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Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I'm sitting here with my hands hovering over the keyboard trying to come up with a way to say that I crashed again.  I crashed again, 3 days after my last crash.  I hate being in the same room with ridiculous, but alas, here I am sitting in its seat with ice on my elbow.  Until last week, I could say that since January of 2010, I had ridden over 7,000 miles on a bicycle - without a single wobble - no less a crash.

I still haven't heard from the owner of the red SUV that I careened into last Thursday.  I can only imagine that the bill for body work on her vehicle will set my "new bike" fund back a bit.

But that has faded into near insignificance since I crashed again on Saturday.

In the foreground is the bump that tossed me, and in the distance is me and some new friends discussing why I should, and why I was not going to, ride in an ambulance.  Photo Credit - Chris

This is the "G" rated version of my injuries.  Let's just say that my shorts and jersey had to be cut off by my wife.  Where the picture ends, so do my shorts, and a lot of skin.
The story is fairly straightforward.  I joined the HOP group ride Saturday morning to "get right back in the saddle" after my accident on Thursday.  This, by all accounts, was the right thing to do.  We had completed 48 miles of the 50 mile ride and were flat flying down Sycamore Valley Rd. in a tight pace line - at least 8 of us.  The last time I looked at our speed, we were going over 30mph.  Pedaling hard to stay within a few inches of the bike ahead of me, I heard the very distinct sound of that bike hitting something in the road, and then nearly the same instant, my bike seemed to disappear from under me.

I remember my helmet hitting the asphalt, and then thinking "stop, stop, stop" as I slid 20 - 30 yards along the bike lane.  I now know that I can go from 30 - 0 in about 3 seconds without the use of brakes. An off duty cop watched it happen and was one of the first to come up.  Chris's face appeared above me almost immediately, and in the haze of recollection, seemed to be running the show.  He's a veteran cyclist and has experience in these things.

Within 20 minutes I was allowed to sit up, having brought the firemen and police officers up to date on current events and wiggled all the requisite body parts for them.  The very nice lady with warm hands that had so patiently held my neck for most of that time was somehow adamant that they consider the fact that I had only answered 3 of the 4 "current events" questions correctly.  Granted, where I went to school that would have given my a D-, but in my defense, I can't be expected to come up with my age and the month even under ideal conditions without a little more time to think. They kept the back board and neck brace hovering nearby, but once I was seated on the curb, It was clear (to me at least) that I was going home and not to the hospital.

They showed me my bike, which had weathered the storm remarkably well, as they were about to place it in the back of a police car.  The plan was to chauffeur me to Chris's house where I would wait for my wife.  He had chatted with her on the phone and had given her the basics while we were waiting for the EMT's to arrive.  He had returned to tell me that "she wasn't panicking."  I just grinned and thought - yeah - that's why I married her.  When I saw that the wheels still spun and the brakes worked, my machismo returned in full.  I rode the bike to Chris's house 1/4 mile away.  The breeze in my new wounds was just a hint of what was to become a rather painful afternoon.

That painful afternoon, I have realized, was only the beginning.  Funny how when I think of "road rash" now, blow torches seem to come to mind.  I don't intend to spend time complaining, but frankly there have only been a few times that I have felt utterly miserable.  The Poison Oak incident was one of those times, and I'm afraid I'll look back on this as another.

Without waxing too philosophical, I am forced to consider my current condition.  I've injured my foot as a result of too much ladder work plus a long run that I never should have let get out the door.  I've ramped up my cycling in order to stay in shape while I can't run.  I've now injured every limb of my body plus the majority of the joints tying them together as a result of 2 consecutive bike crashes on 2 consecutive rides.

Chris has texted me and told me I need to get back in the saddle as soon as possible.  My wife seems to be just waiting for me to unlock the bike so she can sell it.  My daughters aren't real sure what to think, and my mother has disowned me - I believe.  And me...?

I actually miss the bike already.  The very thought of giving up cycling is repugnant.  I will stick to the mountain bike for a while, but I suspect HOP will see me again (wearing a new helmet).   The good news is that my foot feels remarkably well. I should be able to hit the trails again running in the next week or so - slowly of course.

And here I add what is so very evident to me - now.  I am blessed.  In 3 days, I have been spared from death twice.  Thursday could have easily ended with me wearing a toe tag, and likewise Saturday could have easily left me paralyzed or worse.  As Chris took me to my truck, we chatted and he told me of his friend who is severely disabled from a minor collision on her bike.  In spite of my pain, I know I am blessed.  I sit here and type easily with both hands and no neck brace.  I don't even dare ask why.  I know that God is good, and His ways are past finding out.  And yes, He would still be good even if I had been disabled or killed.  I don't ask why - I am just thankful.

Is God trying to tell me something?  Aha!!  Now there is the question.  I think I'll go out and take a ride on the bike to think that one over...


  1. No, I don't think disown would be the word. Another word that starts with "dis" however, is probably more likely, if Becky can get to the bike and hold it till I get there. That word would be "disable". Not you---the bike took care of that, but I will take care of the bike.

    I have some thoughts on this----I know that comes as a great surprise, however, I will not share them in a public forum. So, now I bet you are really looking forward to our visit. Until then just ride up and down the street in front of your house.

    I love you, Son.
    Love, Mama

  2. Think: stationary bike in the relative safety of our home. Doesn't that appeal? I could turn a fan on high to make it seem like the wind is going through your hair.

  3. Yikes....I am glad you are okay.

  4. Dang ironman! what the heck! No it's not a sign. It's the hazards of cycling on the road. I'd get back at it if I were you.

  5. Thanks all for the support. I feel the love all around - even though some express it by sending me back into the ring for another round, and some by hiding my gloves.

    Alas, I'm the sort to climb back over the ropes and start throwing punches again, so, no risk of less material for the blog...