Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Brush with Disaster

By now I know that I am a quick healer and have a knack for avoiding major catastrophe, but boy do I wish I'd stop testing it.  
The Situation
I could see the light ahead as I came churning down the hill.  The light in my direction was still red but I could see the other side changing and knew I'd be getting a green.  What I didn't account for though was the SUV that was trying to catch the tail end of the light cycle.  Glancing up from the aero position I saw the blue Jeep enter my path.  I reacted quickly, posturing up and slamming on the brakes (several witnesses couldn't believe I didn't crash).  I made my best effort to stop but because of the speed (I was traveling about 30mph) I ended up dumping the bike and hitting the deck.  I narrowly avoided the disaster of broadsiding the car and came to a rolling stop about a foot from its side.  

I popped up off the pavement and I could immediately feel the eyes on me.  Several cars stopped to check out the situation and the first person to reach me was the Jeep driver Donna.  Oddly I wasn't really shaken from the near miss (like the last time I went down I was more worried about my bike than my body) but Donna was trembling.  My initial anger at the situation faded when I saw how frightened she was (and knew that my bike was okay) and I began reassuring each of the witnesses that I was alright.  

After a few minutes we decided (read: I convinced them) that there was no reason to call for any help (police or ambulance) but I guess someone who saw everything happen made the call on their own.  Within minutes a Suffolk County policeman was on the scene, quickly followed by the local volunteer fire department ambulance.  I repeated told them all that I was fine, refused to be tended to, and declined the rides home that were offered to me from about three different people who stopped to see if I was alright.  

The Damage
The brunt of the fall seems to have been taken on my left hip and left arm.  I have some fresh road rash (some right on top of my recently healed skin) and once the adrenaline began to fade the soreness started creeping in.  My wrist and back were bothering me on the rest of the ride (which I ended up cutting short) and I'm sure I'll be feeling it tomorrow.  The damage from today's crash is much less than my last one and it's going to take a lot more than some bumps and bruises to keep me down.

The Takeaway
I consider myself to be a very aware biker and I do my best to anticipate the actions of those with whom I share the road.  I'll never know if the light was red or not when the Jeep began turning but at this point it doesn't matter.  Today's close call was another not-so-friendly reminder of just how dangerous cycling can be and how important it is to be fully present while riding. 

After tonight's events I've added a new goal to my Ironman training.  I'd like to remain upright (except when swimming) and keep my arms and legs inside the moving vehicle. 

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