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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Picnic in The Park - NOT!!!!

Nestled between downtown Houston and the Galleria area is Houston's version of the Golden Gate Park. Its a favourite amongst athletes of all disciplines. For the cyclists their is a 1.25 Mile loop called the "Picnic Loop" which is really great for speed work and is often used to event Criterion's. The loop is closed for vehicle traffic and most pedestrian's and joggers are reluctant to jog the route because of bike traffic and also the numerous other alternative options they have in the Park.
Dave (One of the Mules) and I often try to get at least one midweek ride in at the loop to keep up our training regime and last Thursday was no exception especially with the "Hotter than Hell" ride only two weeks away.
The only trouble was it was raining!
Not to concerned about the rain we set off only for the rain to intensify, the road started to flood and lightning started to strike all around us.
After the second time around the loop we decided to seek shelter in some partially covered restrooms as the lightning was getting too scary. (Partially meaning a 3 ft overhang from the rain and lightning.
As I made the detour I remember seeing the Restroom about 100 yards away and then the next minute I went hurting through the air landing on my left side in a pool of water.
It was certainly the worst tumble I had ever taken, and it reminded me of my earlier rugby playing days after being trampled on the bottom of a scrum. I thought I had broken my shoulder, but the next lightning strike that erupted about 100 yards away made me quickly realize that any pain I was feeling would be mild compared to being hit by a bolt from above.
My bikes front wheel had lodged itself between two concrete pavers and had sunk down 6 inches. The force of the impact and crash not only introduced me to "flying lessons" but also wrecked my front wheel ........Boo Hoo (Mavic Ksyrium SL) and cracked the frame.

We scampered into the rather smelly rest room and spent the next half an hour looking at my now square shaped wheel and the tarmac that I was now wearing on my legs and arms in the form of Road Rash. We also had time to reflect on how quickly situations can change when riding and what was to be a quick 20 mile training ride cost me Physically (Road Rash, ligament damage & heavy bruising) and Financially (New Frame & New Wheel).

I don't think I will go back to Memorial Park for awhile as it certainly was NO PICNIC.


  1. I've stood in the restroom waiting out the lightning on a bike tour in South Dakota. But I didn't have to damage my bike to get there!

  2. ouch, ouch, ouch Paddy - I suppose this means the Bianchi for the HHH?