Whee! Where to begin?
Should it be the first omen of the day? ? ? Yeah! My wife sits up in bed as I'm leaving at 4am to say "be careful. I had a bad dream about you." Ok! Thanks for sharing... I'm now thinking YIKES! I'm jinxed.
The ride started at 7am for us. A little chilly but cozy when in the sunshine. Once leaving Ironstone Vineyards and the quaint little town of Murphys the ride truly began... BRUTAL! Extremely rough roads and steep inclines, followed by steep descents on rough roads. Basically a lot of climbing with little reward because of the caution needed on the downhills due to the extremely rough roads.
So we ride up and up and up until we get to the top of Sheeps Ranch Rd. Course Marshal (Doug from the Davis Double so I say hello) is on top directing us down the hill saying "steep descent with sharp turns"... Ok. Right on! So I take the lead and take advantage of the sometimes smooth road, racing along at 30-35mph and using a lot of brakes doing so. I meander down the curves and build my early morning confidence only to hit a completely unexpected ungodly sharp turn.
Here's where it gets good...
I have no time to think. I either hold my line and go off the cliff or hit the brakes harder. I choose the latter and the little bit of morning dew remaining on the road mixed with heavier braking instantly throws me down onto the ground at about 30mph. I mean so fast, I don't have any time to say "HOLY!". I didn't have time to tense up so I just let momentum take its course and went ragdoll... I slid and rolled for a good 20 feet before stopping. Instant adrenaline so I jumped up, picked up my bike and darted down the curve and off of the road for fear of being run over by my buddy or someone else. I looked down and immediately noticed I had blood running out of my right elbow. Wiped in on my jersey to find what appeared to be a puncture wound a little bit bigger than the width of a pencil and two quarter-sized round abrasions around it.
Examining the damage furter... the right side of my shorts were torn wide open and I had road rash the size of my open hand on my thigh. I finally realize after 30 second that I'm hurt, and the funny thing, I didn't feel any pain. My buddy Alex pulls up thinking I was just waiting for him, then he sees the blood running down my arm. I check out the bike and it's fine since it got a free ride on top of me . (The right lever, bar tape, and rear derail are scraped, but it's a used bike ). We talked for a minute about how lucky I am and I said "lets go on" because we're not even 8 miles into this Century GODDAMNIT!!!
We hit the first rest stop and I got some first aid. Gauzed my ghastly looking elbow real good and duct taped my open shorts back together. My hip was in need of some gauze and tape rather than duct tape so I would ask at the next stop. My friend had mentioned "seeing my crack" earlier but the hole wasn't that big so I thought he was just joking around. I was reluctantly allowed to proceed by the staff and we decided to go on since I wasn't "hurt" hurt.
We go on and MAN! The roads were just horrible. Constant ups and downs and STEEP! I was riding really strong even after all that mayhem, but it just wasn't FUN! The descents were always super sketchy and rough so you didn't get any rewards and there were never ANY flat sections. We found our way to the Mountain Ranch stop with first aid staffed by Dr. Stan Leff. What a nice guy! He examined me and I found out what my buddy was talking about. When I hit the ground I also got road rash on both butt cheeks, both calves, my right wrist and the right side of my chest, so my shorts didn't just have that one hole... NO! They looked like something out of a Twisted Sister video... RAGGEDY! Emphasizing the gigantic rip straight down the middle!!! Oh Gawd! I was riding for 15 miles unknowingly exposing myself on the backroads of the Sierra Foothills>>> How embarrassing.
One of the volunteers (Wayne) left for a minute and found some soccer shorts in his trunk. Man! What a generous man! He said "keep em". So I rode the rest of the ride looking like a biking Beckham. This stop didn't have any tape either but someone went out to go buy some so I hung around at the Mountain Ranch stop long enough to come to my senses and not want to finish a full century. Dr. Leff agreed that was a good plan. This was the stop to decide if you wanted to make it a 1/2 century, so the choice was made. Tape came after getting relaxed and fed. I got an A+ patch job and we were on our way to 25 more miles of this wicked treachery. My buddy Alex was happy about me choosing only doing the half since he hadn't been on the bike since March and his coaching schedule only allowed him to run a couple of times since then so he was hating life at that point anyways so it all worked out ok.
Made it to the Angels Camp stop and had a leisurely 7 miles on the FINALLY nicely paved Murphys Grade Road back to Ironstone. Got out of my destroyed cycling attire and took my time eating the catered lunch and chatting with folks.
One lady remembered me because of the torn shorts. She said she initially thought they were some type of designer shorts until she noticed the duct tape covering the huge road rash..
Trudged back home and called it a day by Barbecuing and drinking a couple of well-deserved brewskis. My new favorite invention is NewSkin. I say this because up until yesterday the worst fall I've had on a road bike was a 0mph clipless tumble so I've never had to use it. It is doing wonders for my elbow. Man! What an inauguration this was. I took pictures but I don't want to post my butt on the Internet with rubbed off skin the size of a ribeye steak. Yuck! The bruising is really bad today and I'm really stiff and sore finally. I was worried because the pain took so long to arrive. Today has been FUN!
This ride is not going to be in Murphys next year. There were maybe 500 riders when they had space for 1500 or so. Awesome support, awesome food and supplies (other than no tape???), a lot of friendly riders too. This Century will be on my must-do list next year. This venue would be better suited for Mountain bikes however. Too bad. The Wheelmen lost big $$$ on it this year and it's too bad because everything was great other than the course.
This diatribe is forum filler in Pete's absence... Hurry back! You tell better stories. You also publish your pictures...