Thursday, February 5, 2009

Never Saw A Tea Kettle

but my ass ended up over it.

Kids do it, amateurs do it, commuters do it, mountain bikers, roadies, p-far riders, shoot...even Lance does it. For one reason or another we all end up 'hitting the deck' while riding.

Sometimes you can see it coming, other times you're on the pavement before you even knew it. Is it better to see it coming and prepare yourself for the inevitable? Or is surprise the best way to handle the unknown?

Do 'bike handling' skills save you or break you? Do they get you out of situations? Or do they put you in situations?

What about experience? If you fall more often do you eventually become 'good' at it? In most everything in life, experience is considered a plus. Is it better to tense up and try to catch the fall? Or is it best not to know it's happening and let your limp body absorb the blow?

Wanting to test much of this, I put myself on the asphalt this weekend. I came up to a series of metal construction plates in the middle of the road. At the end of the first plate a wheel devouring gap formed, separating the first and second plate. Using my 'experience' I kicked my front wheel over the void and tensed in case my rear wheel was not so lucky. My front wheel cleared and it felt like the rear was in hot pursuit to keep me rolling. That's when my foot came out of my pedal and lodged itself in my front wheel. This action having the effect of an Italian stabbing their pump at my wheel (a la Breaking Away), swiftly locking up the front wheel and catapulting me through the air. I managed a mid air somersault and landed safely (?) on my bag and ass.

I've fallen off my bike...lots. Did any of my 'experience' aid me in being able to walk away from this episode with nothing more than a broken front wheel and a sore ankle? Did the spontaneity of it all happening so fast prevent me from doing something to try and 'save' myself? Did my 'skills' end up putting me into the situation, or prevent it from being worse?

I really don't know. What I do know is I have a new wheel to build now.

No comments: