Name the most dangerous sports. Football, rugby, mountain climbing, wrestling (the real stuff not the professional acting on TV), X-Treme fill-in-the blank. Think again.
Bike riding is up there. At least it would be if you saw me at about 9:30 am yesterday. And no, I do not mean bike racing where high speeds, hairpin turns and group crashes await. I just mean peddling. By yourself.
This is my second fall of the season which is two more than most. The first one just led to scrapes. Painful ones but no serious damage. I walked, or actually hobbled, away from this one so I cannot claim major injury. It just feels major.
It happened fast and was just one of those freak accidents. At the 17.5 mile mark in my normal ride I bike up a modest incline and take a right turn onto a bike oath. No cars. The turn is at best modestly sharp. My speed is only in the low teens since I am climbing. I have made this very turn dozens of times.
Not sure if the path has changed in a week or if I just never take the turn so sharply. There is a crack in the asphalt that starts out just a little wider than a bike tire and closes in a few inches. My tire found that crack. The next crack was the sound of my bike helmet as it hit the pavement. (Insert bike safety promo here. NEVER ride even 5 feet without a helmet.) Then my left side, bone just below the hip, landing next and I skidded on my side for a while. No one else around at the time. I lay there and just took stock. Head was scraped but not bleeding, leg hurt. Some blood on my leg. Conscious enough to take stock. Good signs. I slowly got up. Found my left leg to be in pan but I could move. Picked up the bike and moved off the path.
Fortunately the helmet and not my head cracked. I had cuts but no serious blood flow. My left bike glove now has a new airway to cool off the Knuckle of my index finger where fabric once existed. (I have filed a patent on this new bike glove design. Truly revolutionary.)
Over the next 15 minutes I licked my wounds, figuratively not literally, that would have been gross and required some amazing flexibility on my part. I fixed my bike adjusting brakes and putting the chain back into place. I was now 17.5 miles from home, both my wife and son were engaged in activities in which they would not be hearing their cell phones. And I had no cash–which was rare since I know things like this can happen and I might need a cab.
I got on my bike to see if I could ride and whether it was in condition to be ridden. The answer to both was more or less yes. The injury to my left leg had more to do with weight bearing than the cycling motion. So I began to ride.
At this point in the story most people being of sound mind would assume that I headed in the direction of home. No, not me. I have so few opportunities to ride that I cherish each and every one. On holiday weekends I try to ride twice. Ideally with a day off in between. This weekend I could not ride on Friday and had to limit my ride to a quick 30 miles on Saturday. While the distance was short, I pushed myself hard on Saturday. Even as I left the house on Sunday, well before I fell, I had no idea how my legs would hold up over a planned 50 + mile ride. No I had the trauma of the fall to contend with as well.
Bottom line. 53 miles completed. Lets stress completed. It was slow and painful. Hard to tell how much of the pain was the fall versus the prior day’s ride. As much as I felt physically limited, the trauma of the fall clearly messed with my head. I rely on pushing myself. There was no push yesterday.
Today I am scraped and sore. My neck hurts from the whiplash and I walk like Chester from Gunsmoke. That’s what can happen when you take on danger. That’s me. Mr. Danger.