Category Archives: Accidents

Wiggle Devil’s Punch Bowl 2013

This was my last sportive of the season.  However knowing this did not make the usual sleepless night plus 5:00am alarm call any more welcome.  And as I ate my cereal, from out of nowhere, my insides kicked off big stylee.  From nothing to epic in very little time at all.  I have no idea why, but you have to kind of admire their immaculate timing!  The two hour drive there, courtesy of my chauffeur and guide rider for the day Chris, was not a bundle of laughs, as there’s something about sitting in that position which just makes it worse.  I kind of drifted in and out of sleep all the way there, although I’m not sure if it was falling asleep or losing a grip on consciousness, probably somewhere in between.  Let’s put it this way, it’s a bl**dy good thing I wasn’t driving!  The drive probably wasn’t very pleasant for Chris either, as it was dark, windy, and p*ssing it down – predictably.  My PMA was seriously considering going walkabout

Still by the time we reached the new HQ at Godalming College, after a little orienteering to get there, it had both dried and brightened up.  We parked up in the car park near registration, and headed over to register.  At this point I was having difficulty walking, let alone riding the bike!  At least the queue for registration was non-existent, and there was somewhere to sit and have a cup of coffee quietly whilst I attempted to get a grip.

Registration desks venue hall

Usually I’m all about the get up and get going, but this was just a take it as it comes thing.  Coffee slowly drunk, facilities used, and it was time to shuffle back to the car to get ready.  I was so busy being zoned out and mentally elsewhere that I nearly walked straight past Herbie, resplendent in Dragon ride kit on his bike just outside the entrance.  We had a brief chat before him and his mate, ready already, headed off to the start line.  Back at the car the main faffing element was that of layer choice.  It may have been sunny but it was also feckin’ freezing, with rain forecast!  Luckily I’d packed some options and I ended up wearing most of them.  Well if I was going to feel rubbish, I didn’t need to be adding cold and miserable to that mix.  It took a little while longer to faff than usual because I couldn’t think straight and kept forgetting stuff – like to put food in my pockets for example.  But we got there, and rode over to the short queue for the start at around 8:30ish.  My number was duly noted, and batch by batch the waiting riders were briefed by Martin (hello again Martin!) and let out in the big wide world, as the rain started…

batches of riders hello Martin!

Luckily, at least this time, the big horrible predicted rain that had been ooming over us failed to materialise much.  Well I really didn’t want to stop straight away just to put my waterproof on!  It stopped as we headed off into the countryside, and started as we were to continue, as it’s a fairly consistently pretty end of the world without being outstandingly attractive.

country lanes

There are pretty cottages, villages, churches, with a smattering of grand dwellings.  Mostly quiet country lanes, with the odd marshalled crossing of more major roads.  Hills that seemed to be troubling most more than me, and most of them I didn’t really consider to be hills.  Just ups and downs.  Which is saying something coming from me.  One of the hills even had hairpins, though I’m not entirely sure why, as if it was in the Mendips I reckon the road would just have gone straight up it!  Having said that, this was just as well, because my lovely little pills were still playing catchup and pushing up hills was pushing on the pain.  Not to mention the fact that when it’s like that, my legs get all shaky and wobbly, which is not ideal when trying to maintain your balance on two wheels…  I had to stop at the top of that hairpin hill just to try and get settled down, and also take some more pills.  Ever seen someone breathing through labour?  Well it’s a lot like that.  Now try and cycle at the same time as doing that.  Fun no?  Come to think of it, gas and air would have gone down a treat!  Poor Chris, having to nursemaid me around…

hill riders one hill riders two

It was so annoying though.  A pleasant, fairly sunny, Sunday ride, through autumnal scenery, could have been really enjoyable.  It had warmed up considerably and it wasn’t doing the forecast raining thing.  My legs were feeling good, so was the engine – in fact I’ve have been really alright if it wasn’t for the fact that I wasn’t alright!  I felt like the wattbike work has been helping, out of the saddle felt better, and we weren’t really hanging around, other than when I had to pootle and regroup from time to time.

