Saturday, December 5, 2009

Crashed On Ice Today.

With a thick fog overnight combined with temps close to 30F, I should have left the Ciocc idle today. Some of the local roads here on Capitol Hill were visibly dusted with a little bit of "icing", and I saw a garbage truck slide a bit coming down the hill this morning - that should have been a sign.

So when I headed out at about 1 PM for a quick spin down to Seward Park and back, I figured that since the skies were now blue it was safe.

Coming down Madison St (a nice 15% grade) there was some moisture on the roads, and evidence the city had been out de-icing a bit on the major roads. Made it down Madison without slipping, took a few extremely slow turns on Lake Wa Blvd (like that one S curve), so by the time I made it down to Seward Park I had gained enough confidence to go at full speed since I hadn't seen any ice or frost (on the road at least) for 11 or 12 kilometers..

The Crash

I had just wound down a little sprint coming into Seward Park, as I usually try to go for the crosswalk near the sign for the park, just before you follow the road left to get to the park entrance. According to the Garmin I was doing about 20 mph when all of a sudden there was a patch of frost on the road in front of me, and though at first it seemed like I was riding through it successfully, before I knew it I was sliding on the ground and the world was turned sideways.

I probably made an interesting guttural sound as I hit the ground, and the crash was loud enough so that some bystanders asked if I was OK. Luckily I was, and the only visible damage on the bike was the bar-end had been scraped and pulled out a bit. Luckily the winter layers mostly protected me from road rash, though I did end up with a little strawberry on my left hip.

More Carnage

Only a minute or so after I hit the deck two cyclists approached and before I thought to warn them, one of them went down in the same patch I hit.. then 20 seconds later a guy in a UW kit slid out going the other direction seemingly just as he was asking if we were alright.

I tried to warn a bunch of other cyclists on the way back up Lake Wa Blvd, hopefully had better luck on the ice than we did. So did anyone else crash today?

14 comments:

Michael said...

I decided to run today instead of biking. I lost my footing a few times but no crashes. I guess that I made the right call today.

Michael

Ian Schmidt said...

I rode late-ish (2:30-5:30) and I didn't find any ice, but I tried to be careful and get all the descending out of the way while the sun was out, then nothing but climbing and flat after dark.

Glad to hear you are okay - it looks like tomorrow will be more of the same. Looks like rollers for me.

Steve said...

Sorry to hear about the crash. I stuck to an extremely slow ride around Green Lake with my kiddo on the trail-a-bike today. Even that was a little treacherous at times. I'm looking forward to return of good old rain and wet leaves.

Joe P said...

There are a couple of other bruised hips from the 200. Blog up soon.

Glad you are OK.

I was studly.

Captain Kangaroo said...

I haven't had an ice crash yet but its early in the season so I have lots of time.

I had a nasty crash on ice last Fall. I had snow tires on, too! It was my first time out on icy roads and I took the corner too sharply.

On the bright side the bruise I had was all of the colours of the rainbow. It was beautiful. Lasted all month.

Gregory said...

Hey Matt,

There were a bunch of us stupid enough to start a 200k yesterday. I went down avoiding my buddy who went down right in front of me. My hip is sore but I'm ok. I think 14 of us started, six finished.

G.

Robert H said...

I picked a pretty good weekend to get sick. Hopefully it will warm up a touch. I enjoy the cold, but it is pushing my limits.

Dylan said...

I didn't fall on the ice while riding, but I did slip off my front steps while carrying my bike into the house. Kind of ironic.

That, and I almost hit a raccoon on Lake Washington Blvd.

Michael said...

[chuckle] I went for my weekend long ride at o'dark thirty on Saturday, and didn't fall until nearly home. Fortunately, I was only doing 4mph at the time!

Glad we're both OK!

Skyler.WA said...

Two words: studded tires. I install mine in November and don't remove them until March. Haven't had a frost/ice fall since I started using them 2 winters ago.

R McDaniel said...

studded tires? Awesome, then you can slip when there is NO ice! RAD

A teammate crashed out at that same spot, that same morning and took a bunch of us down. I saw a whole group of 1st Rate guys go down at that exact spot, too.

I went down on MLK in heavy traffic the day before :/ OUCH.

Rough weekend.

mattm said...

Wow, there were more gravity attacks than I thought! Glad to hear we're all intact.. and trying to ride through these harsh months.

As for studded tires, I've got some and I'm saving them for when the roads are covered with ice - that'll be fun. Last year I got them too late and tried to ride in a foot of slush..

Here's to staying upright - see y'all on the road..

Dan O said...

Ouch. Glad you weren't hurt. Over the last few days, I've seen patches of ice - nothing widespread - just frozen puddles, etc.

The Seattle cold snap is fun for a bit - looking forward to a wet 45 degrees once again though.

Paul R said...

R McDaniel,

Everything I've seen, heard, and read about studded tires says that's just not true. Maybe it was for older studded tires, or the super studded ones that are designed for riding singletrack in snow/ice, but urban studs are designed to retract into the tire when riding on clear pavement. You do wear them out faster, and the traction isn't going to be what it is with grippy road tires, but it's about like riding on crappy commuter/touring tires.

Myself, I don't ride when there's a decent chance of ice after a fall last year in similar conditions, and similar to Matt's fall. Going along, and bam, no road rash but a bruise that took 3 months to heal on my hip. I still haven't gotten around to getting a bike that can take studs, let alone studded tires, so I'm stuck not riding when it's cold. It does make days like today, when you get back on the bike again after two weeks, feel great.