Sunday, April 19, 2009

The cursed corner....

I started a post on a local forum about the best clam chowdah on the coast and asked for recommendations. We had a few submissions and I am sure we will have more as the season progresses. The only rule was it had to be on the coast, preferably within riding distance. One of the forum members chose a route and a small group of us headed out for a ride Saturday for the first chowdah crawl of the season. There were 5 bikes and 6 participants in total, Trobaritz rode with me so I called sweep, it is a nice change of pace and I feel more comfortable when riding two up. I can concentrate on my riding with the extra weight and responsibility and not count bikes in my mirrors or concern myself with several bikes on my tail through the turns.

One turn in particular is a 30 mph left hander about 6 miles from our starting point. It looks innocent enough and not that difficult to execute but something about it upsets riders and drivers alike. I have had prior experience with another rider not making this turn a couple of years ago. I got into the turn a little hot and had to scrub off some speed before diving into the turn, the only other rider behind was way back and not crowding me at all but as I exited I saw the cloud of dust in my mirror as he failed to negotiate the turn. He kids me about throwing marbles onto the road as he lost traction with his front tire and low sided. I don't know exactly what happened but I blame the curse of this corner. His bike hit a fence post and he seemed to be alright as he insisted on pulling his bike out of the ditch and riding home. I followed to make sure he made it home okay and learned of his fractured vertebra days later.

Saturday, the curse upset another rider, third in line of the four bikes in front of me. This time we weren't riding that fast as the leader is cautious in the corners and the first two bikes made it through just fine. However, rider #3 ran a little wide, and we thought he was going to save it, but went off the shoulder and managed to keep it upright before gently setting it down in a flower bed. Fortunately he was alright and didn't even scratch his bike, sans the left mirror. But again, before we could get off our bikes he hefted his bike upright and tried to push it onto solid ground. He wasn't seriously hurt and rode with us to the coast for chowdah but headed home shortly after. The adrenaline had worn off and his body was starting to stiffen up and get sore.

I believe he hurt himself more from lifting his bike than the crash itself. Please just hit the kill switch and let the bike lay there, it isn't going anywhere and have your buddies pick it up for you. Adrenaline is your body's response to an injury or traumatic experience and a fight or flight mechanism, not a heft your 500+ pound bike off its side and strain your milk mechanism.

Not the same corner, but just over two years ago I experienced the same pit in your stomach, what an idiot, I can't believe I just did that, stupid, stupid, stupid, feeling after a crash. But I knew to relax, assess the situation, calm down and then get help to pull your bike out of the ditch.

I called a friend with a Jeep and a winch to help me out. Since then, I've sold that bike, bought a cruiser and learned to slow down....alot.

The rest of the day did turn out alright considering the morning's mishap. The chowdah run continued to Luna Sea in Yachats...

and although the chowdah only received a 3 star rating, the ride and fellow riders were great, one of them I learned is a neighbor of mine. There are many other chowdah runs to be planned this summer, but until then, shiny side up.


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