King of the Spills

The Tour de France began a few days ago in Corsica. Normally we would spend a couple of weeks following the Tour. But being in the USA makes that quite difficult of course, so we’re having to catch up with news from the Tour when we can get online. For us today is ‘stage 7’ from Pittsburgh to Ohiophyle, not that our 80 mile ride compares with what the Tour riders go through. It is also our first stage with our own mini peloton now that Michael (McLoughlin) has joined us.

Having three cyclists makes it possible to set a faster pace and to share the load of riding at the front more – so each of us takes a turn up front, while the others tuck-in behind, benefiting from the slipstream. We made good progress, especially considering most of today’s ride was uphill on an unsealed compacted limestone path. Our average pace was 16 mph, one of our best paces of the journey so far! The benefit of the path, built on an old railway line, is that it’s very level with only a gradual incline. A gradual ascent meant no ‘King of the Mountains’ for us – for those who don’t know the King of the Mountains is the title given to the Tour de France rider who wins the most points for mountain stage climbs.

I did, however, get the embarrassing ‘King of the Spills’ title for falling off my bike today – not once, but twice! Even more embarrassingly I was virtually static both times that I went over. Firstly I was coming to a halt at Cedar Creek Park and rode over what looked like a little bit of mud. It turned out to be a little bit of very slippy mud, before I could in clip my shoe from the pedal my wheel was sliding and I was on my side.

The second incident happened just as we’d arrived at the end of today’s section. We’d pulled in at Ohiopyle Station and Mike called me back to stand in front of the station sign to have a group photo. As I turned to wheel back I again didn’t get my foot released in time and plop – I was on my side again. The second incident was more embarrassing, given the number of tourist around and as I actually grazed my knee – nothing serious, but not great for my nicely developing cyclists’ tan. A little later I realised I had a second injury. I could feel that my right toe was sore, upon investigation I found a small cut on the underside knuckle. So there we have it, not only have I gained the ‘King of the Spills’ crown I’ve also discovered a new injury – cyclist’s toe (beat that one Bradley!)

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