Still, I was proper pleased to see the first food stop around half way.  Well, halfway now, as even though I’d loved to have done the 71 mile epic route, as planned, this was clearly not a day when that was going to be an option, so we were looking at doing the standard 50 mile route.  I grabbed half a banana and a most welcome cup of coffee and sat on a step to breathe some more.  Which also gave us an opportunity to admire the sheer quantity of expensive gear, both bikes and kit, being ridden by riders with no idea.  There was a lot of that all day.  Not being ridden badly as in rudely, or arrogantly, more as in the unfit or clueless.  It was heartbreaking to see seriously beautiful bikes being wasted on people struggling up the kind of hills that barely warranted the name.  Then there was the lack of etiquette – the sort that makes a sportive easier.  Warnings about obstacles, cars, etc .  Singling up when traffic wants to get past.  That kind of thing.  It’s a good thing it was mostly on quiet country lanes where there wasn’t enough traffic for that to be an issue.

chris and leaves first food stop

Food stop done, and off we went again, with me a little restored.  Coffee good :).  Well…  So there we were.  Going along another muddy leaf covered country lane.  Having also had a gel at the stop, in a keep the blood sugar level up fashion, I figured I should be drinking.  So I was…and then a group of riders came past on the outside a little unexpectedly, so I moved over a bit, on muddy tarmac that suddenly became just mud, and my wheel fell off the edge of the road and…oh b*gger…  Before you know it both the bike and I are lying in the middle of the road.  Marvellous.  Luckily there were no other dominoes near enough to fall over, just a degree of stopping in time to check to see that I was ok, while Chris joined the small and select group of riders who have had to pick me off the road at one time or another.  Honestly, some days I wonder why I ever got out of bed in the first place!  We went and sat down for a bit to check out the damage which, luckily, didn’t seem to be anything serious.  Thanks to the fact that I was drinking when I went down, I hadn’t put my arm out., so my collarbone was intact.  My weight went down on my right thigh/hip which, let’s face it, is a fairly solid part of me.  It wasn’t at massive speed either, so my kit was essentially intact.  Clearly there was some bruising going on, and some grazes under there too, but I was just pleased it wasn’t worse!  In fact, considering how well the day was going, it was actually pretty amusing.  Sometimes you just have to laugh…  Did I mention Chris deserves sympathy for having to put up with me? 😉

autumnal climb

He’s also pretty good with bikes too – and was able to check mine over and ascertain that it was actually less damaged than I was.  We had to stop a couple of minutes after getting going again as it turned out that the front brake needed readjusting and the saddle needed straightening but after that, it was all pretty good.  Well, apart from a tendency on my behalf to panic internally a little when riding over anything wet or muddy, of which there was quite a lot.  Autumn leaves are much prettier on the trees than under my wheels.  You’ll be pleased to hear that I managed to stay on for the rest of the ride though!  And having had that second dose of pills and made something else hurt to distract, my insides settled down to a dull roar.  More country lanes, more rolling up and down.  Less photos due to my urge to remain in contact with my handlebars at all times ;).  The scenery opened up a bit around the Devil’s Punch Bowl, and after the route split, the previously potentially annoying wind was behind us.  I say potentially because there was quite a lot of it but, thanks to the sheltered lanes, it had turned out to be much less of a problem than it could have been.  This is not to say that it wasn’t better behind us of course!

open skies second food stop

There was another food stop about 15 miles from the end, providing another chance to take a break and use the facilities.  Another time we might not have stopped, but as it was clearly one of those days, why not?  No rush right?  Another gel, and about an hour’s ride to go.  Easy.  Which it was quite.  The “worst” climb of the day was near the end, being steeper, narrow, wet, with leaf filled gullies down the side.  I have to admit to having not moved out of the way of the car coming down towards me, which had to wait, but there was no way I was putting my wheels in there, and I did thank him nicely when I finally went past.  There was also a sudden and torrential downpour about ten minutes from the end.  Chris stopped to put his waterproof on.  I didn’t, because I figured there wasn’t much point at that stage.  He caught me up soon enough, having presumably been able to ride at his natural pace for a while, ooh, the novelty value.  It would probably have taken me longer to get my waterproof out of the saddle bag and on to me that it would to have finished the ride as, in no time at all, we were back.  Over the timing mat, collecting a medal on the way, and it was time for a slow spacey walk back to the car, relieved to have survived!

