Phil Graves’ Blog: Looking For Trouble
Ironman pro Phil Graves gives his expert opinion on the best way to avoid crashes on the road.
We never want to be injured but, being human, it’s a case of when and not if something in our body goes wrong.
I broke my left collarbone in a bike crash in 2004. But it’s so common now, the question here is why are so many of us crashing in the first place?
We have one very good age-group athlete up here in York at the moment. Top 10 at world 70.3 champs in his age group, top 15 at 70.3 overall and manages to more or less dominate all the local events. He does everything right, listens to his coach, has a dietitian and keeps an eye on his competition. He is as close to a professional age-grouper as you could imagine and he still has a full-time job – a true inspiration.
However, when he was preparing for Ironman Wales out in Spain, he came off his bike and broke his collarbone. That was his season over. He is a competent athlete and he told me he was alone on a quiet road and that he couldn’t remember anything about the crash.
However, a couple of months later it finally dawned on me as to why he had crashed. What would you say was the most dangerous component on your bike likely to cause a crash? Ever thought looking at your computer and not looking at the road was the cause? With every coach, magazine and website pushing their usage, more and more people are getting power meters for their bikes and becoming enslaved
I was out riding last week and as I finished my turn and went to the back of the group my friend – who is just coming back from his broken collarbone – started his turn at the front. He swears by his Powertap, and as soon as he hit the front of our group there he was, head down, looking at his power every five seconds. It was no wonder he had crashed and broken his collarbone when he rides with his head down looking at the computer and not the road.
I think more and more crashes among triathletes are going to be caused in a similar way. When we are all training to heart-rate zones, power and speed, just how much of the time are we looking down at our bike computer or watch and not actually looking where we are going? We should do what a lot of the professional cyclists do and tape over your computer so you can’t see the screen. You can look at the data when you get home and hopefully you won’t end up hitting the Tarmac, it’s just not worth it.
This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine. Save time and money by having every issue delivered to your door or digital device by subscribing to the print edition or buying digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.
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