28 October 2010

Right hook

Well it finally happened -- I was hit a week or so ago (Sunday, Oct. 17). After 10's of thousands of miles over the last decade or so, the odds were no longer in my favor.

To set the scene, I was riding the first part of my L-L-L Permanent out to the store in Gorman and back. Heading back home on the short, sub 1-mile stretch of Hwy 98. Noon. Traffic was light and visibility was excellent. Wearing my red, white, and blue RUSA wool jersey.

Just before I made the turn onto Kemp Rd., I heard a car approaching from behind. I caught a quick glance of her front bumper for a split second then she made a right turn directly on top of me. Hit my left thigh with the front quarter panel of her car, leaving a black mark between the wheel well and front door. Sent me into the ditch, landing on my elbow and rolling off the bike.

I swear to god, the first words out of her mouth: "I didn't see you". Clearly.

Maybe she was trying to figure out a way to set her DVR to record Wheel of Fortune from her JitterBug phone. Maybe she was daydreaming about lunch -- trying to remember how long the potato salad had been in the fridge -- was it one week or two… Who knows. The end result was, she simply wasn't paying attention and hit me.

I called 911 as soon as I could dig my phone out of my bag -- the sheriff & EMT guys showed up in about 5 minutes. The EMT declared nothing was obviously broken, but I should see my doctor first thing on Monday. For a few minutes, there was enough adrenaline going through me that I didn't notice the pain, but it didn't take long for my left hip and right elbow didn't take long to start hurting.

After talking with the sheriff deputy, I decided to try riding home. Only made it about a mile or two before I had to call my wife to come get me -- my elbow was already starting to swell and I couldn't support my weight with my right arm. By Sunday evening, it looked like I had a golf ball under the skin on my elbow and I couldn't bend my arm -- had to eat left handed. Ice and ibuprofen seemed to help, but it was hurting like pure hell.

Went to my doctor on Monday -- he took one look at my elbow and asked if I'd had it x-rayed. Since I didn't go to the ER, he ordered a round of x-rays. Great. I was hoping it wasn't fractured.

Doc called the next day to let me know it wasn't fractured, but to keep going with the ice/ibuprofen/elevation for a while longer. I was sore all over for several days from the violence of being knocked to the ground. It took a little over a week for my elbow to start to feel OK.

The worst thing about my injuries was not being able to pick up my son, Finn. I've only recently been able to hold him without my elbow speaking up.

In the grand scheme of things, I was lucky. I can think of a 1000+ ways it could have been worse -- much worse. Yeah, I had to deal with some inconvenience, and there will be more to come as the insurance claim comes together, but I'll be fine -- I'll live to ride another day.

Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing, my bike survived without a scratch -- I cushioned it with my body.

Scenes from the Commute -- Sunset at Lake Crabtree

20 October 2010

Greensboro 600k - Better Times A-Coming

Ever get a song stuck in your head on a ride -- can't shake it no matter what you do?

Well, on the Greensboro 600k last month, I had Jim and Jesse McReynolds' rendition of "Better Times A-Coming" stuck in my head -- for nearly 36 hours. As frustrating as that seems, it actually turned out to be a good thing.

That's the thing about doing brevets, especially longer ones, you can sometimes reach a really dark point -- even thinking about abandoning -- but if you can just hang in there, there's always better times a-coming.

Shortly after leaving the control at Chuck's house on the way out, I started to feel less than good. I'd ridden the first 200k a little too hard and not eaten enough throughout the day, and it was starting to catch up with me. By the time I'd reached the control in Carthage, I was feeling green. I ordered some food at McDonalds, knowing I needed to eat, but feeling like I couldn't. While waiting for the food, I popped a Tums -- and within seconds knew I was going to be sick. A mad sprint for the bathroom for several minutes of dry heaves, and that was that. I still really couldn't eat, but at least I felt somewhat better -- just got to keep the pedals turning.

From Carthage to the turn around in Fayetteville, it was touch-and-go with my stomach. With the encouragement and the offer to share his room from new riding pal, Steve, I was able to make it through a pretty rough night. I knew if I could make it to the turn around and get a bit of sleep, better times would be a-coming.

And after couple hours of good sleep and a hearty breakfast at the Waffle House, Steve and I rolled out for the final 200k back to Greensboro. Better times had arrived.