After a little faffing, I left Chris to put the bikes back in the car, and headed into HQ which, blissfully, had proper changing facilities so I was actually able to have a shower, put clean clothes on, and restore a degree of humanity.  The shower revealed some grazes, and a nicely developing bruise or two, but nothing too drastic, though my right leg was stiffening up rapidly now it was off the bike.  I limped off and found Chris eating tomato and basil pasta in the hall, and drank yet another cup of coffee.  I wasn’t really feeling like food, and to be fair, if Chris hadn’t reminded me to eat today I’d probably have forgotten all together.  See, I told you, my guide rider!  😉 *grin*.

Cycling time: 3:29 hrs.
Distance: 52.2 miles.
Avs: 14.9 mph.
ODO: 16768.1 miles.

So, how was it?  Well oddly, even with all of that, I enjoyed it.  I could feel my form lurking, in reassuring fashion, under there somewhere.  It was a perfectly pleasant end of season ride, and well organised as all Wiggle UK Cycling Events sportives are.  It wasn’t particularly noteworthy – Chris reckons it was a bit like a joke without a punch (bowl) line…  *groan*.  I know, terrible.  I wish I’d been able to do the longer ride, but it would probably just have made me feel worse in the long run.  As it was I slept on and off the entire way back again, again mostly despite myself, as the whole thing had pretty much taken it out of me.  It may be time for a little recuperative resting :).

And today? I’m a bit bruised/grazed/battered, with some interestingly sore muscles that presumably got twisted or pulled on the way down.  But I’m pretty much in one piece, and thankful for that :).

Rubber side down

Thanks to the wonders of coincidence, it would appear that no-one is safe on the road, with both Bradley Wiggins and British cycling head coach Shane Sutton being involved in accidents this week.  The BBC poses the “is cycling getting more dangerous” question, and I don’t think I’m up for getting into that argument…so not brave enough!  Somewhat ironically, it’s thanks to Wiggo and the British Cycling team that there is apparently an influx of new riders on the road, and yet it is the great man himself demonstrating that bad things happen to good people.  Accidents are no respectors of rank!  So, in case you fancied educating yourself on some stats and figures, or maybe haven’t been riding long and could use some tips, how’s this for informative?  Let’s be careful out there!

UK Cycle Accident Statistics & Tips for Staying Safe


Provided by Injury Lawyers 4 U – accident specialists

Reach out

I suppose it was too much to hope that I had gotten away scot free from yesterday’s little foray into ice-skating…

I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been hit by a bus.  Every muscle in my arms, neck, and upper body seems to have been wrenched or strained.  An interesting side-effect to this is that I do feel oddly muscular as a result – being more than usually aware of all the muscles I have, if you see what I mean.  The lower body, apart from the bruised hip, seems to have come out of it somewhat better, and my head is fine.  Well, unless I try to move it of course – as that involves using the neck!  Cyclist’s whiplash?  Ow and double Ow.  I hurt!  A lot!

Being capable of little more than sitting in my computer chair, I have at least done that and ordered a new helmet from Wiggle.  I did consider other helmets but hey, I know these ones work so…  Not exactly a case of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”…because it is broke *grin*, but you know what I mean…  I can hear some of you tutting, shaking your heads, and bemoaning my lack of luck/cycling skill but I’ll have you know I’ve had the last helmet since July 2009, which I think is pretty good going!

I would like to thank the kind gentleman reader who took the time out of his day to draw my attention to the Giro Crash Replacement policy.  (Yes – I have readers – how cool is that?!).  I have to admit that, because my helmet is at the lower end of the market and it would only save me £10 or less, I’ve always been too lazy to do this.   It’s the whole palaver of finding proof of purchase, sending it back and so on.  Plus it would take time, and I tend to want a new helmet straight away.

Now if my helmet was one of the more expensive ones I’m thinking it would be more worth my while, as the savings are greater.  And some of them do look very lovely.  But since I’ve now cracked three of the Indicators, it doesn’t seem to make sense to spend more money that I don’t have on something I may end up having to replace all too soon.  After all they all have to match the same safety standards, and I’ve proved they work! *grin*.  (Anyone want to buy me one of these in large?).  Yes – this does sound like a blatant plug for Giro helmets, but only because they do exactly what they say on the tin.  Did I mention I swear by them? 😉

Anyway, if you have a Giro helmet and are unlucky enough to cycle a mile in my shoes, you might like to bear the replacement policy in mind.  Especially if you’re less lazy than me.

