As you’ve probably heard through the grapevine (and by that I mean Daughter #1’s Facebook postings and text messages), Skerritt and I took a tumble yesterday. Yes, it was of the high-speed, clipped in variety. Yes, I am fine. Yes, I went to the doctor to verify that I am fine. No, I did not break anything or require even one stitch. No, Skerritt is not okay. Yes, he is at the doctor’s (aka ATA) awaiting surgery. No, I am not dumb enough to swim, bike or run today, so you can save your lecture for later.
Here’s the blow-by-blow (disclaimer: as usual, I have images…and some of the blows involve blood, so the squeamish should proceed with caution.)
Mid-morning, a small but affable group of us TC2 athletes shucked our wetsuits after a rather rocking 2 x 15 minutes hard effort swim at Walden Pond and headed off to Lincoln-Sudbury High School to tackle our second workout du jour, 3 x 15 minute power intervals on our trusty steeds. This is the good stuff. With last weekend’s Cohasset Sprint in our rear-view mirror, both workouts kicked up a notch from previous weeks to get us ready for the Olympic-distance race awaiting us at Nationals in Burlington, Vermont on August 18th. The thought that it’s now time to ramp up for Nationals was rather exciting in and of itself. Add the fact that I aced the swim and I was one super-smiley girl; while last season the cross-Walden swim terrified me, on Saturday I averaged 1:40-ish per yard on each effort. I even managed to swim relatively straight; not once did I have to do a full 180-degree turn to find my fellow TC2-ers (yeah, I know: miracles never cease!) I was jazzed to say the least; and now I’d ride Skerritt. What more could a girl ask for?!?
Now, we ride the “L-S Loop” a lot— it’s a near-perfect circle starting on Lincoln Road, turning right ont Water Row then Plympton Road then Concord Road, then back to Lincoln Road again:
I know well its landmarks (potholes, bumps, leatherized remnants of picked-clean carcasses). But yesterday a training partner proposed a slight change to the agenda. We usually do ten-minute intervals on The Loop, and since the workout du jour called for 15-minute intervals, he proposed we add the extra minutes without beginning a new full lap by simply staying straight on Water Row instead of turning up Plympton a second time. We’d reach 15 minutes, he thought, well before we reached the intersection of Water Row and Route 27.
OK, sounds good. So off we went on Interval #1.
It was off to a great start. I’ve been itching to break 22 mph in a race, and as my coach is fond of saying, “if you wanna ride fast, you’ve gotta ride fast”. (Actually, he has used that catchphrase on runs, saying “if you want to run fast then you’ve got to run fast” but I assume the sport is hot-swappable.) So the only way I’ll get out of “the 21’s” on race day is to get out of “the 22’s” on training rides like this. As I reached the 14-minute mark, my Garmin display clearly showed I was doing just that; I was averaging just north of 23 mph. The problem was I was running out of course.
At 14:10 I was at the point where the interval was supposed to stop. I was thrilled to be faster than anyone thought I’d be. I was eager to do the workout as planned, i.e, no skimping on the time and cutting the interval short. And so I did what any insane lunatic that got in the wrong line when they were passing out brains would do: I decided to simply zap across Route 27 (yes, I looked both ways before I crossed the street) and carry on, preserving the purity of the 15-minute interval but entering uncharted territory in the process.
I had never ridden on this segment of Water Row. The portion I know and love is super-smooth:
So I assumed it’d be the same across the street. And it was. For a few feet. And then…
…the road seemed to disintegrate below me, like some acid-vomiting monster had had a rough Friday night at the Bistro and had puked upon it and the roads crew hadn’t had a chance to fix it yet. OK, I thought. I can handle this. I braced for some bumps. But then I scanned and saw this was just not gonna end; when I crossed the road I had apparently entered a third-world country where proper pavement was a luxury:
Game over. My Garmin file shows I was at 26.2 mph when what was heretofore seen as “crap” suddenly looked extremely appealing since the road deteriorated even further and Skerritt’s front wheel hit this:
Once I raised the white flag, it wasn’t long before the nicely tanned flesh of my left side oozed red. When I finally stopped skidding it was eerily quiet, which in retrospect was a very good sign; no cars were coming. Lucky for me, since the first thing on my mind wasn’t “get out of road”; it was “find Garmin between what’s left of Skerritt’s beautiful carbon aerobars and push “lap” button to preserve pretty data”.
Skerritt didn’t want to be photographed; he’s rather vain and prefers you to think of him in all his glory, to which he will be restored quite soon.
According to my Garmin (hurrah, at least it is not broken), my interval lasted 14 minutes 49.8 seconds. I traveled 5.65 miles at an average of 22.8 mph, making it my best *almost* 15-minute interval ever. I will refrain from saying it was worth it, but, you know, at least it was a good interval 😉
My group slowly but surely caught wind of my fall and they rode with me at a snail’s pace back to the parking lot, during which time I whimpered and pouted like a baby as wind caused my open wounds to sting. Once at the lot, a fellow rider who operates a fencing company tortured me with the little antibiotic cleansing pads from his truck’s first aid kit until I was ready to beat him with one of his very own fence posts.
Later I headed to my doctor’s office, mostly because I knew you’d all yell at me if I didn’t 😉 The doctor on call turned out to be rather wussy about the amount of blood and soft-tissue damage; both Emma and I wondered how he managed to get through med school but we were polite enough to not inquire. He pronounced me OK and urged me not to ride for a week. He sent in a non-wussy wound-care nurse named Laurie (yes, family members: that was odd). She also happens to be a cyclist and she easily plucked pavement out of my wounds as she regaled us with stories of her own “diggers”. She rolled her eyes about the doctor’s “week off” dictum and said I’d be back in the saddle by Tuesday. (In the event there’s a question, I liked her. A lot.)
So that’s all for now. As always, thanks for stopping by. Cyclists, don’t be an endorphin-crazed idiot like me. Drivers, assume there’s an endorphin-crazed idiot like me around every blind corner, lying bloodied in the middle of the road pushing the lap button on her Garmin because at that moment preserving the interval actually seems of the utmost importance. And Sudbury: fix your godforsaken road!!! What the heck are you thinking?!?
Enjoy the day, and please log a few extra miles on our behalf until we’re back on the road!
– cj and Skerritt