Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Road Rash

Yesterday, while riding my bike, I crashed.


At mile 47 of my 50 mile ride, my front tire caught some kind of weird edge and I found myself skidding uncontrollably across the sidewalk to my right. When I stopped skidding, I stood up, noticed the missing sections of skin on my right side and tried to ascertain the gravity of my injuries. My personal triage checklist had two categories. Messed up and SERIOUSLY messed up.

I could stand. Apparently not SERIOUSLY messed up.

Blood was present. Enough pain for me to howl out loud and curse. Maybe SERIOUSLY messed up.

Repetitive calling out to Jesus to save me. DEFINITELY SERIOUS.

I could locate cell phone and call husband. NOT Serious.

Ability to think about changing a flat tire still intact. NOT Serious.

Hands visibly shaking, tears present. Definitely SERIOUS.

More blood discovered upon lifting up bike shorts. SERIOUS.

Helmet not cracked. Still breathing. NOT Serious.

I survived the crash and my wonderful husband rescued a bloody and really pissed off me, on the sidewalk of Avondale road, 3 miles from home. I was angry because I had had an extraordinarily good ride. I felt good, I rode fast (for me) and kind of wanted to brag about it. But, I was in too much pain to gloat about anything.

In the crash, I broke 2 spokes on my front wheel and punctured the rear wheel. I attempted to fix the rear wheel on my own but was in so much pain that I couldn't figure out how to use the CO2 cartridges to inflate the tire. So, after Wonderful Husband picked me up and I then picked the kids up from school, I brought the bike to the angelic folks at Woodinville Bicycle and they fixed the bike in 30 minutes flat.

While they were working to get me back on the road ASAP, we exchanged crash stories. I think they recognized the "holy-crap-I-just-ate-it" look in my eyes and busted their butts to help me so I would stop showing them my road rash.

Apparently, in the cycling world, it's not a question of IF you will crash. It is, rather, a question of WHEN. One guy at the bike shop crashed and had a punctured lung. 3 Days in the hospital. One went through a windshield. I felt relieved that my injuries were basically skin deep. And that when I crashed, I did so away from traffic. I'd rather pick gravel out of my knees than glass.

And I was thinking the entire time, WHY DID NO ONE WARN ME?

When I signed up for this whole triathlon thing, I didn't pay much attention to the risk, to the cost. I, instead, envisioned the glory of crossing the finish line. My vision also entailed a crown on my head and a vast expanse of adoring fans weeping and chanting my name.

Road rash wasn't a part of the deal.

So, tonight, I'm heading to bed with a very real reminder of pain. Not quite sure what to make of it. No real lesson, yet. I'm still in process. I'm still planning on finishing the race. I'm still planning on working out tomorrow.

But, it really, REALLY hurts, people!


  1. Ok a so sorry...that is my biggest fear on my road bike..I haven't fallen yet.. well I have fallen clipped on my bike. I hope you have a good recovery day. Thanks for sharing your story! You are awesome!

  2. Oh ouch! I hope you're feeling better this morning!

  3. I used to get a number of those when I mountain biked regularly during college days. One particular crash that left me with a SERIOUS road rash is still etched in my mind. I could hardly sleep that night due to the pain, body stiffness and inability to move. Picking gravels out of my entire right leg was excruciating. Fortunately, I healed quickly back then. Not so quickly now though.

  4. Ouch!

    When I was 14, I rode my bike all the way from Seattle to San Francisco and never crashed. Weird, but true.

    I admire your training!


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