Right, where did I put my lovely pink pills?  And then I’m thinking a long bath to soak all the pain away…  Failing that, wine is medicinal, right? *grin*

Another one bites the dust

I think I should take out shares in Giro.  And if you want good cycling weather, then don’t come out on a ride I’m planning.  To be fair the actual weather today is glorious and beautiful and sunny.  But, and here’s the rub, it’s also cold and icy.  The sun is too low in the sky to melt all the ice on roads sheltered by hedges and shrubs, and it’s been so wet of late that there was an awful lot of water around to be converted to solid form last night.

So I planned an ACG ride, and awoke to glorious sun and crispy everything.  Marvellous :/  5 of us gathered, more or less on time, in the Square, with a certain sense of trepidation – GB having had to walk down Winscombe Hill to get to the main road due to the ice, which hardly inspired confidence.   There was myself, GB, KG, a new guy, and the Boy Wonder.  Plans to go to Brean Down were swiftly scrapped – not because of the uphills, but because of the possibly treacherous downs.  We opted instead to head straight down the A38 to Tarnock, go left and across to Mark, and from there to Rich’s Cider Farm for coffee.  Which went pretty well.  Rather annoyingly it would appear that the main road hadn’t been gritted but being wide and exposed, it wasn’t too bad.  The road across to Mark was icy but we took it very easy, and we all arrived for coffee in one piece, albeit a little chilly.  In case you were wondering, roads are not supposed to be sparkly 😉

Coffee and fuel on board, we headed off again.  KG had to get back and took what would turn out to be a very wise decision, and headed back the way we came.  OK, so he was right, but don’t tell him I said that.  The remaining 4 of us came back across the icy Levels, trying to use the driest clearest roads possible.  It was a bit hairy, and both BW and GB nearly came a cropper.

We were nearly on the home straight, up on the top before the Trotters somewhere, when things went a little pear shaped.  Again, it’s not the ice you see that gets you, it’s the other stuff.  Maybe sparkly is better?  So it was black ice that got the better of me, as I unexpectedly found myself hitting the road.  Literally.  Again.  Well, I suppose it was about time, it had been a while after all.  Luckily I wasn’t going very fast, as I had been being careful.  I wasn’t braking or anything, it’s just that the road was like an ice rink – my wheels completely lost traction, went out from under me, and I hit the deck on my right side, as usual.  The new guy following me went down too, braking to avoid me, and the rabbit we were about to go past went down having heard us go down.  I’m thinking dominoes here.  Oh, and ice doesn’t make the road any softer either.  My right hip took most of the impact, oh, and of course my head.  I have cracked another helmet – that’s the third now.  But that’s why you wear one.  Because the helmet gets cracked – not your head!  Have I mentioned I swear by them?

My mates variously picked me up off the road, those that weren’t picking themselves up of course!  The rabbit gave up and decided to walk home.  And new guy seems to have survived, without trashing his new jacket, which was his main concern 😉  It’s funny what you think as it’s happening.  I was just praying not to break anything because I’ve got too much on this season!  And I appear to have managed that.  I’m going to have a lovely bruise on the hip, and I’ll admit to having a bit of a headache but apart from that I’m fine.  The bike is going to need a bit of work – the saddle moved, so needs re-hair spraying and putting back in place, and it just generally needs checking over.  Good thing I’m due to see Andrew on Friday then.

We cycled the rest of the way home in a relatively respectful and restrained fashion, which may have meant us not cycling in the ice by the edge of the road and thus taking up some of the road that clearly belonged to the blonde passenger of the car that went past shouting obscenities at us.  I may have told her to go forth and procreate in response.  I mean really, what did she hope to achieve by that?  She’s bl**dy lucky the traffic lights that we were approaching turned green just as she got there or I think the posse might have had a few choice words to share with her…  BW and the new guy headed off to Cheddar and home, leaving GB to chaperone me to my door to make sure I was ok, chivalrous to the end 🙂

I’d give you my stats, but apparently my cycling computer has been happily riding along without me again as I sit here, evidenced not least by the fact that it thinks my average speed was 27mph…  At a rough guess it added about 25 miles to the ODO.

