The Peddler: Falling off the Bike at Just the Wrong Time

Spending time with your boss outside of work can be tricky. The theoretical whistle blows, but you still have to watch what you say, act professionally and continue to make a good impression.

You definitely want to avoid running your bike into hers.

But that's exactly what I did on the Rapha Women's 100 training ride last week. Whether it was because Dallas was celebrating Bastille Day or the temperature was passing 100 degrees Fahrenheit, we ended up being the only two people who showed up for the ride.

"Do you still want to do the whole route?" she asked before we began.

Of course. Absolutely. Why not? I was fully hydrated and fueled, ready for the 30-mile ride.

A couple of miles in, we were riding down a slight hill. I was feeling relaxed, grateful for the breeze that was cooling me off. But then I moved behind her, staying to the side. Then, I saw my front wheel get closer to her back wheel.

I actually had time to think to myself, "Move away from that. You'll fall."

But—looking back now I realize—my mistake is that while I was thinking this, I continued to look at her back wheel. It didn't matter that I was looking at it in fear and thinking, "move away from that." I nicked it and fell.

She rode on a few meters, and I fell to the ground.

More: 6 Basic Skills for Group Rides

I wish I could say it was like getting caught in a clipless pedal, where you slowly tip over.

But, I was moving at a fast pace. My wheels slid out from under me, and I crashed to the ground. Most of the impact happened on the side of my left knee. Skidding along the asphalt, I would end up getting road rash on most of the left side of my body.

I later learned this was because of target fixation: I was focused on the bicycle in front of me, so rather than moving away from it, I aimed right for it. Seems like a simple mistake to avoid—in retrospect.

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