My RAGBRAI Team LIVESTRONG Fundraising Page

Monday, March 19, 2012


The weather in the Madison (WI) area has been beautiful the last several days - temps in the 70s and even low 80s.  Perfect for riding one's bicycle!  And I have been.  With the exception of Saturday, 3/17, I have ridden every day since March 4th.  Mostly these rides have been my bikecommute to work.  There have been a few rides with Olivia as well.  And a solo 25-mi ride.

So, on Sunday the 18th, I took off for a ride in the afternoon.  I was planning on being gone between 2-1/2 to 3 hours.  It was a great ride.  I ride through Madison all the way to Fitchburg before turning west to County M.  From there I head north to go home, via the bike path along Hwy 12 and then east on Hwy 19.

After 42 miles, I was back and about to turn right back into my neighborhood.  Almost home.  Ready to enjoy a cold beer as my reward.
An innocent looking intersection
And as I turned in, at about 15 mph (I'm guessing), I ran over some dirt, gravel, sand.  As I was leaning to the right.  Then I fel my bike wobble underneath me.  "OH SHIT! I'M GOING DOWN!" is all I thought.  I came back upright and then immediately went over on my left side.  Crashing into the pavement.  Landing on my shoulder and hip.  And I slid.  Not sure how far. 
Hidden in the open - dirt, sand, gravel in my path.
I came to a stop on my back.  I was yelling.  Ok, maybe screaming.  I remember that I was yelling but hadn't taken inventory of how I felt.  The first thing I noticed (besides the pain) was that my right foot was still clipped in. And I couldn't get it free of the pedal.

I heard some voices asking what hurt, how they could help, could they call anyone, where did I live, etc.  My eyes were closed.  I asked them to take my right shoe off.  They then moved the bike.  I had some road rash, I knew that.  My shoulder hurt the most.  My legs were ok.  My head fine.

Slowly I get my wits about me.  Two of the women who stopped to help then walked with me back to the house.  (The third was driving and went on her way.)  I wish I remembered their names!  THANK YOU!

I got home (it was about 5:30) and told Carol what had happened.  Then went up to shower.  (And yes, I did grab that cold beer.  But it wasn't as enjoyable as I was hoping it would be.)  Taking off the jersey hurt like hell.  But I was able to shower. 
Road rash visible.  Other injuries not so.
My daughter was at volleyball camp until 6:30.  We decided that we'd go to the ER after we picked up Olivia.  My range of motion was limited.  After x-rays, I was given a pain killer and a sling.  No breaks.  Just a sprained shoulder.  *WHEW!*  And we went home, getting there at about 9:00.

At about midnight, the hospital called.  It was the radiologist.  They had re-examined my pics and identified two cracked ribs.  That explains the pain whenever I took a deep breath.

So today, I am at home.  Resting.  Recovering.  Not sure when I can get back in the saddle.  Next week, hopefully.  At least for bikecommuting.  Next long road ride?  We'll have to see.

Either way, I'll need a new helmet.  I didn't think I hit my head, but the helmet has multiple cracks in it.  I must've banged my head after I landed on my shoulder.  Looking at the damage, I wonder how the cranium would've withstood the impact.
Lesson confirmed: WEAR YOUR HELMET!

The bike itself - my good road bike - came through it relatively unscathed.  I have to adjsut the brake lever.  Since I landed on the left side, the deraileurs were saved.  There were but a few new scratches. So that's a win.  (How's that for finding a silver lining for that grey cloud?)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sharing the Joy

This past weekend in the Madison area was beautiful.  Windy but beautiful.  Temperatures were in the 60s and it was sunny.  Two great days for bike rides.

My daughter, Olivia, and I had a great bicycle themed weekend.  On Friday (she was off school for p/t conferences), we went to Bike-O-Rama in Madison, hosted by one of the local bike shops (LBS) in town.  We also hit Willy Bikes and the Trek store.  We dropped a few bucks, but got her shorts and a jersey, a lock, lights, toeclips for the pedals and a few other things.  She wanted to buy more - "We'll need that on RAGBRAI, won't we?" was a constant refrain.  Even though our plan is to do RAGBRAI together next year! 

On Saturday, we were riding for more than 70 minutes and traveled 11.5 miles.  We fought the wind and won!  When we got home, Olivia was excited to see that we had averaged about 9.5 mph but had a top speed over 18!  She couldn't believe we went that fast.
Olivia, March 10, 2012, in her new kit (shorts/jersey).
Even though her legs were sore from Saturday's ride, she wanted to go again on Sunday.  It was still windy, too.  We didn't ride as far - going 7.3 miles - but actually rode faster.  She really likes her new bike and is quite adept at changing gears as needed.

I'm so lucky that she wants to ride with me.  I have tried to not push my interests on her and I don't compel her to go for a ride with me.  Which makes sharing the ride all the more satisfying for both of us.  And makes the idea of riding RAGBRAI together a real goal, not just lip service.

And my wife Carol loves it too, even if she doesn't ride.  She said she gets a tingle in her stomach when we talk about Olivia and I going riding and it makes her happy.

I was able to get a second time on Sunday.  I took Candi (my Cannondale Synapse road bike) off the trainer and remounted a road tire.  I have a 25-mi loop I frequently ride between home and Middleton.  It was a great ride.  And even though it was wind-aided, I was able to sustain a 21-mph average over 7 miles in the middle third of the route.  I felt like I was flying! 

All in all a great weekend for riding.  And an even better weekend for sharing the joy that comes with riding your bike!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Looking Back ... and Looking Ahead

Looking Back: Goal check for Feb.
So, two of my goals for the year are to a) spend some time in the saddle on 250 days in 2012; and b) to bikecommute at least 175 days. The latter includes days of park-n-bike, where I drive into Madison and bike from the north side to the office.

In January, I rode 17 days, including 9 bikecommutes. In February, it was 16 and 11. So far, then, I've ridden 33 of 60 days and bikecommuted 20. Both are below a rate to get me to my goal, but there's plenty of time to correct that.

Speaking of which...

Looking Ahead: 30 Days of Biking
... looking ahead to April, it's #30DaysOfBiking again. A couple guys in Minneapolis started this in 2010. Every April and September, people register for the event (free), commit to riding every day that month (even if just around the block at 11:30 pm!), and share their stories on social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter). If you're interested, check them out at Last year over 2,000 bicyclists across the globe took part.