So, on balance, not the best ride of my career.  However up until then I was feeling pretty good.  Legs were happy, bike was smooth, back was diclofenac numbed, knee never really got a chance to cut in, and it’s always nice to be out with the ACG.  Better luck next time 🙂

Back in Blighty

Back in the UK now, at my bro’s, having driven here from Chessington this evening.  Not a good decision by any stretch of the imagination!  Neither was getting lost in central London.  Hubby had to play Tom Tom on speaker phone to talk an over-wrought and in pain me to my destination… Not my finest hour 🙁

Shoulder is – when I’m not driving! – strapped up.  I have the contents of a small French pharamacie in my bag, and am about to run out of magic pink pills…but hopefully that which I do have will do the job.  It’s more painful that it was as I think the bruising is spreading…but that’s only to be expected.  Must learn to stay ON the bike *grin*.

L2P was brill.  I plan on adding details to the stage entries in the next couple of days, but in the meantime, I’d like to mention that I met some fab folk – and just for a change I’m going to use names – especially John (who rail roaded me *grin*), Kevin, Ian, Phil, Steve, Lorne (apart from the twitter photo!), and more who I will add when my addled brain can do recall…  Enjoyed the ride…and it was a ride 🙂

Now I need to go recuperate for a little while…I understand red wine is medicinal…

L2P Injury Update

Assorted grazes plus a chipped shoulder bone didn’t stop Jennifer reaching the finish (what a trooper!). A short convalescence will follow (involving a sling for 10 days apparently).

Updated by Hubby.

As you know, from Hubby’s entry above, after a trip to the hospital to be checked out, it turns out that I’d actually chipped my right shoulder bone.  I now officially have a “chip on my shoulder”.  I’ve got exactly the same strapped up contraption that I had when I broke my collar bone in France a couple of years ago.  Only 10 days or so of it this time though, so that’s a relief 🙂

L2P Day 4

The final day was here already.  “Only” 50 odd miles lay between us and Paris.  Even so, it was another early start so as to get us all to where we were supposed to be on time.

I wasn’t sure how my knee was going to be feeling, even with the aid of “pink pills”, and so set off a little gingerly.  It felt ok, and as we left Chartres the roads turned into the same long flat smooth roads that we had arrived on the night before.  I was still a little restricted going uphill, but the hills went away…  The first water stop was only 20 miles away, and as I cycled along with quite a little group, it occurred to me that doing the speeds that could be done along there, if the roads lasted, that maybe I could get there in an hour…  So, I put my best foot down, hurtled past the group, and zoomed off down the road, taking Bill along behind me.  It was FABULOUS!  I flew…  I got to the first stop, about 21 miles in, after a little over an hour, having averaged 18.6mph due to the slower section at the start, feeling extremely pleased with myself *grin*.  The rest of the group came in a while later, wondering what I’d had for breakfast to set me off like that!

After that we pretty much stuck together as the roads got busier and less flat.  Some fairly serious long hills followed, as the route profile had warned, and I plodded my way up them favouring the knee.   We had a lovely coffee stop at a funny alpine style shack in the middle of some hills, complete with lake and ducks.   Things were going pretty well until we were in Versailles, getting close to the food stop, about 12 miles out from Paris.  We were going through an old military camp style area, and came across some old train tracks in the road.  Jon, just ahead of me, yelled about the tracks.  I was slowing and turning to go across them at 90 degrees when he went down, I had to swerve left to avoid him thus putting my front tyre straight into them…  I skidded along them and went down hard on my right hand side, swearing like a trooper.  After my very similar feeling accident two weeks ago I couldn’t believe I was doing it again!!!  I was NOT amused! 🙁

So, back on the ground again.  I’d gashed my right elbow, nicely removing all the just healed area there, grazed my knee, banged my head, and bashed my shoulder.  Nothing too obviously serious though.  I did feel very shaky, and in shock, unlike last time which was probably a sign.  Jon was likewise bruised and battered but ok.  Back on the bike, round the corner under a bridge, and there was the food stop on the LHS just down a hill.  I didn’t feel up to downhill, so got off and walked in, dripping blood, in tears, in front of what felt like the entire cycling world.  The DA team patched me up, and checked my bike over (back wheel out of true, back brake needs work, scratches, bashed gears again, damaged brand new handlebar tape).  The doctors weren’t happy with my shoulder and I knew it hurt more than it ought to…

