Save your crashing for 'cross

DA shows what Andy is missing.
Pic by London Cycle Sport

Last year my preparations for the cyclo-cross season went a bit pear-shaped. A pile up during an evening crit followed by a flu type bug saw to that.  Never mind, this year a different approach was all that was needed – or so I thought.

Earlier in the year I’d marked out a circular 200-mile mtb ride starting and finishing in Eastbourne, at least half of which utilised the wonderful South DownsWay while the rest was a journey into the unknown. Still, if it turned out OK maybe there could be a small business opportunity here running three- or four-day guided cross-country tours around the Downs.

But first, a trial run was needed, which in turn led to the moral of this sorry tale and, consequently, yet another ruined start to the cross season. Everything was going to plan, the weather was perfect, the going dry and, despite losing my way a few times, the seventy odd miles a day, 80 per cent of which was bridleway, seemed no problem.

Somewhere west of Lewes the route presented yet another sweeping descent, a steep grass bank ending with clearly defined tracks either side of a large clump of shrub. Time to let the brakes off and the front suspension do its thing. Hang on, my path is doing a sharp left and, if I’m not mistaken, that’s a rutted lip followed by a drop.

Front wheel drops into rut, spins bars through ninety degrees, chest meets bars, head and right hip meet ground. Result – suspected fractured ribs and pelvis and there’s still some 25 miles to do. So, five weeks later, with the cross season well underway, I’m just starting to ride my bike again, and the moral? Never ride alone. That way, at least you’ve got someone to back up your story. So far, I’ve had no sympathy from anyone; [that’s because we don’t believe you are that badly hurt – ed.]  just the words “you idiot.”


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