Today was one of those days when you get up, get yourself to the ride start, get out there and realize that it’s a terrible day to ride. It was a day in which no century was completed and most of us rode less than 25 miles.
Back to this morning. MG and I optimistically drove up to ride Crista Borras’ “How Green Was My Valley” century from Rockville, Md. We started about eight miles ahead of the group rather than negotiate the interminable intersections of Rockville that precede the open countryside.
Toe warmers churning away in our shoes, we started out looking for the group, wondering whether we had made a good decision to ride at all. The wind was whipping from the northwest and temperatures hovered in the mid-30s. The roads were wet and a little icy from overnight rain and we knew the conditions were sketchy. MG was also not fully recovered from a bad cold this week. Altogether, not too many good signs.
As we turned into a 25 m.p.h. headwind, my danger buzzer went off. What if a car slid into us on a corner, or we spilled on a bridge with traffic behind us? What if we had a mechanical in these conditions?
I pulled over and asked MG if it was OK to bail out. “Yaaaay!” she shouted, thrusting both hands up into the air. I had my answer. We retraced our route, only to come upon the main Crista group stopped about a mile back. We hoped they had a flat, but it was worse. One of the single bikes had gone down on ice and the following two riders crashed as well. Jeff M. got the worst of it — an endo that bruised his whole left side: face, shoulder and knee. Jeff R. and Michael R. fell on their shoulders and hips as well.
They also decided to turn back. We went to a nearby 7-11 to let the roads warm up a bit first. Jeff realized he had a really nasty-looking bump on his right hand and stayed there while we went to get our car and take him to the hospital. It turned out to be a burst blood vessel or bursa sac and no fracture. Lucky guy! Still, he looked like h-e-double toothpicks.
The main group decided to ride over to Takoma Park and eat lunch, and found better roads in the city. Still, nobody regretted not riding a century today. Sometimes it’s better to wish you had gotten a long ride, rather than force it and and wish you hadn’t.