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Thread: What if?

  1. #1
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    Default What if?

    I got wipeout while cornering the turn behind the Little Italian Store after the S curve on 1/24 morning to DC. It was very foggy morning with wet surface. I was slow, caution, and accelerating up in to the turn and my rear wheel slipped out. I felt like the rear wheel ran away from me. I wasnít down hard and check everything before getting up. I couldnít move my left pinky. The handle bar crushed my pinky. So I buddy taped the finger and ride to GWU hospital ER.

    After more than 2 hours of waiting at GWU, they x-ray my finger. There wasnít orthopedic available on site to review the x-ray. I waited for another hour so orthopedic to review it remotely. He said I got fracture finger and recommend splinting the left arm. I didnít have any confidence in their service at all.

    After I left the hospital, I checked the rating of the doctor and he got the worse rating on Yelp. I want to get a second opinion. I meet with another orthopedic next day and he said that I need to a surgery or won't able move the finger much and recommended to another hand orthopedic surgeon. His opinion was the doctor at GWU should have finger splinting instead of arm splinting. I choose the surgery option and got it on 1/30.

    While I was resting at home, the weather is so nice outside. Itís killing me. I wish Iím out riding. I started thinking about the following possible cause.

    1) It was 37 degree, is it possible I hit ice?
    2) There was mud before the turn. Did I pick mud on my wheel and slide?
    3) I bought the new wheels with tires a month ago. Is it the new tire?
    4) Since my tire size is 700x23 regular tires, should I get a bigger winter tire? 28?
    5) My bike is 5 years old. Is it my bike?
    6) Is it possible to control the fall so I wonít break anything? How can you practice for it?
    7) Was it possible that I was going too fast for the corner? I didnít feel like it but I donít have a GPS.
    8) What if I listened to my wife not to ride on the wet day or when the temperature below freezing? BTW, she told me not to ride this day too. To keep peace, I told her that she was right.

    Iím still searching for an answer. I love riding but donít want to be down again.

  2. #2
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    sorry to hear about your accident, that s curve is tricky. i crashed there a few years ago but i was coming down the hill in similar wet conditions. in my case there was a bump on the trial right at the turn apex, which caused my front wheel to break traction and i went down hard. i think the grade, sharp turn and uneven / bumpy trail makes it tricky. it's downright dangerous when there's wet leaves or snow / ice. i hope you heal fast.

  3. #3
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    I've gone down at that spot too. My fall was because of wet leaves and the slippery yellow paint of the center line--and I was only going 5mph or so!

    Take it easy, heal up, and when the horse throws you, you just need to get back on the saddle!

  4. #4
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    I'm glad you're healing up. I know it is difficult when the weather is so lovely. You're doing the right thing to lay low while you recover.

    The S of Eternal Peril is an easy place to crash... even for people who have ridden it for years. Someone (my guess is that it might be the people doing tree work there a few weeks back) had an equipment failure and oil was spilled. At first they spread wood chips to cover the oil. The wood chips were later replaced by sand. Someone should have put oil-dry down on it day 1 and the problem would have been solved. As it was, oily sand kind of got tracked up and down the path and it was a little more slippery for a while.

    The oil spill was actually at the bottom, when all the turning is done. It hasn't really been more slippery than the rest of the trail for a few days, but I still treat it gingerly.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcv View Post
    s curve is tricky. i crashed there a few years ago but i was coming down the hill in similar wet conditions. in my case there was a bump on the trial right at the turn apex, which caused my front wheel to break traction and i went down hard. i think the grade, sharp turn and uneven / bumpy trail makes it tricky. it's downright dangerous when there's wet leaves or snow / ice. i hope you heal fast.
    Thanks, I didn't crash at the downhill S curve. I always slow down here. I was so slow that I have to accelerate up after it. I crashed at flat turn after the curve.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RESTONTODC View Post

    1) It was 37 degree, is it possible I hit ice?
    2) There was mud before the turn. Did I pick mud on my wheel and slide?
    3) I bought the new wheels with tires a month ago. Is it the new tire?
    4) Since my tire size is 700x23 regular tires, should I get a bigger winter tire? 28?
    5) My bike is 5 years old. Is it my bike?
    6) Is it possible to control the fall so I won’t break anything? How can you practice for it?
    7) Was it possible that I was going too fast for the corner? I didn’t feel like it but I don’t have a GPS.
    8) What if I listened to my wife not to ride on the wet day or when the temperature below freezing? BTW, she told me not to ride this day too. To keep peace, I told her that she was right.