…but there was no way I was not going to cycle in the last 12 miles.   Not after all that way.  I cycled the rest of the way in extremely carefully with some other tail enders – having told my mates to go on without me.  Plenty of traffic lights meant lots of stop starting, and no need to build up any speed.  Cycling into Paris was a bit emotional, down all those familiar streets, and the atmosphere was awesome.  I made it to the Trocadero where everyone was gathering without further incident.  After everyone was in, the riders from several routes set off together to go down the Champs Elysee to the Eiffel Tower, at which point my chain fell off.  I put it back on and got going again, but sadly had to cycle that last bit with people I didn’t know at all, which wasn’t quite the same.  However with all the traffic and the cyclists it actually felt more comfortable to be at the back with a bit of space and a reduced likelihood of falling off again!  All of us together made quite a spectacle, with bells ringing and horns tooting.

So, that was that.  We all gathered together under the Eiffel Tower for medals, group photos, and the like.  I was kinda sheet white by this point, but really happy to have made it.  Day 4, and the L2P was done.  And I was done for 🙂

Time 3:40:00
Distance 55
Average Speed 14.9

(Odd to see that my average speed actually went up each day, as you’d sort have expected the opposite!)

Getting better all the time

My brand new helmet arrived first thing this morning, which is pretty cool as I only ordered it on Sunday using the free – not express – delivery option.  Thanks Wiggle!  It’s the Black/Pewter colourway this time – just to make a change.  It will also match my kit and the new black handlebar tape that A in his Scorpion CS role fitted for me today.  Well – the white stuff was looking distinctly shabby pre-accident, and worse afterwards.  He also adjusted various bits, cleaned out the bottom bracket and re-greased it, fit reflectors (obligatory for the L2P), and even washed it!  He’s put a lot of hours into sorting me and my bike out, and I’m very grateful.  My bike is all shiny and ready to go now 🙂

I’m not feeling quite so shiny as my various aches and ows are taking their time to clear up – I have NO patience – so I’m going to stick to the gym for today at least 🙂

Sunshine on a rainy day

OK girlfriend, time to get back on the horse.  Well, to be fair, I had to, because I was picking up the car we’re borrowing from my folks and the most sensible logistic solution to this was to cycle over there, bung the bike in the bike and drive home.

So at 9:30am this morning, I headed out, somewhat apprehensive as to how this was going to feel.  Having resolved to take it easy, my aches eased as I warmed up a bit, which is what going up the hill to the Webbington does to you.  Out and over and up Bleadon Hill, getting into my stride now.  I noticed a tendency towards increased caution, and a little less nerve than usual, but nothing too dramatic.  Through Uphill, along the main seafront road at proper head down speed, and out ’round Sand Bay to Ebdon Cemetary where I was due to meet Dad.  A pretty good hour really, nice warm weather, with what wind there was mostly behind me, and an avs of 16.5mph.  Nice 🙂

I rang Dad, who said he wasn’t far off…and between then and him ringing me to confess to a slight case of location malfunction, the heavens opened in a big way.  Just what I wanted today – wet muddy roads! *grimace*.  We arranged to meet again and actually managed to this time, up by the main road to Yatton.  We zoomed along to Yatton as the rain cleared (too little too late!), and then through Congresbury to cross the levels to Clevedon.  Up the final long hill from the valley and there we were, in Portishead, in time to drink coffee and drip all over the furniture 😉

Cycling time: 2:04:11
Distance: 32.42 miles
Avs: 15.6 mph
ODO: 1230 miles

I actually hurt more now than I did this morning – I think some of the aches are surfacing as they settle in.  My shoulders hurt – both sides oddly, though more so on the RHS, recalling echoes of my broken collar bone… My cuts are ouching up a storm – I think I may still be carrying some road in my elbow one somewhere so I’ll be dealing with that later.  I could carry on, but I think that’s likely to be quite boring…*grin*.  I’m pleased the ride went well though, and I’m pleased to have stayed on the bike – especially as it brakes really badly on properly wet roads!  I’m off to A to get a pre L2P bike check tomorrow, which is clearly more important now than it was before, and I’m tempted to just stick to the gym for the rest of the week and wrap myself in cotton wool.  We’ll see 🙂

Hit the road, Jack…

… should that be Jennifer?

