There Are Two Kinds of Cyclists...


If you're an avid triathlete or cyclist, I'm sure you've heard this phrase at least once on a group ride: "There are two kinds of cyclists; those who have crashed...and those who haven't crashed yet."

I remember the first time I heard that phrase. It was a group ride with the San Fernando Valley Bike Club, a crusty group of veteran cyclists who didn't have much interest in teaching a new kid like myself how to ride properly. I was mostly ignored...and dropped.

But, they were right about that phrase.  I've crashed twice now, the most recent being the result of a motorist either not paying attention to the road or on her cell phone.  We are still trying to sort out the details, but the short version is that my tri bike lost a fight with a Fiat, while I somehow managed to walk away -- albeit with a bum knee and tight neck. (I won't know the extent of damage done to my right knee until mid-next week, when the MRI results come in.)

I'm finding that the hardest part of a bike crash can often be the healing process. I should have known this considering my lengthy mental recovery from my tumble over Santa Susana Pass a couple years ago.  And it's not even the physical part that sucks the most. It's knowing that your fitness is leaking from your pores like a slow tire leak -- only there's nothing that can stop it except time itself.

What kind of sport is this where the majority of my cycling friends have been upended by vehicles, or stray pets?  Football players only have to deal with other people.  We have people, terrain, weather, vehicles and animals!!!  Oh my!!

It's been just longer than a week since my accident.  I'm going stir crazy. I tried to hop back in the pool (moderate success) and on the bike trainer once (moderate failure).  I'm nowhere near ready to run yet -- my body has flat-out said "NO!" to that in big capital letters after jogging a few steps.  I can now better imagine what my friend Caleb is going through after shattering a clavicle. He's out for three months.  I expect I'll be out six weeks with no activity based on the initial estimate given by the orthopedist at Southern California Orthopedic Institute this past Friday.

For now, I can only take the same advice I gave Caleb just a week ago. RELAX. It's the off-season. There are no upcoming races. Enjoy sleeping in, staying up late, and drinking a bit more beer. Maybe I'll go back to being "Two Beer" (my college nickname) instead of "One Beer" (my This is 40 nickname!).  This is the perfect time to get hit by a car, in other words -- yep that's gallows humor.  It's probably good for me to have some time off to rest up in general. I've got 12 races next year and my triathlon season won't start until May.  Though knowing me, I'll probably wind up in LaQuinta for the Desert Triathlon in March.

For any of you out there enjoying a nice holiday break and thinking of a bike ride, please be careful.  Now is probably the worst time for motorists to spot us, as they're minds are racing about New Year's plans and getting to the mall before everyone else. And if you have any suggestions for how to cure the Winter Blues from sitting at home not being able to work out...I'm all ears.