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