A certain ex-professional bike racer, now disgraced and stripped of his most renowned accomplishments, nonetheless possessed some cogent insights regarding the vagaries and dangers of the sport. One that I recall related to descending steep and curvy mountain roads at high rates of speed. Dropping like a stone at 60 mph with nothing between your skin and the pavement but a thin layer of delicate lycra, he said if you make a mistake or suffer a blowout at that speed and in those circumstances, you’re beyond the edge of the envelope and there is no way to recover. Even before you come off the bike, it’s all over but the cryin’.
Don Young of Beach Cities Cycling Club experienced this first hand over the past weekend. Descending on Crest Road in the Palos Verdes hills at a high rate of speed, Don hit a bump the wrong way, lost traction and went down. I can’t tell you if Don cried, but the rash sure is ugly. (images courtesy of Mario Obejas)
It’s not hard to do and happens to the best of the pros. I recall watching the 2009 Tour de France and seeing Jens Voigt face plant on a high speed descent. At the back of a group, maybe he was looking down the road, maybe he was talking on the radio, but it’s apparent he didn’t see the ripple where the pavement changed. He got launched a bit off his saddle just as the bike got slightly sideways. At that moment it was all over but the cryin’.