So this morning I awoke at the beautifully dark hour of 0630 to shower and pack for my first ride with the Velobrew guys. After dropping off some stuff at my mom's, I headed further into Orange Park and waited as the 0815 start time came and went. Thankfully, we did get wheels up right before 0830, and managed to get a couple miles in before I made a complete fool out of myself.
The guy in front of me signaled a right turn as we were descending a small hill, so I took my right hand off to signal. Well, I misjudged the distance between me, the guy in front of me, and the car we were pulling up to, so I panicked and grabbed a fistful of rear brake. Excellent. The rear tire locked up and the back end started to come around. In slow motion (doesn't it always happen in slo-mo?) I pointed my front wheel to the right of the guy in front of me, into the gutter. Still trying to brake with my front brake, the tire hit the slime in the gutter under pressure and locked up. So now I'm hauling ass into a curb, basically hydroplaning at 13 mph. I hit the curb and flew, still attached to the bike, into the muddy section between the curb and the sidewalk.
Before anyone could ask, I was on my feet, saying "I'm good" over and over. Damage assessment:
a) handlebars - tweaked ~40 degrees off center
b) front wheel - wobbling like a Jello square
c) rear derailleur - bent into my rear wheel
After some MacGuyver-ing, we managed to get back on the road and put in some good miles. Around 23 more, in fact. I managed to stay with the group on uphill sprints (and staying with a Cat 3 and Cat 1-2 isn't too easy... they must have been toying with me) and actually came from behind to pass two of the guys on a steep uphill, hitting around 28 mph in the process. Needless to say, I'm proud of myself.
One thing I didn't expect though: how much of an advantage drafting is. I thought it was all good, being second in the paceline and maintaining 22 mph behind the leader, when suddenly he waves his elbows (kinda like the Funky Chicken, which made me laugh). That's the signal that he wants to rotate to the back of the paceline and someone else should take a pull. I was already there, so I said, "What the hell. I got this." As soon as he pulled off, the wind hit me like a hammer. HOLY CRAAAAAAP. I managed to up the pace to 24 mph, but didn't last too long. That put me in my place, for sure.
So I called Champion on the drive home to ask if they had some free time to straighten everything out, and was asked "Is this the guy with the orange F95?" ...Okay. "Yeah, that's me" "DUDE! Of course we have time for you! Bring it in ASAP, we'll have you ready for that race!" I was taken aback. Well. I assured them I would bring it in later. I'm lovin' this VIP treatment.
Well anyways, my knee is a little tweaked, my legs hurt from the sprints, and I got a little scraped up on my side. My back hurts like hell, and I have a tiny limp, but I'll be ready. I'm feeling a little more confident now.
I'm gonna whup some ass at Deland. Watch me.