Last week I went for a solo ride because I couldn’t fit my schedule to go with the group I usually head out with. Nonetheless, solo rides are always fun because you get to do your tempo, clear your mind and just focus on riding. This is exactly what the plan was. I got geared up and ready to go and out the garage I went, heading for one of my favorite routes towards Olocau. I figured I would do a quick round – 20km there and 20km back. But trust me, once you get in the saddle you just want to keep going.
It was an amazing day. Sun shining, blue sky, and that in the middle of January and the roads were mostly clear. One of the major benefits of training late mornings while everyone else is in the office. However, what does surprise me are the number of riders in the area. Valencia is literally packed with road bikers (and mountain bikers) who seem to all be doing the same thing as I have planned. Every couple minutes another rider passes by, with a quick headshake to greet.
I had planned to go to Olocau via Urb. Pedralvilla, yet decided to go over Betera instead to add a couple kilometers to the odometer. Tempo at this point averaged 25km/hr. Nice and easy to get the muscles going. I reached the foot of the Olocau hills, decided to go for a climb and continue through to towards Marines. A route I have never taken beyond Olocau. Absolutely amazing. A nice steady climb for over 10km, but absolutely worth it. Breathtaking views and in weather averaging 18 degrees Celsius, who can complain?
Once I reached Marines, it was time to go downhill, back towards Olocau and over to Lliria to then head back home. The best part about pushing up is coming back down. There were parts of my downhill ride, in which I reached 60+km/hr. Have you ever felt the speed of a road bike? Amazing feeling, but that’s a side thought.
All was well, took my standard route home to compare my stats via my Garmin Fenix 3 and then it happened, out of nowhere. Before I knew it I was gliding on pavement heading straight for the curb. What happened? Let’s rewind.
The last part of my ride includes a short climb with a length of no more than 400 meters across a bridge that goes over the high way. However coming down is the same length, only steeper and you pick up speed very fast. Typically there are no cars and the roundabout that comes at the end of that straight roadway is laid out that you really do not have to go around on a bike, as it’s built slightly to the left, making it easy to kind of go straight ahead and just roll out. Yet, what I didn’t know and could not see, was that there was oil covering both lanes of the roundabout. I assume some bigger vehicle had been losing lots of oil, driving from one side to the other and it all seeped towards the curb covering both lanes. I came speeding in, and last I saw, at 42km/hr only to notice just as my front wheel touched the first bit of oil. That’s where my bike went sideways, I luckily clicked out both sides (don’t ask how). Just an instinct. I knew behind me there were no cars. I always tend to quickly glance back when I see roads intersecting, etc just to be cautious and aware of the surroundings. Either way, I was now on the pavement gliding across the roundabout, fast. My bike went off slightly to my right. I went straight towards the curb. A couple of meters to the left and I might have exited the roundabout on my rear. 🙂
I hit the curb, feet first, came to an abrupt stop, immediately got up and said “Crap, my clothes” 🙂 I had holes in my Ale pants and a small hole in my Ale jacket, because somehow I managed to use my gloves, which are totally ripped, to glide across the pavement. An elderly lady who had just gotten into her car from across the street, drove over to see if everything was ok. I was bleeding and bruised, but I knew nothing serious had I happened. I answered that all is good. I then walked over, took my bike, checked for any major damages in the carbon frame, turned the handlebars back into position as at first glance they were just turned around. Got back on and with only 8km to go, pedaled. What else do you do? When you fall down, you need to learn to just pick yourself up and keep going. Life will through you curve balls. You got to take them and keep pressing forward. No excuses.
I arrived home, told my wife, took a shower, stretched, and all was good.
Fixing up the bike
After such a crash, you always need to check up your bike. I took a good look at the bike, cleaned it, took it apart, and checked the frame meticulously for any cracks the size of a hair. There are a few small “dents”, but luckily just cosmetic with nothing that could impact future riding. I cleaned it all up, adjusted several parts and then finished with the handlebars. It wasn’t till then that I noticed that the handlebars had cracked fully in the middle only being held together by the stem. Lucky me. If you’re asking how the handlebar broke…it too was full carbon. Ouch.
Well, life is life. It is what it is.
I spent the next several hours between playing with the kids (it was the weekend), them sleeping and other chores, researching and reading on handlebars.
In the end, I opted to go with a very generic handlebar model by Ritchey, and new handlebar tape. I’ll share that in an upcoming post when it arrives later this week. At the same time, I order a smaller size width for my wife’s bike, along with the same tape and a shorter stem. She has been wanting to update that for a few weeks now as she inherited my setup and both stem and handlebars were too big and uncomfortable for her.
If you are in the Valencia area, reach out to me and let’s go for a ride. If you have never ridden a road bike. I highly recommend it. But warning – it can become addicting.