I was in the beginning stages of what was looking like it was going to be a great ride....I left the house at 7:00, got to the parking lot, unloaded and was on my bike beginning my ride by 7:30. It was cool, but not cold and traffic heading up Redwood Rd at this time on a Saturday morning was light.
As I passed the golf course and began the climb, I felt great! I hadn't been on a long ride in a few weeks and it felt good to be back on the road bike and riding alone on a beautiful morning. The climb up Redwood can either be a joy or a suffer-fest depending on my mood and current level of fitness. This morning, it went by really quickly and although I pushed the pace, I never once felt like I might blow up. The backside down to Pinehurst is a nice reward for the effort spent climbing and as I made the turn, I know it was going to be a great day! The climbs were pushing my heart rate to the redline, but the descents and flats left me feeling good and I seemed to be recovering quickly.
My goal had been to meet Jerry and his group at the Orinda BART station or if my pace was off, then to run onto them somewhere between there and the top of Pinehurst. I hammered the first climb on Pinehurst as hard as I could without exploding and as I got to the top, I was still feeling really good. I sat up and crusied throught the short flat section, finished off my first water bottle and got ready for my reward.....the narrow, fast downhill section on Pinehurst....
The first few turns were everything I expected. No cars, copius amounts of sunshine and me tucking my shoulder into every corner....the bike disappeared beneath me as I railed from corner to corner....I looked down and saw my speed was just over 25 mph. Fast but not a ridiculous downhill pace....What a great ride this was....and then all of a sudden it wasn't.....
In the blink of an eye, I had gone from leaned over and enjoying the grip provided by my Pro Race 3's to sliding across the road on my side to tumbling in the dirt of the far shoulder. As I stood to begin the inspection of both my body and my bike, another cyclist rode up to see if I was ok. As he helped me assess the damage I realized that in addition to quite a bit of road rash my right shoulder and collar bone were both feeling a little out of whack. I was almost afraid to look inside my jersey for fear of seeing a bone sticking out.....luckily that wasn't the case, but I could definitely tell it was broken.
Thankfully, once I got up and got myself together, I checked to find that I had cell service. This was surprising actually since I was out in the middle of the hills between Oakland and Orinda and nprmally don't have great coverage in this area. After calling Jerry to let him know I wouldn't be meeting up with him, I called my wife and asked her and my daughter to start out towards Redwood Rd to meet up and pick me up.
As I pedaled back up Pinehurst, down the other side, then up Redwood, I had time to think about how quickly things went from great to not so great and exactly what had gone wrong. I had worn my helmet, my bike was in top working order, I had definitely been going fast downhill, but felt completely comfortable and within my abilities.....the only thing I couldn't and didn't plan on was the gravel in the corner.
Could I have been seriously injured? Sure. If someone had been driving up the road as I slid across or had I been further down the hill and slammed into one of the large redwoods lining the road, or I could have not been wearing my helmet... things could have definitely ended badly.