General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Interesting Day - Crash Report [Long] Rss Feed  
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2018-08-25 9:39 PM


Subject: Interesting Day - Crash Report [Long]
So, here's the thing -

Something I'm struggling with as a nonserious (yet) triathlete is juxtaposing my performance in these disciplines with how I feel physically (in general). I'm around 5'8 or 5'9" depending on my shoes and the quality of the camera at the SevenEleven and I roll in between 144 and 150 lbs most days. I'd estimate 14-16% bodyfat at 34 years old. I'm also bald.

All of those stats given, I can squat twice my body weight multiple times. I can deadlift for days. Pull ups? No problem - 15 on a terrible day. I've always had the 'benefit' of a fast metabolism and people telling me 'I bet you can run!' I can't. I can sprint, and sprint fast, but endurance is not my jam. Doesn't mean I'm not trying. But, I think I realized today that I'm leaning too heavily on the past than I am the 'right now.'

Here's what happened -

Two days ago I got my road bike fitted for me (finally). I had been 'riding' on and off without ever having this done. Before I got it fitted, I clapped on the aero bars I bought from amazon and had the bike shop fit me to those. The guy did some great work (I think) and asked me a lot of detailed questions, took a bunch of looks at me, that kind of thing. I felt great leaving the shop. Well, this afternoon I went to a nature park near my home and decided to ride. There's a nice loop out there that's just over a mile. I absolutely figured that screaming through a mile would be easy. Maybe I'd do 5 or 6 without breaking much of a sweat while I practiced using aero bars for the first time, yeah? Easy stuff.

Well, less easy than I thought. I grabbed my bike after having some coffee with the wife (no real attention to nutrition today - I was at home with my two toddlers all day by myself) and got over to the park. No real warm up, just a few down-and-backs in a parking lot to make sure I was familiar with my controls (I haven't ridden in months). Felt fine, so I fired up strava and took off. I didn't start in the gear I planned to finish in (didn't finish in it, either) and by about a half mile I was hurting. I didn't understand at all - I should be stronger than that by a wide margin. Whatever, I powered on (I use 'powered' very loosely). Toward the end of loop 1, I started getting on the bars. It felt REALLY different (not bad, just different) because the steering was so sensitive, but the position was comfortable. When I got down in tight I immediately felt myself go faster. It wasn't easier, but I felt like I was getting more per stroke - this was heartening.

Loop 2 had me sucking wind. Not like 'I just ran a mile holding kettlebells' or 'where did my periphery go?' sucking wind, but I could feel it. I was breathing heavy without my chest burning, if that makes more sense. Loop two I'm on the bars more, working things out and feeling a little more comfortable. I still have a few weird 'wiggles' through my lane, but nothing that would scare me. So, how did this come off the rails? Well - the parking lot where my truck was effectively marking 'start/finish' is approached by a broad curve that's semi-blind because of some planted trees. It is also a slight undulation, finishing down, so I would kind of crank through it to set my mind right for the ensuing loop. Made sense in my head. But, I can't be trusted - it was really hot.

As I clear Loop 2 and start 3, the curve ahead of me is - treeline, 7 feet, road, 2 feet of grass, path, more grass. Standing in the middle of the road, moving right to left, is a giant coyote. I mean, a coyotesaurus. A velociyote. Somehow, instinctively, I merged just in time from road to path as the parking lot ran out of space. The practical part of me thought, 'oh crap,' and the redneck in me thought, 'wow, that's pretty cool. I wonder why he's out moving in the heat of the day? Kind of strange for him to be so close to people like this, I wonder..' you see what I mean. Anyway, the two thought paths kind of agreed this was a problem, so I whistled - really loud. Like, grandpa's 'get your over here' whistle. I've sent many an animal running with that whistle. This dire-yote, though - not impressed. He stopped moving, which was a relief, but here's the big problem - I was watching HIM and not where I was going. About the time I realized I was going to pass him and not collide my front tire dove off the path but didn't make clean contact with the grass field. Instead it bit into the divot between path and grass and - you guessed it - that was all she wrote for me. I don't specifically recall what happened, but I remember the bike and I disagreeing on how physics was to apply in this scenario. I went headfirst over the bars and tumbled what I would imagine is a respectable 4 times.

Having been in a motorcycle accident before (I swear me and 2 wheels just don't agree) I immediately did a mental check and knew nothing was 'where it shouldn't be.' I had a reasonably terrible pain in my right shin and somewhere on my upper right leg. No blood on the shin, that was good. I paused here and, literally said out loud, 'thank you, helmet.' My right inner quad muscle was a ball of fire, though. I paused my strava ride - priorities - and stood up. This was a mistake. My shin and right quad protested. I had to walk about a hundred...maybe a hundred and twenty yards back to my truck with a bike that was trashed. My aero bars are pointing in different directions. My chain is a joke. Grass is covering my bike like a ghilly suit. And, I am in some serious, serious pain.

I was able to get home ok and survive the leg-hugs from my girls. Bug, my leg wont let me bend it without a substantial amount of pain and my shin clearly has a gigantic, swollen bruise forming. Walking without a limp takes conscious effort.

So, I'm grateful to not be really injured. I think a lifetime of doing silly stuff, martial arts, and the military kind of pseudo-took over and helped me through the crash. But, more than anything else about today - what sticks with me is that I'm really pissed. I've been trying to do this thing - some race - for three years now. There have been legitimate reasons why I have dropped a race - birth of a child, for instance. But today it crossed my mind that if I tried to do this thing I'd actually embarrass myself. I have had this idea in the back of my mind that all I really needed was a 'tune up.' I was probably 'athlete enough' to get by with getting familiar with transitions and knocking the rust off some of my 'older skills' and figured I could make a decent showing. Let's talk about humble pie. I ran some quick calculations at home (because I'm a data guy. I live in finance in the real world) and discovered my weight to power ratio and assumed VO2 max equate to an alcoholic, overweight stork. It actually dawned on me that I may not have the capability (right now) to do this thing. It further occurred to me that I don't have the foggiest clue what I'm doing.

