The sun had pushed through the last day’s haze and things were good. Oh, it did feel clumsy and wrong for a bit, as all the reasons I’ve mentioned recently have had me mostly not riding for the past few weeks. Leaden legs and weird, chewey coughs at inopportune moments. But, the first slug of rain had passed and it felt like I was getting back on track, riding to work and all. Indeed, I’d sent in my registration for the SFRandonneurs 200K, which is less than 60 days away. Mileage of any kind would be good.
Felt a little better as I hit the last climb before work. Pedaling out of the saddle, nothing punchy or sudden as the calf is still weird and quirky. Just hitting that nice fixed-gear body wieght low cadence rhythm. Going uphill under my own power. Resetting the needle, carefully, so it wouldn’t skip.
An odd image popped into my head about halfway up. The road is narrow, at its worst about 10″ or less to the right of the fog strip. It’s not exceptionally dangerous, as line-of-sight is unobstructed, but it is a place to be careful. It’s not a place to contemplate the image of tires sliding out and falling into the way of traffic. Yet, that was the picture that played out in my head right then. Sort of freaky, but concentrated on breathing, balance, not riding on the still-slick-with-rain painted stripe. As the thought passed, I chalked it up to being off the bike for too damned long, the product of being a little stiff on the bike.
Another 100 yards or so pass. I’m maybe 3/4’s of the way up now and suddenly things fall badly amiss. The bike lurches oddly, my left leg is up in the air as I try to correct. The distinct sound of traffic is audible from behind me. Something kicks in and the bike goes right and everything falls left. I hit pretty hard, but land well, hand still on the bar, rolling up my arm to my shoulder and then on my back. I’m actually on the ground, completely off the roadway, and look back to see three cars which have come to a stop behind me. Thank goddess for a trifecta of non-multi-tasking drivers. I get up as quickly as I can, spy my left pedal and a little nubbin of crank out in the roadway. Fetching that, I encourage the drivers to come around, but to my suprise, two of them pull over to make sure I’m OK. The more tenacious person asks specifically if I’m alright and won’t leave until I thank him and assure him it looked worse than it was.
I do a quick waning-adrenaline system check, and everything seems intact, other than a single knuckle of the little finger. Digging out the pencam, I find the batteries have drained, so no ActionNews on-the-scene images…
But here are a few from later, after I talked my wife into extending some errands she had been running. I used my better camera, so you can click through and see it with pretty decent resolution (click “All Sizes” once you jump through to Flickr)
Pushed the bike over the crest of the hill and then eased into work with one pedal and a brake. The few folks who noticed gave me an odd look.
For those of you who are keeping score, it was a Campy GS (Grand Sport) crankarm. It appears that the failure started right at the end of the inletting near the pedal. I guess it’s a nice place to obscure cracking and certainly a fine area to create stress risers.
Dang. I was really looking forward to a nice, easy scenic loop home tonight.