Yesterday was an eventful day. It was my first foray into the Classic League; the club’s annual time trial series. The first few races are held at Aust, in the shadow of the severn bridge and not far from the old ferry crossing, famously visited by his royal Bobness on his landmark electric/folk judas tour in 1966. I’m not sure if he was in town for the time trial or not.
The weather for the race was a lot nicer than it was for Robert Zimmerman. The wind dropped and we had some late-evening sunshine.
i decided to ride out to the start in a slightly circuitous fashion and treat the whole endeavour as a training ride. The loose plan was to ride a slightly hilly 20 miles out, do the 5.2 mile TT, then ride home a further 15 miles, with the out and back being fairly hard, but not so hard that i couldn’t sustain it. You get into a fairly remorseless rhythm; for me it’s around 25mph or so, maybe a bit more, with heart rate at around 80%.
The first bit went well, then i dropped down to the suspension bridge coming back into Bristol. A car in front was doing a steady 15mph. I was behind – and certainly quite near, trusting in two things, that they would continuing moving at the same pace, and that the cycle lane belonged to me. They started to drift into the cycle lane, so i shouted, fairly benignly, to ask them to vacate it – but they didn’t hear. The driver then swerved suddenly across right into the lane and stopped. I presume he was checking his change for the bridge. I had no time to make any kind of decision, slammed on the front brake as i hit the car on the side and went straight over the handlebars pretty quickly, ending up wedged between the car and half on the pavement with my bike on top of me and a freaked-out looking driver nervously getting out of his car.
When you have a crash like this there’s a couple of things to consider, usually in a set order. Firstly, I checked to see if i could stand up, walk, raise arms, and made sure nothing was broken. Then i checked the bike thoroughly. The bike is absolutely fine, no damage whatsoever. My helmet is cracked and scraped though and there is a massive hole in my assos skinsuit.
i had a lengthy conversation with the driver, he was quite shook up as well. he gave me some wetwipes to clean my face and shoulder. After that i decided to ride across and down bridge valley road at which point i’d decide whether i wanted to race or not. it’s hard to know what to do in the aftermath of a spill, and is best to sit still for a while. Heading across the bridge i got caught in a massive hailstorm and then had to shelter in the public toilets. it was quite an eventful few minutes.
once i got to the bottom of the hill i decided to ride out to the start. i was running a bit late by now so had to get on it. once i got up to speed the pain dissipated somewhat. I tacked along and made it just in time.
the race was comparatively uneventful. i rode as fast as i could, didn’t worry too much about pacing it, and managed an 11.02, which is an improvement on my PB of one second. i was a bit disappointed not to go faster but it wasn’t ideal conditions and also it didn’t help that i’d crashed heavily on the way over. It was good enough for the win by around 30 seconds. Somehow i’d like to find a further 20 seconds in the next two weeks. It was just one of those days where i thought i was going to really fly but didn’t actually go that fast.
We all rode back in a sort of TT and road bike convoy. I rode on front almost the whole time because i was still looking to do a bit more training. the others seemed happy to follow. I was glad to get home and have a bath. I’m a bit sore this morning but am optimistic that i will be fine in time for Sunday and the fastest course in christendom.
total of 40 miles @ 21.5mph average; 1 x 5.2 mile TT @ 28.3mph; one violent collision from 16mph to 0mph in 70 cm; one energy gel consumed