Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Collar Bone Pile

It's been three days since I smashed my left clavicle into pieces. I guess my confidence outgrew my rusty mountain biking skills as I followed more experienced riders down the Anderson Truck Trail. I don't remember the crash, but I do remember some parts of the trail being sketchy enough to warrant walking, rather than riding.

Anyway, we're out on the trail having fun, riding hard, breathing heavy, and the next thing I know I'm walking on a relatively smooth, flat road with my friend Dennis, chatting away. (This is when my "LOC" or "loss of consciousness" passed me back into a reality that would later plunge me into the Great Depression of 2009.) It appeared that we were trying to find help…for me.

We didn't spend much time talking about what happened, as far as I can remember. It was clear enough that my head got banged again. (I think this was the fourth time I've been knocked silly, but who's counting.) It was pretty clear that my shoulder was also messed up, but it didn't hurt too badly, so how bad could it be?

Indeed. Let the x-ray show you, buckaroo. See that pile of kindling? That's all supposed to be ONE bone. It's called a collar bone, aka your left clavicle. You're now officially a true cyclist. One day, cycling parents will decide whether to order the "combo" circumcision plus flexible clavicle replacement to avoid this inconvenience. In the meantime, it seems that many–if not most–serious cyclists fall and break a collar bone at some point in time. It was my turn now, right when life was so beautiful and I was in possibly the best shape of my life. C'est la vie.

Upon seeing the matchsticks x-ray, I immediately realized that my "active lifestyle" plans would need to change. I would NOT be racing in two weeks, and I would NOT be riding in a month with George Hincapie around his hometown in South Carolina. I didn't realize how depressing it would be to plunge from the best fitness of my life to being an invalid in pain, waiting for days just for the initial surgical assessment.

But look at the bright side… If this hadn't happened, I wouldn't be up at 5 AM jotting my thoughts down in my new blog. OK…there's more to the bright side: My helmet probably saved my life. I'm alive and my family is fine. No more whining for the moment.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Why buy a cycling jersey with a full zipper?

Today's club ride was a bit hot...literally. I don't remember sweating that much in a long time. Fellow riders pointed out the pool of sweat left by a guy who was sitting near me at our usual coffee shop stop (Java Depot in Solana Beach).

My own sweat-soaked jersey reminded me of how nice it is to have paid the extra few bucks for the "full zipper" version of our club's racing jersey. I'm a slow learner, but I've finally realized that there are good reasons to buy that full-length zippered version of your next jersey. Ponder these situations...

  1. Days like today. It was about 186º F (and Celsius) outside, with unusually high humidity. By the end of the ride, your jersey may have about 3 liters (that's 200 gallons) soaked into it. Ask yourself: Do you really want to lift this washrag from hell over your head? Also, the full-zip jersey can hang wide open if the heat really starts getting to you. And if you're a female cyclist and you follow this style tip, you'll make all kinds of friends with old creepers on your local club ride.

  2. It's race time, or the start of a long ride. You have a bunch of stuff in your jersey pockets. You're wearing bib shorts, only because all the serious cyclists say it's the only way to go. Now you need to go...#2...badly. And the only place to "go" is that Port-a-Potty that has already been used. (With the bib shorts, you must take off your jersey to quickly get those straps down...unless I'm missing something. Help me out here.) Do you really feel safe lifting your jersey with full pockets over your head in that small stall with the place-from-which-one-never-retrieves-anything? Wouldn't it be easier with a full zipper: Unzip, carefully remove like a priceless jacket, and hang or hold clear of the mud pit. Better?
Gosh, another priceless tip from an old cyclist! Given the option, all my jerseys will have full zippers from now on.