On the risky "Coffee Shop Run" a couple of days ago, Jack Gabus had an accident with his old Gary Fisher. The pavement won. He was skinned up, a broken rib or two and a badly bruised hip, but the Fisher came away unscathed.
Everyone who rides for any length of time has had these falls. Fortunately I have never had an altercation with a car. My worst was a fall I had ten or fifteen years ago. I left Lanesboro, Minnesota on the Root River Trail in the morning on my old Colnago Super, headed the thirty miles to the end of the trail in Houston. As the trail nears Houston it climbs out of the river valley up to the high ground. Apparently the state had issues acquiring the right of way because the trail is silly steep with a couple of switchbacks to gain the elevation. It's one of those hills that has you looking back between your legs at the freewheel, praying there is just one more big cog left. I am not a good climber. I won't say I conquered it; I survived it. I did not become a pedestrian.
After the hill it's more or less flat running for a couple of miles into town where I rested and had a snack under a tree in the park. As I was coming back I was thinking about the pros screaming down those twisting alpine roads. By the time I crested the hill I had convinced myself that I could do that too, and I let 'er roll. This was a terrible mistake. I don't know what I was thinking. The pros are riding down automobile roads with wide, sweeping curves. I wasn't. By the time I realized my folly the vintage Campagnolo brakes were not up to the task. I hung on the outside lip of the trail through the first curve, went into the second curve all jacked out of shape and shot off the road. The trail is steep enough that they were having erosion issues and had orange plastic erosion fence strung up on steel fence posts across the ditches. I hit the fence sliding broadside in the weeds. The bike and I somersaulted over the fence. I instinctively threw the Colnago up to protect it. Unfortunately, in the process, I impaled my guts on the top of one of the posts. I lay in the weeds for a quite a while holding my stomach, afraid to look. My shorts were ripped, my skin torn, bleeding and bruised, but I was okay. I felt like I had been gored by a runaway bull, but I was okay. The bike didn't have a scratch.
I think it was the longest thirty miles of my life. I had no juice left. By the time I got to Rushford I had bonked completely. I had no money on me, but I was desperate. I stopped at a cafe and threw myself on their mercy. I must have looked pretty bad. They didn't hesitate. They gave me a chocolate malt and a banana and I was able to ride the twenty miles back to my truck and the trip back home.