I decided that I would just go ride the Veloway (a 3.1 mile paved asphalt trail exclusively for bicycles and inline skates), which is something I haven't done in quite a while. It's hard getting a long ride in doing a 3 mile loop. Although, I guess better than doing it on a trainer, but still. Also, it's got a lot of turns, something I won't have a lot of on race course. It would also give me an opportunity to practice in all of my race equipment; shoes, aero helmet.
I got on the bike, got into aero position and off I went. I felt great on the bike and was ready to fly, and I was. There weren't a lot of people out there so I could move through the corners pretty well in aero. I got to one of the first big turns and was move along at a pretty good clip in the aero position. All of the sudden, I realized I was taking the corner way too fast. What happened after that, I'm really not sure of. The bike skidded, I had to avoid a tree, and I went over the handlebars and landed on my head and shoulder.
I was stunned, pissed off, shaken up, and worried all at the same time. I believe there were probably some other emotions going on there as well. Immediately some other riders came to my aid. Asking if I was alright and checking me and my bike over. The bike seemed fine, just had the chain come off. No major visible damage. Me, on the other hand, that was a different story. My head hurt. My helmet was really scratched up, having taken the brunt of the fall. My initial reaction was the ager, frustration, and disappointment that I was now going to have to buy another expensive aero race helmet. Then I saw that my shoulder was bleeding. It felt like a really bad scratch. I poured some water on it and it didn't appear to need stitches. At least not right away in any case. I told the good samaritans that I was fine, I thanked them, and they rode off.
Now what was I going to do. I was thankful that it wasn't any worse. I hadn't even really started my workout. More importantly, I was worried that I was now going to be skittish on the bike and that that could seriously affect my race. When was I going to be able to get comfortable for the race? How was I going to deal with adversity during the race? F**ck it, I thought, it's now or never!
I got back on the bike and told myself I would ride until I felt comfortable again. It took nearly an hour before I was able to feel comfortable again. But that's what I needed. I need to get my confidence back. I needed to clear my head. I needed to shake out the emotion and think about this rationally in order to put a plan together. My bike's OK. I'm, more or less, OK. This wasn't going to beat me.
I finished up, cleaned and dressed my wound, and went back to the bike shop to get it checked out and buy another helmet. On the bright side, I could now get a helmet that matched my new bike! Everything was fine with the bike. Only a small bend in the derailleur which was easily fixed. I got a sweet new aero helmet with a visor. I left the shop in pretty good spirits. It was a setback but I'd gotten over it and everything was going to be fine. My wife gave me some good advice: "Don't make this anything more than it is. Deal with it and move on."
Today, it's been a little different. I guess having time sitting still causes some reflection. The spill on the bike resulted in a sore neck and big scrape on my shoulder. I'm confident everything will be fine for raceday (I'm seeing a chiropractor, PT, and massage therapist), however it's starting to affect me mentally. I feel like it's thrown me off of my game and that I've lost focus. I know some of this is normal stuff I deal with during taper. But I feel a little sadness and depression starting to set in and I can't seem to stop thinking about it. Again, I'm confident I'm going to race. I'm just worried I might not be as focused and mentally prepared as I need to be and want to get that back. I know I'm ready physically and up until this happened I felt like I was mentally prepared. I've reached out to my coaches for some advice. Hopefully I can shake this soon.
|My helmet which took the brunt of the impact. Good to know it does what it's designed to do.|