Friday, September 21, 2012

An abrupt end...

I have had so few crashes on my bike over my lifetime that I can remember all of them.

My first was a great one. I jumped off a driveway ramp on my brother's BMX bike to impress a girl. My feet left the pedals mid-flight and I came down hard, stomach first, on the seat. Knocked the wind out of me and taught me a lesson. Don't try to impress girls!

My second and third wrecks involved loose asphalt at high speed and locked up front brakes in that order.  I left skin on the road, but no serious injuries from either of them.

I had my fourth memorable accident this afternoon. I had ridden back to my office after lunch and was trying to enter my office when the key broke off in the lock. I called a friend who had a spare key to make sure he was around and then rode to his office to pick it up.

With the extra key in my pocket, I headed back to work. I was approaching approaching a traffic light and had moved my hands out to my brakes when I heard a friend shout a greeting. I waved, then decided to ride over and chat for a second. I looked over my shoulder. No cars were coming, so I shot across the street and rode to the curb. As I jerked up on my handlebars, I had one of those Aha! moments. My hands were still on the brake levers. The lifting motion pulled them tight locking up my wheels just as I hit the curb. I was slammed hard to the sidewalk.

I was in immediate and severe pain. My left shoulder, my neck and my left cheek were screaming. I looked around, saw my friend and said, "I think I'm alright." He said, "No, you're not." A few seconds later, when I tried to stand, his opinion proved to be the better of the two.

I stepped into his office with some help and sat down in a chair. I held my arm to my body and tried hard not to move while my friend pulled my bike inside. When he came back to look at me all he could say was, "I think you should get that checked out." I wasn't convinced. I was pretty sure I could ride if I had just a few minutes to rest. I'd shake it off. Then the pain got worse. I changed my mind again and let my friend take me to the ER. My commute had come to an abrupt halt.

I spent a few hours on a hospital bed. My elbow and hand were cleaned up. I hadn't even noticed those injuries for the first few minutes. My shoulder and collarbone were x-rayed. Thankfully, they showed no breaks or dislocations. After what seemed like an eternity, I was told it was likely a major contusion or a minor tear in a ligament and released.

My plan for the next few days revolves around ice, ibuprofen and lots of sitting around. I won't be running to my girls' volleyball tournament as I had planned. Hopefully, I'll be well enough by Monday or Tuesday to resume training for my 100-miler.
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