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If Only I Wasn’t So Fast…

I’m having a hard time writing about what happened on my ride today for a couple of reasons.

Sweet Red and the Expert. Matchy pants.

First, because I’m sure that whoever caused the crash today will eventually find out who cursed them within an inch of their life (me), and I guess that I should be embarassed. I wish I wouldn’t have said what I said. But that doesn’t change how I feel about it.

And second, because even hours later I am really angry. Another setback.

The Expert and I picked up Sweet Red and her bike, and headed to a trail where there are no cars and where riding should be relatively safe.  We were meeting Mark Who Is On A Schedule (new nickname! new nickname!) and his new tri bike for about 45 miles.  After alot of laughs and schenanigans, we headed out. 

I was about 100 yards ahead of the others, and I could see that the traffic light at one of the trail’s cross streets was about to turn red, meaning that the folks on the trail could cross. There were several riders and walkers ahead to the right, way ahead of me, and they were going across.

The “walk” signal was still on as I approached, so I had plenty of time to cross.

I sat up (out of aero) and slowed down.  I clipped out of my right foot, as I always do when approaching a cross walk. And especially because I could see one of the cyclists on the right side of the trail kind of wobbly about 30 yards ahead of me.  I loudly said “on your left,” pushed on my brakes, slowing down and preparing to go WIDE on the left around her. 

Apparently, she decided that was a good time to make a complete U-turn in the middle of the road.  She turned her bike hard left, as if she was literally making a U-turn.  Crossing five feet into the left lane of the trail. Turned slap into the left of the path. Without looking.

I saw what was coming in slow mo.  I couldn’t go right because I was headed left… I couldn’t avoid crashing into her without hitting my brakes too hard and risking going over the bars. I couldn’t turn hard left because I would have lost the bike out from under me and possibly hit the immovable truck sitting at the light.  I braced for it, and my right foot clipped back into the pedal, when I was trying to figure out where to swerve, where to put my foot down.

I leaned to the right, into the crash, and tried to avoid completely t-boning her. 

The sound was awful as our bikes locked and we hit the concrete. I went down on top of her, feet clipped in–in a method to save my head, my bike and my body–I threw myself into her like a train, I guess.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.  As I got up, I didn’t even look at her, because I was so mad.  I admittedly lost my sh*t.  I lost it. How could someone be so stupid? Turning in the middle of the road, in the path??

I had two thoughts going through my head as I went down:  1) Coeur d’Alene.  Crap. 2) Is this seriously happening. 

I could barely get out of my clips and get my bike and myself pulled up. My right side was throbbing, my hamstring was burning, and I had chain bites everywhere.  I coughed, and thought, oh I broke my rib. Super de duper.

The other rider’s friends came back and started yelling back at me, because I was losing my mind on their friend, who was clutching her elbow. 

The manly friend: “Don’t be such a bitch!” The blonde high-pitched friend: “It’s an accident, that’s why they call it an accident! Shut up!”  And then me, a whole lot of f-bombs and screaming, holding my right side, “An accident?? Your friend not knowing how to ride her bike is the accident! Get out of my face!”  The manly friend: “YOU aren’t even hurt!”

And my personal favorite…. the squealy friend: “If you weren’t going so fast this wouldn’t have happened!”

WHAT?!  If I wasn’t going slow-down-to-an-almost-stop-to-avoid-your-careless-friend… this wouldn’t have happened? Is that what you mean?

I was seriously about to get arrested. I was losing my mind. The Expert was then across the road next to me, and I knew I needed to shut my mouth, because of the other manly man arriving on the scene and Westside Bicycle Story that might have unfolded. Sweet Red and Mark Who Has a Schedule pulled up too. I checked Andy, and we headed back to the car slowly. I just get madder.  My right side was throbbing.

 

I’m having a hard time digesting how to feel about this. Because I’m in alot of pain right now and because I can’t keep having these setbacks. At the same time, I feel worried about the other rider and hope she’s okay. Because I care about my fellow cyclists. Alot. I care all the time. I want people to be happy, and healthy and enjoy the sport. I was not a good ambassador of the sport today. I lost my mind, and I shouldn’t have.  But I know why I lost my mind.

Because I was at someone else’s mercy.  Someone was careless, and I had to brace for it. I just had to just bear down and take it… take it, as I saw the wreck that was about to happen, and thinking, “I’m about to break my shoulder” and “there goes my training… again” and “lay the bike down, don’t go over the bike” and “keep your head from hitting anything.”

I hope the other cyclist is okay, and nothing is broken on her. She was up walking around when we left.  I wish I wouldn’t have said things that would have embarrassed my mother.  I regret that.

But I want to train. I want to do well, and I am tired of all the setbacks. 2012 has seemed like an endless list of setbacks.  I walked in the door and tried to pick up my daughter an hour ago, and I couldn’t.  The stabbing rib-area pain was too much. My hamstring is burning. I’ve got a million bruises and throbs right now.  I couldn’t run or swim 50 yards right this second if my life depended on it.

I’m annoyed, I’m mad and I’m embarrassed.  I’m thankful that it wasn’t worse. It could have been bad, really bad for both riders. What if I hadn’t noticed her pull in front of me? What if I was looking to the right when she pulled out….

