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Anatomy of a Crash (Part One - The Crash)

I crashed on Tuesday. I hurt myself quite badly. My rear derrailleur is knackered, the hanger is bent out of shape, my bar tape is ripped and my right brake lever is scuffed. My elbow, upper-hip/thigh and ankle are severely scraped and, now, heavily bruised.

So, what the hell happenned?

One of the great things about all the gadgetry I have is the ability to review and analyse the data afterwards and I must admit it has been fascinating. As fortune would have it, I descended this point at very high speed on Sunday, in glorious sunshine. So I have data to compare with my crash data.

On Sunday I approached this bend at 47km/h and went round, freewheeling (and leaning hard) and as I went round my speed dropped to 39km/h without me applying the brakes. I can tell you now that I was right on it because the guy trying to keep up with me behind was (as I later discovered) a german domestic pro who, in his words, thought I had 'good speed!!' (with a thumbs up gesture).

On Tuesday, the day of the crash, I approached to bend at 35km/h and went round, freewheeling (and leaning moderately). As I was over the apex and looking down the road I heard a scraping noise followed by my rear wheel disappearing under me. I went down hard. As my head smacked against the tarmac and bounced up again I was very, very grateful of my helmet. I will never ride without one again. I have no doubt that it saved me from a severe injury.

I clearly had too much speed going into the corner FOR THE CONDITIONS. It had rained quite hard previously and whilst the roads were largely dry this particular corner was in the shade and the water from higher up 'streamed' across the road on its way down the mountain. I have learned a very valuable lesson here! If its damp, descend SLOWLY.

One slightly interesting piece of data was the fact that during the 1 minute after going down and standing by the side of the road checking my bike and feeling shocked and sore my heart rate rose from 128 bpm to 138bpm very rapidly and then recovered almost as soon as I got back on the bike. I guess that was caused by the shock adrenalin. 

After freewheeling for a while I started to pedal and eventually started to go hard since it started to rain quite heavily. At this point I was putting out 320w for nearly 5 minutes and felt no pain. That must be adrenalin. At the time I thought I'd bust my SRM powermeter. I've checked it out since and it seems to be fine.

I've been off the bike for 3 days now and am starting to feel pretty good. I had a lucky escape. In the second part I'm going to explain the 'injuries' I sustained and the recovery 'process'. This is largely because I found so little info on this via Google. The recovery process has been very interesting indeed.

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