Friday, February 19, 2010

Failure to Yield

Last night I crashed, something that does not happen very often. It was not a big crash, but it was a crash nonetheless. The thing was, I had help. Now I am perfectly capable of arranging a nice crash all by myself. But this one had support in the making.

I was on the local singletrack, coming into a fast and straight section that is maybe 15-20MPH. I could see a rider heading my way, pedaling in the middle of the trail. The trail here is wide enough to squeeze two bikes by, passing like ships in the night, if you each give a little. In fact, I had pulled completely off the trail earlier in a narrower section of this route to let two descending riders go by.

But as I approached this guy, he just stayed in the I was on the brakes, on the brakes, thinking any minute that he will be moving over a few inches, but oh no. Not this guy. So, at the last minute I dove left and headed into the big deal, plenty of room off the trail, except for the fact that, hidden in the new grass, was a tiny, hardened clay berm that my front tire skidded along like a curbstone, not able to climb over. If I would have seen it, I could have just blipped the front wheel over the edge and passed, but now it was too late.

I skidded along for 3 or 4 feet, then crossed the bars over and tumbled into the grass. A last minute tuck and roll had kept me from anything but a sore wrist and back (so far, anyway). Before I even could sit up, James comes in and crashes in the same way in the same spot, landing nearly on top of me and the Tall Boy. Total train wreck. Oh the humanity!

James and I. I am on the left in green.

Guess where the now stopped 'uphill' rider was? Yep, still in the middle of the trail.


So he asks us, "Are you guys OK?". Yeah, I thought, but I would have been better if you had just moved over 6" so I could pass.

On he went, perhaps looking for the next victim. I don't know what to think. Clueless, stubborn? Sticking to his 'I am the uphill rider and I have the right of way' IMBA tattoo? I dunno. If so, the idea of the uphill rider's right of way was for the purpose of steep grades of trail where getting started again was an issue if you stopped. That did not apply here.

Oh well. I could have slowed way down to a few MPH and crept by. I should have done that, not knowing how this guy was going to react. Lots of things could have happened. One of them was a bit of give and take on both our parts to share a narrow section of trail for a second or two and that did NOT happen.

At least the grass was soft.


emily said...

Now that's funny:)

slocaus said...

I'm placing my money on new rider, clueless, working hard to get up the hill, did not see you till the dust and debris settled. He probably read your blog and got inspired to go try mountain biking. ;) "No good deed goes unpunished." hehehe