Day 19 of 30 Days of Biking: Failure to Negotiate Curve

"Failure to negotiate a curve;" that's what they call it when a biker loses control and spills it on a curve. At least, that's how the accident report gets written up when a motorcycle rider, essentially, crashes into himself. I might not have been on a motorbike, but that's the scenario I rode into on my commute to work, this morning.

You might recall a photo I posted about 3 weeks ago, "Here comes the sick drop:"

Well, here's the hill about halfway down, looking back at the curve:

Notice the black stripe, going off road? That's where I lost control and almost ended up in pretty bad shape.

Here's what happened: Usually, I take it pretty easy down this hill. The first drop is extremely steep and ends abruptly as it dumps you into a nearly 90 degree curve to the left. I've done it about a dozen times, and it's scary as hell every single time I do it. Today, though, I let my confidence get the better of me.

Long before going into the curve, I could already tell I was going too fast. I pulled on the brakes, but it wasn't slowing me down enough to safely get through the curve. That's when I hit a patch of gravel and locked up the rear wheel. The situation was quickly going from bad to worse.

If mountain biking in the muck and mud has taught me anything, it's how to stay upright when the rear wheel decides to go rogue. I felt the rear sliding and loosened up, but the line I was riding was too tight. A better rider might have been able to drift through the curve, and I'm sure it would have made for a great YouTube video, followed by a group of fixie riders blowing through red lights and running down pedestrians while some indie/hipster anthem blares in the background. I'm not that rider, though. The best I could hope for was to keep from grating my face across the pavement.

As much as I wanted to avoid sliding off the road and crashing into big rocks and tree branches, I couldn't. I gripped the brakes for all my worth, just hoping I wouldn't go over my handlebars when I eventually hit something solid enough. And then... I stopped. No Superman impression, no pain, no breakage. I threw down a foot to keep myself from falling over sideways and counted my blessings. Everything went better than I expected.

So, how was your morning commute?


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