Some New Things I Know

If there is anything positive that comes from a crash, you hope it is wisdom. You hope that all the skin and blood you leave on the road is worth something. And it is, although there are likely far less painful ways to gain cycling wisdom, like reading any book by Lennard Zinn, or spending an afternoon with Eddie Merckx.

Here are some of the things I have learned since my crash in last week’s criterium. In no particular order:

1. Everyone you know will fall into 2 categories: The ones that think you are tough, and the ones that think you are crazy. The ones that think you are crazy do not ride themselves, and/or love you. The ones that think you are tough are generally crazy too.

2. Sitting around all day on a chair with a cup of tea reading a book sounds like heaven, right? It’s not. After about 2 days it’s boring and stupid.

3. Aluminum bikes are indestructible. Even when crashed at 47 km/h with over 300 pounds falling on them. I destroyed my front wheel and bar tape. That’s it. If this bike is ever going to die, I will have to tie a rock to it and sink it to the bottom of the Red River. Or pay someone to do it for me. Just saying.

4. People love talking about their crashes. Nothing is more therapeutic than hearing the stories of other people’s silly, habitual or catastrophic crashes. Few will admit it, but one of the reasons we like to watch big races like the Tour de France or Paris Roubaix is because of the crashes. Being cycling fans we like to put ourselves higher up the evolutionary ladder than say, hockey fans, who delight in watching their favorite players get their clocks cleaned. But deep down, we love watching those crashes and they are what we talk about as much as the dramatic victories, epic failures and Footon Servetto’s ugly team jersey.

5. Medical supplies are obscenely expensive, likely due to the fact that when you need them, there are few other options available. It’s not like you can wrap yourself in saran wrap or newspaper. And toilet paper, while in the same neighbourhood as gauze, will tend to stick as well as get you funny looks at the grocery store. As for pain management, gin is less expensive and far more effective than morphine, and does not have the unfortunate side effect of constipating you for a week.

6. Your cat knows exactly where you are injured, so when you are lying on the couch, he or she will make every attempt to jump and land precisely on your worst area of injury. This will cause you to react quickly and painfully, possibly causing more pain than if you would have just allowed the cat to jump on you in the first place. (Perhaps the cat can be tied to the bike frame before it goes in the river).

and finally

7. When you have a bike accident, friends, family and fellow cyclists will surround you offering encouragement, comfort and advice. However, you may also be given opinions and advice from other sources, like this gem of a comment from Anonymous who recently wrote:

“It is time for you to stop racing. You are a hazard.”

Like a pylon? Or a car? Or maybe more like a flat tire, or loose bit of gravel on the road? I wonder, Anonymous (if that is indeed your real name) if you take the time to offer such insightful advise to everyone who crashes (which I would imagine would occupy a considerable amount of your time), or if you have singled me out as special? If so, I’m flattered. As for your advice to stop racing, as much as I appreciate your concern I will have to respectfully decline. I really like racing. However, if the president of the UCI, or someone else of actual importance deems I am unfit to race, I will happily comply. I wish you luck with your scapbooking dear reader, and would love the opportunity to race with you sometime if you happen to grow a pair.