I cringed at every car that pulled out in front of us on the drive home.

So that about sums it up.

19 Comments

  • christieo

    December 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Dang. I can’t help but get angry FOR you. As 2012 has been an endless list of setbacks for me too, the thought of something like this happening would piss me the hell off too! It’s frustrating!!!

    I think your reaction was just a lot of THAT and how can you apologize for how you felt at the time? It sort of came from a genuine place even though you didn’t mean her any harm.

    I’m sorry. I truly hope that you’re not broken in any way (or her either) but that you can hop right back on asap. xoxo

    Reply
  • Monica Johnson-Null

    December 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    You have every right to be upset! I would have been furious and probably done the same thing if not worse! It’s good everyone is walking and talking, but don’t be too hard on yourself. You did everything in your power to prevent it. Glad you are not hurt worse. 2013 is going to be your year!!

    Reply
  • Sarah @ climbinvegan

    December 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I can’t believe this.. it’s sort of like a15 year old with their learners permit doing this in a car.. everyone would be enraged. You had the right to get mad: you are hurt, and you are NOT at fault. I think one of the things that should come with buying a bike is an instruction manual on how to act in bike lanes… living in Manhattan I saw some appalling things as well, but nothing this bad. I’m so surprised this happened to you, and I hope you heal well. I also hope the lady is healthy and unbroken as well- but that she learns from this, and reflects upon what she did… get better soon

    Reply
  • Jacqui

    December 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Avoidable crashes make me three shades of angry too. Been there; done that. Losing your cool in public is never a good thing because no mater the anger you feel, you feel worse for having opened your mouth. (From experience) Newbies are always going to make stupid mistakes that cause others to crash. There isn’t enough general bicycle handling knowledge in the public. I’ve become the annoying stranger that stops along the bike path to explain the rules to riders and demand helmets. In an idea world, there would be bike handling courses taught every weekend… for free…

    Reply
  • Andrea

    December 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    $hit Mere! I am so sorry to read this. Don’t beat yourself up for your reaction. I would have behaved the same way. In fact, I have yelled at people for doing stupid things on the trails here. I like to think I am educating people that don’t know better but I imagine they may take it another way!

    Send you both healing thoughts!

    Reply
  • Colleen Kingery

    December 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    🙁 I would have gone ape shit on her too… it’s called learning the rules of the road. Look back before you do something dumb. You weren’t at fault so don’t even think twice about that (I know you aren’t… but slow down? Really dude?) Take something for the pain… Aleve is my go to drug of choice. And know that tomorrow you are going to be really sore. If you can move everything, it’s probably a lot of what I call “smackage” (as opposed to the “slideage” method of falling) and it’ll hurt for a while. If you think your rib might be broke, have a doctor check that bad boy out.

    Rest weeks can be your friends too… just remember that. Don’t push yourself. You have PLENTY of time before CdA.

    HUGS!

    Reply
  • Gen Matchette

    December 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Go get checked tomorrow… please. Thankful you’re okay! Perhaps one of these days, she will realize her error and understand your reaction. We all have our “less-than-graceful moments.” Today was yours. You’re human. Your mom will understand. It’s like when she smacked you as you were about to put your hand on the hot stove as a little kid. You reacted because you were scared. <3

    Reply
  • Karen

    December 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Don’t sweat CDA. You have plenty of time… Just keep moving forward. I think Johnny Depp said that once. Seriously, I would have been pissed too. I mean how about apologizing for doing a u turn in the middle of the trail. Basic rules of the road – know what is around you, LOOK, that sort of thing. Silver Comet is way too busy to be doing a u turn without looking. Yeah maybe Mom might not have been proud of the F bombs flying but you were reacting to the situation. Thankfully it wasn’t worse. Maybe you can get a tattoo over the chain bites for some extra badassness.

    Reply
  • Trish

    December 9, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    You are a badass. You are tough as nails and have gotten through worse. Thank God you were looking ahead and thank God you kept your head while it was going down. Losing it after is understandable. Hang in there. Keep the faith. You will be an IRONMAN. This I know.

    Reply
  • Dave

    December 10, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Take care of yourself and don’t beat yourself up. You’re reaction is appropriate, given the situation. It is a reflection of the passion you have for your sport. I’ve always found a lesson in these challenges of life. They are hidden, sometimes, but I have always been able to reflect a learn from them. Take care and don’t give up.

    Reply
  • Jaimegirl

    December 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    We’re all on your side here with the anger. Keeping aware of your surroundings is #1 priority – I had riders go down near me in both IMCDA and IMCAN this year and had I not been paying attention, I would have been in the pile, possibly ending my day. Take care of yourself and you have plenty of time before IMCDA to get healed/trained and ready.

    Reply
  • Maggie

    December 13, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Don’t be embarrassed – I’m sure almost anyone put in your position would have done the same! If anything, the other cyclist should be thankful it was just you and not a car/truck—unfortunately sounds like her lesson to check over her should was completely at your expense. SO sorry you’re having to go through this but fingers crossed for a speedy and easy recovery – I’m sure you’ll bounce back!

    Reply

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