'cleaned' isn't that distressing. I told the nurses my policy- 'Only cry when you're training- if you're not crying you aren't working hard enough.' I don't want to blow too much smoke up my own arse- but I was amazed at how far I've come in terms of general resilience, and ability to suffer pain. If this happened to me before I rode I would have been a jibbering mess. Cycling sure as hell toughens you up.

Campagnolo wheels are utterly incredible. I currently roll on 2006 Zondas and they are bomb proof. I had shimano wheels on my old bike, and a set of 32 hole box sectioned wheels that both were nowhere near as stiff and durable as the campys. Everyone out there roll with Fulcrums or Campy wheels because they are the strongest and most reliable wheels by a mile. Don't bother with Kysriums whatever you do. I think people get sucked into the fact that they are lighter- forget 100grams- you want something that will hold you through until the end of a race, or not fail when you're out in the middle of nowhere on a 150km training ride. Go campy.

But talk about knocking the wind out of the sails. The last week has been pretty depressing. Crashes seem to be pretty common at the start of the summer crits. People come out of the woodwork after not racing all year and suddenly discover they aren't as fit as they should be halfway through the race. An important part of cycling for me revolves around gaining a greater understanding of your body and its limitations. It's really disappointing when people engage in the self deception of racing above their ability becuase ultimately you are putting the health and well being of yourself and other riders at risk. It's the same problem with the Hell Ride- If you can't keep up, don't put yourself in a position where you make a stupid decision and risk lives. Know your limits for your own sake, and everybody elses.

This crash has put me back a bit- I was hoping to race the Melbourne Cup on Wheels and the Tour of Bright. I'll definately go to the tour of bright, but the MCOW is probably a late scratching. That's not so bad because it will give me a bit of time to get my track legs firing in time for the Austral or some of the later Track opens. I can't wait to get back on the bike after a longer break than anticipated. I was intending to have a bit of a break in early November anyway- so things haven't been disrupted that much I guess. But as a cyclist/bike commuter, the worst feeling I know in the world is having shredded legs.


Blogger larson_b said...

tought break boss.. look forward to checking the scars out...

11:31 PM  

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