The first day of my new job, my boss introduces me to the group. They find out I ride, and I immediately get invited to a fund-raising ride on 10/1. "Sure, I'm in" I say. "But it's 50 miles", I'm told. "Yeah, so. That's fine." They had no idea...
As the weeks progress towards the goal, I'm continually talked to by the ring leader about how many centuries and double-centuries he's ridden. And I'm a bit nervous. It's only 50 miles, but he's talking 18-mph averages and I haven't raced since June. I'm way prone to leg cramps, so I'm thinking, "how can I keep up without cramping?" I settled on drinking a ton of water to stave off the cramps.
I get up a bit late on the morning of the ride. I'm tired from working for a living! 7 months of not working has totally ruined me for getting up and being someplace every day, and being PRODUCTIVE. I proceed to hurry to shower, eat, have a crapload of coffee and find the start of the ride. I estimate I'm leaving the house 20 min late. ACCCCCKKKKKKKK.
I arrive 15 min late. UGH!! I can get ready FAST, so I jam on my knee warmers, grab food, pump my tires, helmet and shoes on, set everything and am on my way to the start like 6 min later.... I saw one guy when I got there, so I head to reg, get my number and find the group. I only find 3 of the 7 others.
We head out on the ride, which is mostly uneventful. But I get the sense that 2 of the 4 of us aren't *that* used to riding in a group. We finally re-group at the last rest stop, and head out for the final few miles.
Then as we're crossing Monterey Highway, one guy gets a flat. So I go back. It takes him a LONG time to change that effing flat. I start giggling and say, "How many engineers does it take to change a flat?" because it was funny, but it was apparent that he was 'done for the day'. DONE. He gets it fixed, and starts to mount the bike, leaving the tube lying on the side of the road!!! LITTERBUG!!! I pick it up and hand it to him, and say, "You gotta take this along to toss it." I'm sure he hates me.
Off we go. I don't want the one guy to be last all day, so I let him go in front and give him a bit of room, based on his previous bad bike-handling skills. Apparently, one man had left his seat bag open, and stuff was starting to fall out. I noticed a tire lever on the side of the road, and when I looked up, the one guy was DEAD STOPPED, directly in front of me. UGH! I slammed on the brakes, managed to avoid slamming into his rear wheel with my front, but the back end of my bike came up and I endo'd. Fortunately for me, he had a saddle bag attached to his pannier rack over the rear wheel, which had his jacket in it, because I FACE PLANTED on that bag, and then continued my slow-speed endo, ending up on the ground, bike still firmly attached to my feet. I'm laying on the ground, still attached to my bike, I can't get up, and I'm confused why someone would dead stop for a tire lever - (it's an inanimate object! It's not as if it's a puppy and it's going to dart into traffic!!!!!). Luckily I didn't get hurt. I scared the crap out of one man who saw the entire thing. If he'd not had that bag on the pannier? I probably would have broken my nose, because I landed left side of my nose and cheek on that bag. My left sunglasses lens had an imprint of my cheek on it (thank God for shatter-proof sports glasses). I had not a scratch on me. My bar tape got a small tear in it, but that was it. I guess if anyone should have fallen, it should have been the one who KNOWS how to crash and not get hurt (me), but damn. Needless to say, after that, I refused to get within 20 FEET of the guy who braked, and I'd been about 3 or so feet behind him at the time of the wreck. Cripes. We were only about 4 miles from the finish, but still.
My neck is a bit sore, but nothing else. I have a few bruises. I can't post the picture of the one, because it's way too close to my kitty, but it's a pretty good mark. A couple on my knees, but literally nothing else. Okay, I admit it. My nose is still a bit sore. And frankly: it should be. Holy crap.
It could have been worse. Much worse. But I don't know what I'll do next year... full face helmet?