The Dream Star's Corner

Dare to Dream...and DO!
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Saturday, July 7, 2012

My first bike crash

It finally happened. I went down. I crashed...and it was traumatic. Ok, well it felt a lot worse than it really was.




I went to my first newbie ride a couple of nights ago with the triathlon club and it was rough! We met at a park and I assumed the ride was through the park for some reason. I've never road my bike with traffic before...ever! So when we headed out to a main road with moderate traffic and no shoulder or bike lane, I did everything I could not to freak out. I coached myself and said "Ok, KJ, just go in a straight line. Don't brake. You have people behind you." But when I did that, I felt my bike pull to the right, and I proceeded to let out every expletive I knew. Falling to the right would've landed me on a steep ditch with branches and trees. But I made it down the road without falling. We turned onto a much quieter road and it was much nicer  - scenic even. I regained my composure and hugged the shoulder since there wasn't a bike lane. 

Then...it happened. My bike was starting to go right again, while I was going down a slight decline so braking wasn't helping. This time, I tried to steer to the left and lost my balance. The bike and I took a tumble off of the side of the road. Thankfully I didn't do any real damage to me or the bike. I have some scrapes on my leg and on my arm, but nothing serious. 
My poor forearm... the least of the wounds

A little blood and mud for good measure



No bruising. But I have to say that I was mentally toast after that. I was so angry with myself. I can sometimes be really hard on myself when I don't get something right. And I guess it didn't help that earlier in the week the cycling leader kept talking about someone wrecking last week and how annoyed she was with it. I didn't want to be that person and there I was, in the brush, holding up the entire ride. I got over it, grabbed my bike and got back on. I tried my best to do what I could but at that point, I didn't want to do anything to relive that incident again so I had a hard time staying to the right. I also stopped focusing on shifting and didn't make it up any of the steep hills on my bike. So I had to walk. Then it started to rain but by then, I was riding with the "sweeper" cycling coach (the one who stays with the stragglers) and another tri club member who I befriended at the hills workout who stayed back with me. 

I was the last to finish and I felt defeated. I mean, I'm not giving up - I will do my part and practice on closed trails and paths. I need to learn my shifting and learn some more basics about road biking. I guess the newbie rides are good for practice...but definitely not a great place to learn. And I know that people fall...a lot... but I just didn't want to fall on that ride. 

I have my first swim-bike-run workout tomorrow and I'm anxious to see how the bike ride goes. I haven't been back on the bike since this all happened. But I'm ready to focus. 

8 comments:

  1. Falls are part of it. When I first got on the bike, I started with remedial pedals and fell. Moved up to cage pedals and fell more. For some unknown reason I went clipped and fell at least twice every ride! Then just once a ride and now hardly ever. Worst fall, so far, I lost my chain on a small hill and couldn't unclip in time and fell right in the street in front of a car. The driver laughed at me, my riding group laughed at me, I laughed at me. Any fall you ride away from is a good fall.

    The thing about riding with traffic is awareness. My newbie coach took us to a part of the city that we can loop. There is traffic, but it's known for bikers and runners so it's safer to make mistakes. I think a lot of coaches forget the fear those of us who haven't grown up riding on the roads have about traffic. I was fortunate that my tri coach (Team in Training) said she didn't care if I road a Huffy, she'd get me riding without fear. Calling "Car back" is so ingrained in me I do it when I'm rididng alone. Another thing she had me do was get a bike trainer to practice changing gears. Gears come with time. I'm still learning when to change, but it gets easier!

    Get back in the saddle! You can do it!

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    1. Thanks so much!! At the time, my pride was so hurt. But now I laugh at how I made such a big deal out of it and I laugh at the fact that I rode away with just a few scratches. I did more damage to my other leg when my bike scratched me when I was standing too close to it while it was simply falling over (in slow motion - nothing damaging). Thank you for the vote of confidence. I really needed to read those words, "it gets easier!" :)

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  2. Learning to ride a road bike is hard at first but you will be surprised how quickly you improve. I used to be afraid to ride down this tiny hill in my neighborhood and now I'm taking hills at up to 40 mph at times! Just keep working at it and you will do great!

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    1. Yeah, I still brake on hills...and you can hear the brakes too. lol That's how hard I'm braking. I'm just not there yet. I can't fathom the thought of making a turn while going that fast. I just picture me falling and breaking something. But I know I will learn in time. Thanks!

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  3. “I was the last to finish and I felt defeated.” – Aw. Don’t feel bad. At least you made it to the finish line. If you must know, bikers have their fair share of accidents. We cannot predict it, but we can prevent it. And yes, practice will definitely make it perfect.

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  4. We all have this kind of experience, which sort of dictates the turning point of our careers. You can either turn your back and find other things to get preoccupied with or redeem yourself and strive to be better. Drop the vanity; I'm sure you know this by now. With biking, it is important to enjoy the ride more than anything else and, of course, to keep safe.

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    1. Thank you for this! I really needed to read it!

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  5. Getting in an accident is something that we could hardly avoid — be it in the busy city road, or the rough and unpaved ones. We could get hurt, bruised, and traumatized. But then, it teaches us how to stand up once again after the fall. It teaches us how stay in control, and learn from the mistakes that we did, so that the same accident won’t happen again. Take care!

    Silvia Barnes @ Elam & Rousseaux, P.A.

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