When you see a crash at high speeds in the grand tours you automatically wince and wonder how the riders slide, in a way, rather elegantly before coming to a stop and more often than not standing up and impatiently waiting for a replacement bike… Unfortunately last Tuesday 20 mins into my last training session in the south of France I discovered what it is actually like to crash at high speed and slide down the road. One thing I can say for sure, my respect to professional cyclists went up another notch…
My training for that day was a short bike session involving 3 X 10 min race efforts with 3 min recoveries before a 16km easy run. 20 min into the bike I got onto the fastest part of the loop I was riding and put my head down to gain some speed. I failed to see the Wok sized dip in the road and it jumped the front end of the bike enough to throw my elbows off the tri-bar pads and and that was that, no way I could save myself going down hard on my right side at 36mph (sad enough to check on my Garmin profile afterwards). I slid long enough to worry about having work the next day and a race on the 16th and even time to think ‘am I actually going to stop sliding soon’? Once I did stop, I got to my feet on the other side of the road and immediately started to panic about the bike, not realising the extent of my injuries. 30 mins later, I was on my way to the hospital to get cleaned up after the realisation of just having a shower, getting some bandages on them and manning up wasn’t going to ‘cut it’. On that note, without having Jodie to organise me going to the hospital I probably wouldn’t have, but the reality was the three bad scrapes on my hand, elbow and hip which you can’t quite see in the picture below needed proper attention. Sometimes you have to admit you’re hurt and need special attention.
Post crash thoughts
Last year I was doing my last long run before Manchester marathon and I was in such a good mood I decided to jump over a gate, 2 hours later I was back home on crutches with a broken foot. All I could think about was not jumping over that bloody gate and really gave myself a hard time over it. Instantly after crashing this time I could only think to myself, well… that was unlucky. There was no ‘i shouldn’t have done that’ or ‘I wish I had gone a different route instead’ because everything was done as it should have been. I had ridden the route the day before and knew where I was going to be picking the speed up. The fact was I just didn’t see the dip in the road, and there is nothing I could do about it. My thoughts settled at it is what it is let’s just worry about getting healed up. Nearly a week on I’m starting to miss training a lot, and I’m not healing as fast as I had expected. Sleep is tough and it’s getting very annoying having to change bandages every day but my mind isn’t on the crash and doing things differently, its on getting back on my bike asap and what else can I do to heal faster. Another thought helped mainly through friends and family telling me, is, just how lucky I am not to have been hurt further. A car could have been coming the other way, I could have hit my head, I could have broken bones, I could have hit a wall or a sign post. As far as crashes over 30mph go, luck was definitely in the air.
I also found a new level of pain, thanks to a French doctor and a spiked brush that gets the grit out of cuts. Zero remorse was shown by him.
Training plan adjustments
Amending plans is part of the game, I obviously didn’t expect this much of an amendment but hey ho, curve balls and all that. So I’ve pulled out of the middle distance I was doing on the 16th and hopefully will be ok to do Castle Howard middle on the 23rd. Training between now and then will be centred around getting my body optimal and not breaking it down further through training, it has enough to recover from without further depletion. What that means is Castle Howard middle is likely not to be my best performance but it’s race time that I need with the big one in September only 60 odd days away.
Pictures below showing how the healing is coming on, very lucky not to have broken anything. I have lots of other scrapes and cuts but the three major ones are below.