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Flatbread 2013: Complete with Crash

by on November 11, 2013

Flatbread 200k.

How we love you.

How we hate you.

Sixty-eight riders started and despite the challenges posed by the conditions, 68 riders finished.  It was just below freezing at the 7:00 am start.  Frost was abundant on the fields, on cars, and it seemed our fingers.  Most of us decided to dress lightly and suffer through the cold first hour just so we didn’t have to carry all the extra gear later in the day as it warmed up.  That strategy worked pretty well although it meant that my fingers were mostly just this side of numb for the first hour or so.  My little fingers were the last to warm up and stung for quite some time.  To my knowledge 5-6 of the 68 riders were on fixies.  We maintained a quick pace for the better part of the first half of the ride, sometimes cruising at 22+ mph.  The resulting high cadence was just a bit much for me and got me into a higher heart rate than I wanted for the ride.  I paid for that later.

Who can complain about a paceline of 20 bikes?  Who can complain about watching geese flying overhead in the early morning, where it is quiet enough to hear their cries?  Who can complain about the workhorses in the paceline who don’t want to share the lead and are more than happy to pull the group along?  Not me.  These were some of the best parts of the day.

The large starting group started to splinter just after Greensboro.  You see, some stop for a bathroom break.  I stopped with Mike and a few others, and with a very quick stop we joined another group that was just rolling up as we left.  This group had a lot of SPP riders in it and we flew down the highway toward Harrington, DE.  It was there where I slowed down, stopped to adjust my saddle, and then it was Mike and I to Slaughter Beach.  We kept a good pace up the entire way, averaging over 19 mph to the beach.

History tells us that it is the last half of this ride that is the toughest.  Typically the wind is out of the west, and our direction of travel out of the Slaughter Beach area is WNW.  Two years ago, headwinds were fierce.  This year, the flag at the fire station across the street from the Slaughter Beach control was hanging limp.  Oh what a lie!  We immediately picked up a headwind.  It was not a killer wind, but it was enough to notice and to degrade our speed somewhat.  Gardner and Theresa were on a tandem and were willing to take the brunt of the headwind, giving us a respite all the way to Milton.

We stopped for lunch at the Subway in Milton.  I was feeling pretty well spent by the time we got there.  I was hoping that some food would perk me up.  Rather than getting a boost, the food lay in my stomach and created nausea for the next couple of hours.  I was miserable and Mike was willing to hang with me and spare me the headwinds most of those next couple of hours.  I had little energy and just couldn’t keep the speed where I wanted to.  I know it was dehydration, poor nutrition, and too much energy expended early in the ride, but once behind the curve, it is tough to catch up.  I wasn’t much better after Bridgeville.  I started feeling better around Denton, even though my right foot started to cramp a few miles outside of Denton.  I commented to Mike that my right foot and the letter “c” shared the same shape.

The Royal Farms had no pickles other than packets of sweet pickle relish.  I slammed 5 of those down and had relief for about 20 minutes.  I kept popping ecaps about every 45 minutes also.

We were passed by George W while we were at the Royal Farms.  We caught him again before Ridgely and decided since he was riding alone to drop our speed and ride with him to the finish.  It was a good choice.  He appreciated the company and within a very short time I fully recovered my energy level.  We reminisced  about other rides on these roads, describing where we had encountered deer, bad road surfaces, winds, etc.  The shadows were lengthening and the light was getting really nice in the late afternoon.

Soon enough, the finish was in sight.  I didn’t realize then that the finish would come 30 feet short of the “line” for me.

The final road surface was under construction.  New curbs and sidewalks had been poured, and I imagine that within the next few weeks a new road surface would be laid.  Just 30 feet from the parking lot to the final control I saw a sidewalk cutout from the road that would allow me to finish on the smooth sidewalk.  The transition from the curb to the sidewalk was very small, so I turned to take it.  What I had not seen was the 4 inch distance from the road surface to the curb.  My tire hit that concrete and I went down, “like a ton of bricks” as Mike C described it.  I remember thinking on the way down, “That little lip should not have taken me out”.  Knee, hip, elbow, shoulder, head was the order that my body contacted the hard concrete of the sidewalk.  I know I slid a couple of feet too.  I saw stars.  My vision was impacted (although it might have been that my glasses were askew).  I lay there a moment, then grabbed a hand that was offered to pull me back to my feet.  I walked to the finish line, pushing the bike.

My knee has road rash.  My tights have a hole the size of a silver dollar.  My shoulder feels like it took the brunt of the force and isn’t working very well.  My helmet was destroyed.  There were three breaks in the styrofoam.  Those were breaks, not cracks.  The only thing holding it together is the plastic shell glued onto the helmet.  I’ve already replaced it.  Where my helmet meets my head is tender to the touch.  But I am alive and not in the hospital.  Dead or hospitalized would have been the outcome had I not been wearing that helmet.

But a great ride.  128 miles on the fixie.  It was a pretty day.  I enjoyed all but the last 30 feet of this ride!

Milestones:

  • My fixie now has over 5,000 miles on it.
  • The fund raising for the Malaria Campaign is now over $6,000.

This ride 128 miles
Malaria Campaign: 3,593 miles
Funds Pledged: $1,882
Contributed in support: $4,170

Total = $6,052

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From → Cycling

2 Comments
  1. Just catching up on your blog, and am so sorry to hear about your crash! I hope the pain does not linger long and that you are back to 100% very soon!

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