I persuaded S to come for a ride this morning, being a tad bored of cycling the same old routes with the same old company – just me and my mp3.  We met in the Square and headed off around 8:30am.  It’s always lovely to leave the route to someone else, so I just followed S…down the main road, round Brent Knoll which he meant to go up but missed the turn (darn…) over to Mark Causeway and off towards Bridgwater.  We were aiming for Pawlett Hill.  S likes hills and fancied trying a new one…there’s no accounting for taste you know 😉

On the way we came across a group of that particular kind of gentlemen who wear a certain kind of clothes and take photos of obscure things, standing by the side of the road on a bridge over something.  Was there a special LBJ (little brown job) bird lurking?  Were we going over a river?   No, a railway line.  Little neurons fired inside my brain, and it occurred to me that…yes…confirmed by a gentleman walking towards the bridge – this would be a train thing!  I convinced S to come stand on the bridge with me, and 5 minutes later the Tornado came steaming down the long straight and under our bridge.   Totally made my morning 🙂

Off we went again, pootling around unfamiliar lanes perfecting the art of the U-turn and dismally failing to find the aforementioned hill.  We did find an “up” eventually, but I’m afraid it didn’t live up to its billing (darn again… ;)).  So we headed back for home, out Cossington way and back across the levels along one of those roads that you just know is going to join up with somewhere familiar sooner or later.   Sure enough, we popped up on the Burtle road and headed back towards Mark, having a brief chat with another Tor rider we encountered.

Up into Mark, out the other side, where we took the left towards Chapel Allerton…followed by a white van.  (I’m starting to think white vans have it in for me).  There’s a bend at the bottom of the little hill there with a little bridge over water and a fairly sharp right…   Down on the drops, little bit too much speed, farm dirt (let’s call it “dirt” anyway)…and bye bye back wheel, hello road.  Instand Thud.  Right hand side of me meets road.  Hip, shoulder, head…in that order.  Hands still on drops, in vaguely foetal position.  Although I closed my eyes briefly and spent a couple of secs mentally checking I was still here and it was ok to open them again…I stayed conscious this time.  S was right there to help check me out, and luckily, considering my time frame, I appear to be pretty much ok.  Some great road rash, gonna have a kick ar*e bruise on my right thigh, and there’s a gash on my arm.  My head has a minor bruise and popped an interesting vein in my right temple…and yet again I have totalled a helmet – cracked right through again.  I think I should take out shares in Giro at this rate…but hey, they seem to do the job!

After a little while of checking me and the important things out – like the bike – we headed back.  Poor S, it’s clearly not a lot of fun watching people fall off bikes.  To be fair, it’s not much fun doing it either! *grin*.  However apart from an increased element of caution near bends on the way back – the roads were recently wet – I seemed to be ok.  And it would have been a shame to waste my favourite stretch of road, so (however ill advisedly) I put my foot down and kicked it back from Wedmore to home 🙂  I really do enjoy getting up some speed down there, though I prefer to be in front, cycling close behind someone was worrying me even more than usual, even if the drafting was helpful! 😉

Cycling time: 2:46:43
Distance: 44.67 miles
Avs: 16.0 mph
ODO: 1198 miles

S saw me to my door, in true gentlemanly fashion.  It’s hardly his fault I’m inept – (so stop blaming yourself!) – and it could have been a lot worse.  I have ten days to recover in and the bike is due to be checked by A on Tuesday anyway.  I’m all cleaned up, am a bit ouchy and am looking forward to seeing how the bruises develop but on the whole, I think I’m ok 🙂

Which is good because I’m supposed to be on the bike tomorrow morning….I guess we’ll see how I feel when I stiffen up.  Apart from that – it was a pretty good ride.  It was nice to catch up with S and I enjoyed the route.  Well…you gotta laugh *grin*.