Two kinds of cyclists

August 31, 2011

There are two kinds of cyclists

Those who have crashed, and those who are going to crash.

For eight years, I have been among the latter. Today, I joined the former.

I left my house around 5:35 this morning, rolled downhill about a quarter mile, then climbed to a half mile. I then rolled down for roughly another three quarters, had an up-and-down for a while, until I’d covered about five miles. I’d climbed Powers Ferry Road, turned on Tuxedo, rolled down then climbed back up, until I completed the dogleg across Blackland. As Tuxedo turned downhill, I popped the gears up a few notches, “punched the gas” to pick up speed, and . . . then it happened. 

  In the dark, on a stretch of road that is REALLY dark (I use a headlight, but keep it on the blinking phase, using it to let cars know that I am there more than to illuminate the road-I use streetlights for that), there was a tree limb about  three to four feet long, and about three inches in diameter across the road. I hit it, and hit the deck. I was rolling at about 20 miles an hour when I hit the stick; I went down on my right side, HARD, hard enough that I cracked my helmet, and slid along the street for 15-20 feet. I distinctly recall thinking at one point, “That sound is my helmet sliding across the pavement.” 

  I came to a stop. 

  I laid there for a moment, stunned, out of breath (from the exertion of climbing the last hill and from punching the pedals to pick up speed), and in pain, I wondered what had happened.  I honestly think that my first thought was about what kind of shape my front wheel was in (The bike is essentially fine, for the record.) I reached back into my jersey pocket to feel for my phone, it was there, I called my wife and told her I’d crashed (“I’m OK, but I need you to come get me.”), then started to assess reality. My computer had come off my bike, as had the mirror on my helmet. I found them both, the latter in two pieces. I found everything except my water bottle (I have lots of those.) 

  At home, I assessed the damage. The bike is, mercifully, OK. I have road rash on my right forearm, right shoulder, and knee and shin. My hip feels like it has been hit with a LARGE sledgehammer, and my ribs-on the right-hurt like dog doo (a term that an orthopedic surgeon once told me is a medical term), but X-rays say there are no breaks (Unless a radiologist says differently after a look), only “deep bone bruises.”

  Tomorrow, I’ll ride on my “old” bike (Cannondale R-400) that is on a trainer in my basement. Friday, Lord willing, I plan to ride 50 miles on the Silver Comet Trail. 

  I am an IRONMAN (; we don’t break, we bend. In another week, I expect to hike 12-13 miles. 

  Pain is temporary. Quitting is eternal. 

  Ain’t no crash can keep me down. 

  I’m an IRONMAN.

One Response to “Two kinds of cyclists”

  1. Carol Hughes Says:

    I am not an Ironman. I have been called a Steel
    Magnolia. As I have become older, I don’t do some
    things I used to do. One thing I have learned is to allow myself plenty of time to recuperate when
    I am injured. Be patient with yourself!

    You still have plenty of time to put plenty of miles on that bike. Just do not overdo it right now.

    To the patient Ironman from the Steel Magnolia with patience.

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