Somewhere I commented on the fact that I knew I hadn't been racing aggressively enough because in N races I hadn't crashed even once. Well, that's no longer true.
Last night, in my 11th race, I finally managed to crash.
The course had a run-up followed by a short turn around, a quick descent back down the hill with a sharp right turn part way down the hill. On about the fifth lap, I didn't manage to get clipped in on the flat turn around and so I was trying to do that on the descent and when I got to the cones I realized I was going way too fast to make the turn. I had adjusted my brakes this week to get a little more stopping power, which had been great throughout the rest of the race, but steep descent + panic + good braking power = ? That's right, over the handlebars.
In another thread recently flargle said this:
Originally Posted by flargle
And yet you survived with your plumbing intact. An important lesson learned.
He was talking about landing on the family jewels while remounting (which I also managed to do last night), but the lesson definitely applies here as well, perhaps more so.
The last time I went over my handlebars was two years ago when a car made a right turn in front of me while I was riding home from work. That time (on pavement), I sprained both elbows and couldn't ride a bike for two months.
Last night when I went over the handlebars (on a grassy hill), I don't even remember it hurting and I'm not sore today anyplace I wouldn't expect to be the day after a race. So apparently, no harm done. If I hadn't somehow managed to throw my chain while flipping the bike I would have hopped right back on a kept riding. As it was, about 20 people passed me while I fiddled with the chain, but then I hopped back on and kept riding.
I've talked to people who have sustained serious injuries crashing in a race, so I know it can be done, but I figure if I can flip over the handlebars without major injury, washing out in a turn or something like that probably won't be disastrous either.
Less caution next time! Look for my post about a dramatic, painful, injury-causing, bike-damaging crash next Monday.