By lex, on August 5th, 2006
It was a lovely day for the long route, the weekend course. Thirty-five miles, it runs – up into the hills and mansion drives of Rancho Santa Fe, west through Encinitas, back south down the coastal 101 to Del Mar, and working back east to Carmel Valley (skipping that gruesome climb up Torrey Hills park).
I didn’t get that far.
Had just left the house when I realized that I’d left my military ID card in my wallet. I usually bring it with me in case of an accident, it makes the formalities with hospital bureaucracies so much easier, once they know that Uncle Sugar is footing the bill. I was maybe 5 miles down track when I noticed a young man – one of the kids that stands on corners spinning “Vacancies! Gym and Pool!” arrow signs – on the corner of a condo driveway putting sun screen on. I realized that I had not just forgotten my ID, I hadn’t chromed up either. At my age, with Irish skin, that just wouldn’t do for an hour and a half ride in the SoCal sun.
Looked back to consider a turnaround, in order to ask him for a dab. Never saw the young girl racing her Toyota to make a green light coming down the condo drive, across my path. Or at least, I never saw her until it was too late. Hard braking all around, stifled curses and a thump.
Exactly where and how we hit is a bit of a mystery. The quick releases on my clipless peddles worked as advertised, and I flew across the roof without getting much tangled up, landing hard on my right shoulder. Heard more than felt the helmet crack the pavement.
Got up cautiously – I’ve heard of shock – but found nothing essential broken. There’s going to be a pretty deep muscle bruise I think above my starboard scapula, but there’s plenty of beef there – alas, too well marbled – to absorb the worst of the blow. And it was a good, clean, rolling fall. Just like my judo instructor taught me.
Lucky, is all.
It’s good to be lucky.
The young man with the sun screen came running over to me saying, “You really want to get off that leg, man.” What? Oh, that’s an old injury, a dozen years old. Another two-wheeled crash, a motorcycle that time that left me much the worse for wear. Navy surgery – the best in its price range! – left a round, herniated muscle mass poking through the fascia that they had to cut open in order to screw a plate into my tibia. It pokes out like a golf ball when I walk about in shorts, and I guess it can look like a complex fracture. Pretty much excludes me from the sexy legs contests at the beach, but doesn’t hurt a bit.
“Oh, that’s nothing,” I replied.
“Dude, look at that thing. You’re really going to want to sit down.”
Smiling inwardly, “Oh, I’m sure it will be OK.”
Had to let him off the hook at last when I went to calm down the pretty young thing that had hit me. My fault, there, there. No harm done. No reason for tears.
The bike will need some work, the front wheel certainly, maybe the fork too. May have to change the derailleurs. But the carbon frame seems to have well withstood the shock, and it’ll probably be ready to ride again by the time I am.
That was close. Real glad I was wearing that helmet.
Some luck you take, some luck you make.