Don't get me wrong; I think I have a valid point of frustration that most 'newbie' triathlon plans seem to target people with 50lbs to lose, no athletic experience, and the desire to 'just finish' (and I certainly mean no disrespect). But I think there are probably a lot of folks out there like me that want to do this thing for real and are intimidated by the humility that's required. It's going to be an uphill battle for the next 8 weeks.

Turns out a crash can teach you a lot.

2018-08-26 11:06 AM
in reply to: 0

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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: RE: Interesting Day - Crash Report [Long]

Glad you are OK.

Crashing can indeed teach a person a lot.  The one thing about your post that sticks out to me is this:  You just crashed and got yourself reasonably well hurt, and you are thinking "How can I do a race?"

That turn of thought speaks volumes.  It means that you want it.

If the beginner plans are frustrating to you, then make one up yourself.  That's what I did many years ago.  And be prepared for it to take a couple of years before you are pushing the front of the race.

Or, if you'd like, here's a plan.

Run 5 times per week:  30 minutes (with 4x30 seconds strides), 45 minutes, 30 minutes, 30 minutes (with 4x30 seconds strides), 60 minutes.  Scale the times up or down (evenly) according to your ability.  Do not run hard, ever.  (The strides should feel like you are 'opening up' but should not cause you to suck wind.)  Keep it at conversational pace the whole way.  Talk to yourself if necessary.  If you cannot speak complete sentences you are going too hard.  (It'll give the neighbors something to gossip about.

Bike 4-5 times per week:  3-4 60-90 minutes rides; 1 2-3 hour ride.  If that's not where you are at the start, scale down and gradually build to those times, or more if you are inclined to do so.  If you need to do some riding on the trainer, that's fine.  You can train 75% or so of those numbers and hammer the whole way (after a 5-10 minute warm-up), or do big intervals, like 4x10 minutes or 2x20 minutes...hard; you should feel like cursing when it is done (but don't because you have small children about ;-) ).  On the road, whenever you are somewhere that you can hammer the bike without fear of traffic or veloci-monsters, do so.  Spend as little time as possible 'just pedaling' and as much time as possible pedaling hard.

Swim 4-5 times per week.  I know.  Still, do it.  And don't do a lot (or even any, really) long slow swims.  Do sets like 10x100 on 10 seconds rest.  Some 200s and 500s are OK, but focus on 50s and 100s.  If you can find a solid swim coach and can spend some time with that person, do so.

People will tell you that you need to do this or that specific workouts, blah blah blah.  As you develop, more targeted, specific, things become more important.  Right now, consistency and not getting hurt (sorry) is pretty much all that matters.

So do that plan (or really anything that gets you out the door consistently in all three disciplines and doesn't get you injured) for 3-5 months.  Don't over-think it. Don't overcook the runs.  Then do a race.  Slay it.  Then reassess.

Good luck!

Edited by Experior 2018-08-26 11:09 AM
2018-08-26 5:15 PM
in reply to: LiftAndShoot

Subject: RE: Interesting Day - Crash Report [Long]
Crashes happen, everyone hits the deck once in a while. I haven't gone down on the road this year but I've had more than a few spills on the trail that left me bruised and bleeding. I guess you either accept it and keep spinning. . . or you don't. I will say training accidents on the road are quite rare though so you're probably not due for awhile.
2018-08-30 9:29 AM
in reply to: ziggie204


Subject: RE: Interesting Day - Crash Report [Long]
So, as a follow up to my crash (now about 5 days removed) some unfortunate circumstances have evolved. I thought I was banged up and generally ok, but I'm actually in kind of a lot of pain. My right quad feels perpetually smoked - like I've just squatted heavy weights for the first time in months. The more concerning issue is my right lower leg. All along my shin bone I have a crippling pain if I am touched. My oldest daughter gave me the 'ol flying leg-hug yesterday and it literally took me off my feet. I also peeled off my sock last night and discovered a softball sized bruise on the inside of my foot/ankle that wasn't previously there. That was fun.

I say all that to say that I can still do some leg work; I can leg press (can't squat, too much quad dominance) and I can cycle (stationary, my bike is still borked).

My wife, the doctor, recommended I go get checked out and I'm going to take her advice as soon as I can.
2018-09-04 3:28 PM
in reply to: LiftAndShoot

Subject: RE: Interesting Day - Crash Report [Long]
If it makes ya feel any better I wiped out too. Just this weekend.

  • 5 miles out on my ride. As with all crashes, you're bumping down the road looking at the world sideways before you know what happened. As I was coming down after the first bounce off the roadway my thought was "did I just hear air, in a massive blast? And why am I sideways? Oh, I crashed."

  • After the second bounce I knew nothing was broken. But then I started preparing for the third bounce and skid along the pavement.
    Both elbows. A little hip. One knee and about 1/8" shaved off the pointy part of the outside of my ankle.

    Fortunately, there's no "big" patches like my last one. This one was probably 18 mph, and somehow less worse than the one that happened at 5 mph. Most of the damage is little half dollar sized scrapes. Nothing like the big 5" square one on my hip from the last one that sidelined me. This one will just slow me down.

    Other than the outright blowout on the rear tire (hit a serious crack/pothole and the tube BURST in one fell swoop)....the bike is fine.
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