30 August 2011

Scene of the Crime

Over the past few days, if I've wished it once, I've wished a hundred times that I had gone back and taken a photo of the site where I went off the bike last Thursday morning in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe. 

Did I just get distracted and tired, fall asleep at the switch for a minute, or was it really a treacherous site?

Today, I thought I would try to pinpoint the spot using Google Maps and, surprise, surprise, there is actually a "street view" photo of the very site.

The obstacle that I hit felt like a "low curb" stretching out directly into the street for some unknown reason ... and it was. 

You can see it just past the pedestrian walkway, after the "Renault Agence LaLouette" storefront and before the Funeraires (grave tombs) shop on the right hand side.  There really is no warning, a sudden end to a lane (which is really a series of parking spaces -- marked only by the yellow line that was not visible at night), an odd sharp protrusion that is difficult to see even in daylight.  I really did go over it, blow out both tires, go sliding onto the lighter stone area past the crosswalk that marked the right edge of the street ... and beyond that, to come to rest at one of the set of marble gravestones.  How appropriate a resting place!

View Larger Map

Of course, fatigue and darkness had a role in this, but at least I can stop wondering if I imagined it.

3 comments:

Manfred von Holstein said...

Yes, very clear, though I had imagined it to be higher. It seems sufficiently low for a car to be able to roll over it, at least at low speed.

What did you do after the fall? Was there any help available?

TOM said...

Looks like a nasty trap, a conspiracy...on the opposite side of the grave tomb dealer is a day & night ambulance dealership!!

David L. said...

Thanks, Manfred and TOM. Yes, it is a grave tomb dealer -- perhaps trying to create some business by laying out the marble as close as possible to the sidewalk area on the right hand curve. Either he gets you, or if you live then the ambulance across the street does so.

But this being France, they do not accept business late at night.

Manfred: Sorry if this was not clear somewhere else. This is what happened: the rider immediately behind me stopped, as did a local man (20ish) walking his dog. As soon as they ascertained that I was okay, I called the next Control and (through a translator) was told to wait for some instructions. I did not call the number for the "Protection Civile" ambulance since I did not need immediate medical attention. The local was going to let me wait in his house to keep warm, but we found a race official a few hundred meters up the road, steering traffic at the sharp left turn/corner where Rte 15 and Rte 310 meet. He told me to wait in the "Au Bon Coin" bar/tabac that was open all night ... and already had a rider sleeping on a bench in the back, while locals were playing billiards. I could at least clean out the road rash wounds in their bathroom sink.

They were telling me that I could get a bus to Le Mans and then a train from there in the morning ... but within 30 minutes a van showed up to take me and my bicycle back to the Control point at Villaines. The soigneur onsite disinfected my road rash, I slept in the normal rider "dormitory" with a few others, and the Control town had ordered a bus for 8AM ... which arrived to pick us up before 9AM. The bus was probably 2/3 full of riders who had had mechanical or physical problems or just given up, and eventually took us back to the start/finish in St. Quentin, where I stopped by the medical tent for some better bandages/cleaning. I replaced my tire tubes and could at least roll slowly with 60% of my handlebar back to my hotel a few kms away.