Monday, February 18, 2008

Touching the Floor
The cycling season started off with a bang this weekend. Well, actually, if you want to simulate the sound of a bike crash, take a drawer full of silverware and drop it on your patio. Then follow that with your favorite exclamation of pain. Professional riders in the Tour de France refer to crashing as "touching the floor". In pretty much every situation, you do not want to touch the floor.

I touched the floor this Saturday. And not some casual slip where you lose control and end up in the bushes crash, a genuine smack-into-the-asphalt-end-up-in-the-emergency-room crash. If I were a car, I'd have probably burst into flames. Thankfully, I did not spontaneously combust on impact.

We were near the end of our 55 mile ride. I was traveling along a flat road. I was in the bike lane but I wanted to turn left at the upcoming intersection. I had my right hand on the handlebars and I was looking over my left shoulder at the traffic coming from behind. At that moment, my front wheel hit a bump in the pavement, which caused me to pitch forward. Since I only had one hand on the handle bars, when I pitched forward the right hand pushed my wheel sharply to the left. Since bikes do not roll very well when one wheel is perpendicular to the direction of travel, my momentum flipped me right over the handlebars and onto my shoulder, arm, face, hip, and knee. I actually don't remember this part of the accident.

The first thing I remember is lying on the ground and having several people talking at me. I could think of three things - "I have to get home because we have dozens of people coming over for a party.", "How's my bike, I just need to get up and walk around to feel better.", "Why is somebody pushing his thumb into my temple?"

The next thing I know a couple paramedics are talking to me. "Where'd they come from?" They asked my name; I remembered it. They asked what day it was; I knew that too. They asked me where I was; I said "I was lying in the street somewhere and can I please get up I have a party to host. " They said, "no, you're going to the emergency room." (party-poopers)

My wife, Sherri, had decided to take an alternate way home from the store after picking up 3 bags of ice for the party. Quite coincidentally, she came upon the scene of my accident shortly after it happened. She was a little dismayed by the scene. From her description, it sounded like a scene from a Dracula Gone Wild film. Apparently, there was quite a bit of blood on me and on the pavement. I can only suspect it was my blood since I doubt anyone came along and threw blood on me like some PETA protester would do. Since I wasn't wearing a fur bike jersey, it's safe to conclude it was mine. Apparently when I crashed, absorbing the blow with the right side of my face, my sunglasses hit first, cracked, and put deep gash right above my right temple. It occurred to me later, "That's why someone was putting his thumb in my temple earlier; he was trying to stop the bleeding."

The fine folks in the emergency room attended to my cuts and scrapes. They firmly washed the road rash and took a wire bristled brush, that's used for removing loose paint from your walls, and scrubbed any bits of asphalt from my wounds. I didn't actually see the brush they used, but from my tactile experience, it could only have been a steel brush or a small bed of nails. The fine doctor cleaned the gash in my head, sutured me up and had me cool my heels for a bit.

While I was in the ER with Sherri by my side, people were showing up at our house for the potluck we were hosting. Sherri called our son, Rob, and asked him to be the party host.
Every chance I got, I told the ER folks that I had to get to a party. They made some sympathetic comment, and as soon as they got out of earshot, they said, "he needs to stay another 45 minutes. " By the time we got home, the party was over and the guests were gone. Rob had set aside a couple plates of food in case we were hungry. Well I certainly was and I appreciated it.

The next day I took my broken bike to the shop to repair the broken handle bars and to check it for any structural cracks. Of course I had to get new helmet too, since my old one had done its job and was now ready to be retired. Let's see broken handlebars, new brake lever hoods, new tape, new jersey, new bibs... $$$! I also went to the scene of the accident. The bump is nothing more than a 4 or 5 inch bump in the bike lane caused by a nearby tree root. Any other time, I'd just roll over it. But when your not focused on the road, it's enough of a deviation to put you on the floor.

If you want to see the pictures, go to

About those Raffle Tickets
After my last update, several people asked about getting raffle tickets. Here's what you need to do. You send me a check made out to me. I will send you raffle tickets and a receipt from Team in Training thanking you for your donation and verifying that your contribution was to a charitable cause. If you'd like to make a donation, contact me at steve asche if you'd like to see what's being given away, go to Death Ride Fundraising Raffle.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Third time's a charm

It's the middle of winter, all the trees are bare. Well except for the pine trees, that is. So while everyone else is participating in winter activities like snow skiing, staying out of the cold, working on their needlepoint, and going to hockey games, I'm doing - what else - riding my bike. Once again I'm back training with the fine folks at Team in Training for another go at the Death Ride. (For those of you new to my updates, this is my third year of doing the Death Ride with Team in Training. I've done the Death Ride, a 129 mile bike ride that climbs over 5 mountain passes in one day, to raise money to fight blood cancers.) Before I get to this year's quest, let me catch you up since the last update.

$4,116 dollars raised, 4,300 miles ridden
Last year I made a promise to ride 100 miles for every $100 donated. You contributed $4,116 and by December 31st, I had ridden 4,300 miles. Along the way I climbed over 300,000 feet or over 60 miles straight up. I had some really great rides after the Death Ride. The most notable was riding with my son, Robert, as he completed his first century ride. We did the Foxy's Fall Century in Davis. I was the proud father when after he completely bonked at mile 60, he rallied after having something to eat and he finished the ride.
Here he is at the last rest stop at mile 90.

I also had some great rides with my TnT friends. Check out this view of the vineyards in Sonoma County. Pretty incredible scenery in those parts. Of course that happened to be the same ride where I was riding down hill right after taking this picture and I had a bee fly into my helmet. Before I could stop and remove my helmet, the bee stung me in the head. Fortunately I'm not allergic but the side of my face hurt for over a week. I ended up having to take antibiotics before the swelling dissipated. Despite the bee interlude, it was a pretty good season. With the dwindling bee population I would have thought my chances of getting stung would have decreased. I had two stings last year - one down the shirt and one in the helmet.

So now I'm back at it. I'm going to start clogging you mailboxes with my chatter about rides, being overweight, my teammates, idiot drivers, and my quest to fight cancer. This year is a little different than past years. Instead of raising money as a participant or mentor, I'm actually a captain on the team. (I have no idea why they call us captains.) My responsibility is to help the team come together and help them attain their fundraising goals. So instead of focusing on my personal goal, I'm focused on helping my team. One of the way I'm helping my team is by doing fundraising to feed the team. As it turns out, the TnT folks provide some money to offset the cost of food for the riders as they do their training rides. That's money that can be better applied to funding cancer research and victim support. So instead of relying on the TnT folks to pay for the participants' support, the team coaches and captains are going to raise money by selling raffle tickets. All of the proceeds go to support the team. Any excess money goes to the leukemia and lymphoma society.

You Can Win Big with TnT

So here's the offer: several local businesses and restaurants have donated awards for our raffle. It's really cool stuff too. We have dinners at Bridges, Forbes Mill, Piatti, a mobile computer from Socket Mobile, several bicycling related gifts and more to come. Here's how you can help. If you would like to donate a good or service to the raffle that would be fantastic, if you'd like to buy some tickets - their $1 each or 25 for $20. To see what's being raffled go to if you want to buy tickets, then email me steve asche Tell me how many tickets you want, send me a check and I will send you as many tickets as you buy. This will really help the team. It's also a chance to win some pretty cool stuff.

So that's it for this week. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, let me know.