Friday, August 8, 2008

Racing and Crashing

Hate to say it..but if you race a lot..sooner or later you're gonna crash. Crashing is an inescapable part of racing. And, a lot of times it's a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. i.e. being taken out by someone. I'm not going to tell you how to prepare for a crash either..other than to say statistically you're probably better off trying to keep your hands on the handlebars and roll..rather than to use your hand(s) to break your fall.

But, the purpose of this post is NOT to tell you what to do BEFORE a crash but what to do AFTER you crash. Naturally, the first thing to do AFTER is to assess your own health/condition. Did you hit your head? Are you cut? Did you dislocate or break anything? If so, seek medical attention right away. The second thing you want to do is to assess your equipment. Is your helmet dinged, cracked or damaged? How about your bike? Do you have a carbon-fiber bike w/ carbon handlebars? If so, do NOT continue the race. Why? Because you never know if you're carbon fiber handlebars or bike frame is not damaged..and you may not only be jeopardizing your own safety but that of the peloton...if you continue. When carbon-fiber bikes and/or handlebars are damaged it's not readily noticeable and they don't bend like Aluminum or Steel when they're failing or about to fail..they shatter. Also, bike helmets are NOT football helmets. Bike helmets are only good for ONE impact...not mulitple impacts like football helmets. So, if you hit your head on the ground at all- regardless of how hard..that's it..GAME OVER! At least for that race. If you're able to read this post, and you hit your head during a bike crash, consider that your helmet did the job it was intended to do..keep your brains from being scrambled. Now go out and buy a new one..that is lighter, cooler, etc.

When you get home from the race I recommend that you take your bike back to the shop that you bought it from and have them look over it REAL good before you ride it again . They're the experts. If you have either a carbon frame or handlebars, they'll probabaly insist that you/they send it back to the manufacturer. Most good bike and bike accessory manufacturers have good Crash Replacement Policies. You may want to check into it before you make your purchase. Here is a link to Trek's Carbon Bike Frame Replacement Policy:

Yeah, I know it aint cheap to replace your new carbon frame or handlebar..but it's a lot less than ignoring any potential/un-noticed damage and causing an accident that may injure a fellow rider, friend or family member.

Better safe than sorry!

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