    I’m still searching for an answer. I love riding but don’t want to be down again.
    That stinks, pinky breaks suck. That part of the trail is a death trap and an excellent example of Murhphy's Law. Basically every time I'm going around that blind corner I say to myself "lunatic ahead!" and magically a guy will come screaming around the bend - no joke, it happens EVERY day. But anyways, 1/24 was a pretty terrible day to be out riding - ice was sublimating everywhere and the trail was still really slick. I took a fall on the 23rd and 25th and I'm still healing up. It is pretty easy to blame your bike but that probably wasn't the main factor, unless you are are riding on bald tires at 20mph, in which case that is just natural selection. Rather it is just a matter of luck honestly, a stray leaf or two, some random wood chips, and unintended break tap - it doesn't take much. However, you CAN prepare to fall and do so relatively gracefully. Here is how I do it:

    1. There is usually a good amount of time before you hit the ground, doing the wobble, in the air, rolling, what have you. Don't let fear over take you, it is going to hurt so let's try to minimize that - #1 Think
    2. Impact is your first enemy. Blunt trauma is best handled by fat and muscle so try to impact with your thighs or upper arms. NO BONES! Wrists and feet break easily so - #2 Soft impact
    3. Friction kills. You need to roll, the longer the better. Aim for grass rather than the asphalt - #3 Roll
    4. You are going to hurt, take your time and think about what might be broken - #4 Recover

    I carry basic first aid stuff with me and have a pretty good idea of what my threshold would be for calling an ambulance.

    Hope you feel better.

  7. #7
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    Sorry to hear about the accident and the hassles with the doctors.

    Quote Originally Posted by RESTONTODC View Post
    5) My bike is 5 years old. Is it my bike?
    That's it! Not because of the age of the bike, but because it's a road bike!

    At 37 degrees, I'd expect any ice to have a much larger wet (melted) area around it. It might have been a small twig/stick -- hit one parallel to your direction of travel, while turning, and your rear wheel will slide right out. (Ask me how I know.) Even at slow speeds, that will happen. (I'm slow, so someone else needs to address "too fast.")

    When falling, I try and resist the urge to break my fall with my hands. How to practice? Get on your bike, do a track stand, and lean to the side? Yeah, maybe not. A martial art that involves throws (Judo, Aikido) would get you used to falling and not using your hands to break your fall, but that's probably overkill. (I know several cyclists who have studied Aikido and tucked into a roll when flying over the handlebars.)

  8. #8
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    Sorry about your crash!

    4) I have 28 or32s on my commuter - lower pressure is a little more forgiving, too. Although I've stuck with 23s on my road bike (which I used yesterday and plan to again tomorrow)
    5) No
    6) Maybe. See above. Extreme case - I overlaped wheels and crashed @20mph towards end of Civil War Century last fall. Didn't break anything (bust some interesting bruises and road rash). Why? I didn't have time to let go of handlebars and went down (sliding) basically braced on pedals and handlebars. So the fall was taken by my thigh, arm, and shoulder - spread the load out just enough, I think.
    7) Yes. Possible.
    8) Wives are always right (if in doubt, I ask mine, she reminds me she's right ). But unless they ride, they don't always understand the situations we face.

    Definitely get the finger looked at by a real ortho. Eons ago, I broke 2nd kunckle in right pinky (bare-hand fielded a baseball in the pizza & beer league - team's shortstop was our ringer and threw it too hard for me to handle. I was "designated Out"). Local walk-in quack thought it was sprained and had me splint it. Was broken & joint froze - sticks out a little if I try to make a fist.

  9. #9
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    I've never tried to ride 700 x23 on a commute. Trail and road conditions just way too spotty on my route. I've been happy with 700x35 on both bikes -- in a smooth touring style on the commuter bike, and with traction tread on the CX bike. I've had a few minor slips or sudden whoops moments, but so far haven't hit the ground from a slip. I appreciate the extra width and lower pressure on wet mornings (like today) when there's a little oil on the road surface or extra twigs and debris are littering the trails. It's a little more work to push the bigger, heavier tires, but worth it in my opinion.

  10. #10
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    Default Some ideas

    Sorry to hear about your mishap.

    Here are some thoughts.

    If your tires have minimal tread they are more likely to slide. Opt for something with a little grip if you plan on riding the trails around these parts.

    Sometimes the shaded area of trails have a slick coating of algae or moss or something. When wet, it's like ice.

    It was 37 degrees but it could have been 31 if your crash location was in the shade all day. You could have hit ice. Not much you can do for that.

    Lance was right, it's not about the bike. If bike age had anything to do with it my 18 year old commuter would have killed me a long time ago.

    The only broken bone I've ever had was my pinkie. The doctor put it in a half cast (half length-wise) that went halfway to my elbow. I could still move my pinkie but the cast protected it from any more hits. It worked well. No surgery for me. It took a few months to fully heal. Pinkies aren't all that important. Gerry Garcia played music professionally with 9 1/2 fingers. I continued to ride but that was using a recumbent. Any other bike would have been impossible.

    A wise man once told me the secret 2 words to a happy marriage. Yes, dear.

    Heal fast. Spring is nearly here.

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