Crazy Ride!

Saturday morning started a bit different than most other Saturday mornings.  Sara had an old friend in town from back in Michigan to look at wedding dresses, so the night before we spent a bit more time out on the town, so naturally I wasn’t up at 6:30 am for my ride but instead woke up at 8:00 am to meet Gunnar at 9:00 am at Natural Bridges State Park for a ride.  Gunnar was riding from his house, which takes 40 minutes to get there, so he would only ride out 20 minutes with me and then turn back while I had a good solid 4 hour ride in front of me.  Parking on the street, I get a natural wonderful surprise of my coach pulling up on her mountain bike after she just went for a quick ride.  I can’t explain how nice it is to have an actual coach that meets with you, analyzes your running form, comments on bike kits, goes to the same sports MD as you do and is 100% on your side.  Plus she now knows where I ride 😦

So we chatted for a few minutes and then Gunnar pulled up.  We started heading North on Hwy 1, into the wind, at around 17 mph.  Gunnar had a taper ride of 2 hours in Zone 2, so it was a good warm up for me just to cruise behind him and work on my cycle rotating and creating full circles with my feet, let my hips loosen up and get into the flow.  Well before Davenport, Gunnar turned around, we shook hands and I was off!  Big chain ring up and down the hills!  I knew I was in for a long day so I didn’t blast up the hills, but instead took my time and worked on making full circles with my feet.  Pigeon Point Lighthouse came into view and I kept crawling along into the wind.  Saw a good friend of mine, Keith, out on the road who raced Ironman Arizona last year.  I volunteered last year to sign up and to see him…what an inspiration!  I love that man.

I’ve never been further north on Hwy 1 on my bike, so it was all new territory once I passed the lighthouse.  The road was pretty clear and clean of debris, which is always nice.  I rode past Pascadero and stopped at the last state beach before the monster hill.  1:52 out and I figured less time back and then I’d loop West Cliff a few times.  As soon as I turned around and my average pace was in the 23’s, I knew that I’d be flying on the way back.  I was fueling properly with my hydration and food, but my legs felt sluggish the entire day.  My joints were achy from the lack of sleep a the 4 beers I had the night before (usually I’m asleep by 10:15 PM on Friday’s; we got in past midnight 😦  I passed the lighthouse and I knew every inch of road on the way back and just kept putting the hammer down and feeling great!  I have my Garmin 910 XT set up for 5 mile split reminders, and a good few of them on the way back were well below 14:00, so I was averaging well above 22 mph’s and just cruising.

Now, as I was riding into the wind and that didn’t allow my head to full breath and get the air exposure as on the way there.  I was wearing my S-Works Evade, which is like an aero helmet but with some more breathing capabilities, but sweat kept dripping onto my sunglasses.  So much that I had to stop twice to wipe my sunglasses to clean them off.

I fly down the beach hill and I enter Santa Cruz County.  Ride along the coast as surfers are out playing on some pretty good caps and I kept cruising along.  There is a stretch of hwy with surfer and beach parking on both sides; I always get just a bit nervous on this part as you never know when somebody will come backing out without looking.  So I kept my speed down here to about 28 mph instead of the normal 35 when it is clear.  This turns into a big climb so I kept downshifting on my big ring until it was time for a small ring.  As I shifted, I looked down to ensure that all is smooth.  When I looked up I noticed I was drifting right…I looked at my front wheel as it entered the sand.  I then turned my wheel to the left to correct myself and boom…

I didn’t black out or lose consciousness.  I remember my head scrapping against the ground and the impact of the fall.  I laid there for 3-4 seconds and thought “what the fuck, Steve!?!?!?!”  I then sat up and blood started dripping down my nose onto my Zoot white arm sleeves.  The first car drove by and continued on, but the 2nd car had two angels in there that jumped out with water, Kleenex and band-aids.  They rushed out and applied pressure to my eye.  My Smith sunnies scrapped against the group and then gashed up above my eye.

Another cyclist in a Trek TT bike pulled up and checked my bike.  Wheels were fine; tire pressure good; gears shift through…only on the big chain ring.  My shifter literally broke off as my aero bars slammed right into the ground.

After sitting there for 7-8 minutes, analyzing my situation and taking a good assessment of my condition, I made the decision to ride the bike back to my car, another 12 miles away.  Both the couple in the vehicle and the cyclist Phil agreed that I was okay to go so I started on my way.

Because my aero bars slammed into the ground, I didn’t trust them.  So I never got into aero position, and I also never let the bike get over 15 mph because I wasn’t 100% it was in good condition to ride hard.

45 minutes later I arrived at my vehicle.  Stowed my bike and gear, drove to Spokesman downtown Santa Cruz to drop my bike off and then came home.  Sara was wedding dress shopping and I didn’t want to ruin her day, so I assessed my gash at home and made a decision to go to the emergency room.

7 stitches and swollen, black & blue eye later I exited the hospital and came home to some wonderful Mexican food.
For the next two weeks, no swimming and no biking/running outside because of sun exposure.

I am still quite upset at myself for not paying attention to where I was going…and also for acting that way when my front wheel went into the sand.  I should have just kept the wheel straight, slammed on the brakes and toppled over going 5-8 mph instead of landing on my face at 15+ mph.

Another lesson in this beautiful life we live.  But that’s just it, the life I live is the life that I choose.  Some people will never understand what we do (especially family).  They think this “hobby” has gone too far and I need to return to normal life.  What is that?
– Big house
– Children
– Horrible job in which we complain about daily
– Gym time to read magazines

No, thank you.  I will take my time on the road and in the mountains.  See you in two weeks when I’m back at it!!!!!

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