I signed up for my first Century about a month ago. I was going to do a century on Saturday then a half marathon on Sunday as a solid training weekend for Ironman St. George. Well it didn’t go down exactly that way but there was still a lot of good that came from it.
I drove out to Palm Springs for the Tour de Palm Springs Century on Friday night in crazy heavy traffic (living in Los Angeles is a blessing and a curse). I had already decided not to run on Sunday because I was having some IT band issues and I knew it would not be a fun or productive half marathon. But I was still very much looking forward to completing my first 100 miles on my bike. I was planning to ride with my friend Leo D. who I know from Dailymile.
We met in the hotel lobby and coasted downhill to the start. The first 10-12 miles were crazy. I have never ridden through such intense wind. It was crazy to look forward and see the cyclists in front of you all riding at a 20 degree angle to avoid falling over. I really wanted to take some pictures of the windmills (it was really cool) but it wasn’t safe to take your hand off the handle bars. Once we got to a safe-ish spot we stopped and took a few pictures.
Once we got out of the wind the ride really picked up and was awesome. We were just clicking off the miles and chit-chatting up a storm (Leo has been officially named my Century buddy). Hit the first rest station and loaded up on some snacks and water and got back on the road. We had an awesome stretch of some of the smoothest downhill I have ever ridden. We just kept plugging away at the miles making or way from rest station to res station. It was a great time! I was actually kind of surprised how nice everyone was. I kind expected a few more attitudes out there but it was such a great group of riders (around 11,000 I heard).
And here is where it gets exciting (not in a good way)…We are only a couple of miles from the finish and we have joined up with the riders from the other distances. There are so many riders that were are taking up the width of a whole car lane and are pretty close to each other. Everybody is excited to be almost done with the day and get off the bike and get some food and beer. We are riding along when another cyclist tries to ride in front of me and misjudges and hit my front tire from the left. BAM! I am down, hard on my left side. I was going a long at just over 15 mph when it happened. Apparently someone behind me ran over my bike tire and was thrown about 10-15 feet from me as well. The other bikers were awesome! They kind of made a protective circle around me till I could get it together and get out of the road. I hit my elbow really hard and thought I had broken it for a moment. There also was a giant dent in my shin; something I am not used to seeing everyday.
Once I got to the curb and realized that nothing was obviously broken I started trying to figure out what to do next. Thank goodness Leo was there. He was so helpful; he even offered to take pictures of me! I was sending a flurry of messages to my loved ones letting them know what happened and trying to figure out what to do next. The police showed up and were very helpful getting the SAG car to us. The guy who hit me did come back and I got his number. I am not sure what the protocol is but I am hoping he will help me repair my bike but we will see (my first text has yet to be returned).
The SAG car took us all the way back to the hotel and gave me a bunch of first aide stuff (Andy, the SAG driver was awesome!!!). Leo let me use his shower and he got me some food. His wonderful family let me hang out with him until my parents could come help me drive home. I had hit my head so hard that I cracked my helmet so a 3 hour drive on my own didn’t seem like the best idea. I got home, took some Tylenol and went to sleep. This morning I got up and went into urgent care just to make sure I hadn’t cracked any ribs and to get some pain meds that wouldn’t interfere with my scheduled surgery this week.
So even though it sounds like that day was a disaster, it was far from that. I gained a lot of confidence on the ride. I did 100 miles and really didn’t have any problems (except for the pesky crash at the end). I fueled and drank well all day and feel pretty darn good today (minus the road rash and almost broken ribs). I have enough time to recover from this. It isn’t going to mess up my training plan that much. As sick as it sounds, this was the best time to crash. I just hope fixing the bike isn’t going to be too much!
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