Karma and Crashing

A few hours after returning my found-trainer to its owner, I got an email from my daughter: “your cell phone has been returned to the officials at the start/finish.”

I reached in my pocket. No cell phone. I flashed back to the last time I used it. I returned a few messages while sitting and watching one of the road races. It must have fallen out of my pocket.

Later, when I went to pick up the phone from the officials stand, the announcer made a comment about the good karma we’re having.

In the hours before my road race I fretted about the weather. I looked at the radar on the computer, watched the reports on TV, and concluded that rain was likely. The course was twisty, and I was worried about braking with my carbon rims, which I’d not yet tried in the rain.

At the race, the skies seemed bright. Maybe the rain would keep to the north. I talked with another guy who said, no problems braking with these rims in the rain. OK, decision made, no more fretting.

Nervous Racing
Bigger races always bring out nervous riding. You see it even in races like the Tour de France, with the best riders in the world. So with Masters Nationals, the biggest race guys like me will do, riders are nervous. They want to be in good position, don’t want to miss the important attack. For some, they just don’t want to get dropped. A twisty, turning, course makes it worse. First lap, at the tight turn after a descent, I heard the ugly sound of bikes hitting and scraping the pavement behind me.

About a third of the way into the race, the rain came. Not heavy, but enough to coat the road, and as we all know, the road is its most slippery right after the rain starts.

I had attacked just before the start/finish, and was a few seconds off the front when I went into a downhill turn and the bike went out from under me. It happened so fast I had no chance to recover. Fortunately, it was nothing serious — ripped shorts, painful road rash, sore hip and elbow. There was no chance to catch back on at that point, so my race was over.

The reason for my crash: too much air in my tires for the now-wet conditions. Stupid mistake.

Karma, Revisited
OK, the real reason for the crash: just before leaving the hotel for the race, a guy’s battery had died because he left his lights on. He asked me for a jump. I was running late and needed to get my car packed up and leave for the race. I suggested he just go ask at the desk, surely one of the maintenance people at the hotel could give him a jump.

Karma, indeed.



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3 responses to “Karma and Crashing

  1. ray

    One time racing go-karts I was in morning practice at Grattan and I was flying. I had never won a race up to this point, but I was sure this was the day. So I am going about 90mph on the back straight when i said ot myself “I think I can win today”. Moments later the piston broke and my best motor was now a very expensive paper weight. I poured the piston and other internal engine parts out of the muffler and air cleaner the devastation was that complete.

    Long story short, I never said to myself “I think I can win today” out loud or in my head.

    Certainly not Karma Ii suppose, but definitely a beware what you think or do. It could come back to haunt you.

  2. “What If …”

    So you had a little too much air in your tires. Bah. What if it had not rained? What if your attack had caught the favorites by surprise, you got a big gap and by the time they realized that a hard chase was needed, it was too late and you were on your way to a solo break championship ride?

    Here’s what you did: You went for it. Attacked hard, riding at the limit. Pushed it a little too hard for the conditions and took an unfortunate crash. Yep, that sucks. But in almost every way, it’s better than finishing anonymously in 25th position, crossing the line thinking, “What if I had attacked when I felt like I should have earlier in the race?”

    “What if?” Indeed. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  3. Brian

    what if … yeah, I know what you mean. I think I said something similar last year after Nationals, when you were regretting your long breakaway attempt. It’s better to lay it out there and risk failing. I’m not that bummed about it … but I think I probably would be had I not gotten a good TT result.

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