rest day or crash course?

today is a rest day in the south of france near nice. it is raining as it has been all week and everyone is happy to do laundry, organize their gear and clean some bikes. the past couple days have been amazing and hard. the rapha team has ridden well and we are usually the last to leave in the morning and near the first to arrive in the evenings. the cols have been grueling with massive views down valleys and over baron landscapes on the mountain tops.

we started near lake geneva and have worked our ways through the tall alps south toward the coast where we will turn around and head north again to end just south of geneva. day two was sunny in the am as we rode over glandon and the croix de fer before the rain really picked up and we made it to the base of the galibier where we met a road closure due to snow at the top. all of us were wet and tired so we all huddled into a cafe and awaited a charter bus to take us to the hotel.

the next day was supposed to start with the iozard but again it was too high and closed due to snow. this whole global warming thing is really putting a damper on the alpine cycling adventure. the day was shortened and we cracked off 170km with some faster times than the day before.

day 3 started like most others. wake up, brush your teeth, apply chamoix cream, kit up, eat breakfast and roll out of town past the citadel towards the foggy mountain valley. we had a photographer taking photos out the back of a car for the event and we were having a blast pacing him along the roads when another car came round a corner too fast. it was 2 cars and a bike all side by side on the narrow french road. to avoid the back of the car i headed off the road into the rocky ditch where i kept it upright for about 10 feet through the rocks at 45 kilometers per hour. in a split second, the sound of carbon snapping and tires puncturing resulted in my crashing and smashing my hand on a rock.

cars stopped and i evaluated myself before realizing my frame had buckled the downtube and snapped the fork clean off. my hand swelled up and i had it checked by a doctor at the next stop to find i had not broken it but i had to abandon for the day. the rest of the rapha boys rode on and i spent the day in the broom wagon.

we have been posting the fastest team times and graeme is leading the pace up all the climbs.

i tried to ride the next day but the rainy decent on a borrowed bike proved too painful for my blue-thumbed hand. i stopped and rode in the mechanics van.

i will see how the rest of the trip feels and try to ride easy as the swelling goes down.

i am sad to see my bike broken in two but it gives me a chance to do it better next time. already thinking about a new design.


15 Responses to “rest day or crash course?”

  1. 30thcentury Says:

    Bummer. At least they did not have to make the tubular rope to rescue you. Wait, that would have been a better story! Best wishes to the hand buddy, take care over there!

  2. matt hall Says:


  3. PVB Says:

    Oh man, sorry to hear, but glad to hear that’s the extent of it. Good one holding it together until the fork went! Hope you can rejoin ASAP, but in any case, make the best of the rest of it.

  4. Dave P Says:

    Huge Bummer! Super sorry to hear about that. Heal up well and enjoy the French Alps.

  5. molly cameron Says:

    damn you carbon!!

    go knock some skinny roadie off his bike and get back in it Ira!

  6. Tony P Says:

    Damn, Ira! That sucks. Hope the hand heals up and that you are able to ride the rest of your route. Maybe you should bust out the cross bike?
    Missed you at the Gentlemen’s Race. It was so damn hard, but what you’re doing now makes me feel like a wimp. Wishing we were all with Rachel at SSWC today–maybe next year…will it be Italy or New Zealand? Get well, see you soon.

  7. flandriavelosport Says:

    Glad you did not get seriously hurt. We have had too many mishaps with Carbon at the shop. Please keep making steel bikes.
    Midwest friend,

  8. David Says:

    Sorry to hear about the crash…glad you are alright. I was surprised to read that your frame buckled the downtube…which caused the fork to break off. It seems like some of the others folks that posted above understood that the carbon failed, but I gather from your post that it was the steel–wow. I am interested in learning of your new design.

  9. joel Says:

    sounds to me like the fork didnt break soon enough! a proper fork wouldve taken the hit, snapped or folded, and saved the frame from buckling. 🙂 fork = crumple zone.

    bottom line is – better the bike than you. even if youre stuck in the van now, you still got in more awesomeness than the rest of us sitting at home! rest well, heal up, and well see out you in cross-land when you get back! for now, think of it as more time off the bike = more time to sample the local fare!

  10. Cliff Says:

    Wowza! Glad to hear your injury was minor. Hopefully your hand heals quickly so you can get some more riding in.

  11. graz Says:

    just like in “nam”, vietnam that is. 54 with the french. when it was hard.

    love the smell of a broken frame. smells like moms tears.

  12. slate Says:

    Damn that paparazzi. Suck to hear. Sorry Ira. Suppose they had to find a way to slow you down- just can’t believe they’d resort to this.

  13. Braking Frames « Stay out of trees! Says:

    […] 21, 2009 · Filed under Ride Reports Ira broke his Ira Ryan riding around in French ditches.  I broke my Ira Ryan, too, but in this case I just […]

  14. simon cassini Says:

    ouch. But you guys are awesome. Give my love to Steve Punter when you see him. Best wishes all round.

  15. chr15 Says:

    Can the tube be cut out and replaced???

    Glad to hear nothing’s broken and you are continuing. What’s the ‘spare’ bike like?

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