On Saturday I’m supposed to be racing at the Cleveland Steelman at Ellerton Park near Catterick. I say “supposed”, because last Sunday I fell off my bike. It was one of those really stupid and embarrassing crashes that occasionally befall cyclists. I’d been out training hard for 3 hours putting in some big TT efforts, attacking hills and fighting a strong headwind. All of this was in preparation for Saturday’s race and my intention was to get home, jump off my bike and go for a run. No such luck. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but as I was cruising along the cycle track between Lancaster and Caton I hit a small rut. I think the jolt was enough for me to lose my grip on the bars and after a ridiculous and doomed attempt to regain control I lost it on the damp surface and was thrown sideways into the soft earth and vegetation. I lay for a few moments gathering my thoughts and checking myself over, got up, straightened my handlebars, got back on my bike and rolled home. As I examined my scraped knee and road rash on my thigh, my wife accused me of trying to recreate iconic moments from the Tour de France. It’s true, the results of the crash made me look proper hard, but the cleaning out of the scrapes and cuts left me yelping and howling like a beaten dog.
Luckily, the wounds seemed superficial, dried up within a couple of days and no really significant bruising emerged. This leaves me hopeful that starting on Saturday is a realistic prospect. I’m pleased about this because I am looking forward to my second Steelman. The flat, fast course lends itself to fast times, and last year my time of 5:35:24 was a personal best at the distance and made me feel that the elusive 5:30 might be achievable in good conditions. I feel less confident about that after Sunday’s crash, but at least the forecast looks dry (it might be quite windy, which might throw a further spanner in the works). The bit I’m most worried about is taking my wetsuit off after the swim: I suppose I better throw in an extra pack of Bodyglide into my transition bag.