Over the past 13 weeks, I’ve gone from being someone who never walked away from a plate of nachos, an extra cheeseburger, or a second helping of ice cream, to exhibiting the kind of discipline I once had, but had set aside once I segued into my 30s and 40s.
I’ve been talking about “losing 20 pounds” to anyone that would listen for about 10 years. Making the shift from talking about it to doing something about it puts me in select company in America, because we’re a country of whiners who rarely do more than sit on our fat asses and complain about _________________ (fill in the blank), without doing a goddamned thing to change the mix, or play a different hand.
For the past two months, I’ve upped my training from 3-4 days per week of 12-15 miles on my bike, to where I’m now biking five days/nights per week and logging over 100 miles weekly. Usually, Saturday, and/or Sunday involve rides of 25+ miles. I’ve also signed up to participate in The Dempsey Challenge, a member of Team Tarazzmatazz.
Given my newfound fitness focus, and given the very demanding work schedule staring me in the face for the week, with three events scheduled beyond my normal 8:00 to 5:00 daily routine, I knew I had to get out on my bike early, pre-work, if I was going to get in five days on the bike this week.
This morning, I was on my Diamondback at 5:45 a.m. just prior to sunrise. I was well equipped with a bright fluorescent vest, and two new lights that cost me about $70 last week, to aid in visibility now that I am battling shorter days for road time.
About 45 minutes into my ride, an awesome early morning with the sun just coming up on the horizon, my front tire caught one of the ubiquitous pavement fissures that populate Maine’s back roads. Our roads are a mess, as the cash-strapped legislature and our do-nothing governor continue cutting corners on road maintenance in order to deal with budget woes. In a matter of seconds, my front fork had been spun around and my 223 pound frame was being hurtling over the handle bars. I think I hit my right knee first, and then began a bumpy landing, first touching down on both hands, then my elbows, and finally coming to a rest on my chin. As I lay on the pavement, I was afraid to reach up and feel my throbbing chin, thinking that I’d be feeling stands of shredded skin.
Gingerly hoisting myself up and on my feet, moving my neck and flexing my wrist and arms, I knew I was sore and banged up, but it didn’t seem as though anything was broken. My biggest concern was my chin at that moment. I grabbed a paper towel stained with chain grease out of my gig bag on the back of my bike to dab my chin. After putting pressure on my scraped chin and pulling it away, I was surprised that there wasn’t much blood at all. I was a afraid to glance in my rearview mirror, however, not sure what horror I’d come face to face with.
I dialed my cell phone (which I always carry) and called Mary.
“Mary, I just took a bad spill off the Shiloh Road. I’m pretty banged up and shaky,” I stammered. “Can you come pick me up?”
Mary had just left the house for work, but she immediately turned around and motored my way.
I managed to work up the courage to look at my chin. Amazingly, there was no fragmented laceration, or jagged gash—just a nasty looking case of road rash—a serious abrasion. I was lucky!
I twisted my front fork back around and into place. My bar ends on my handle bars were badly bent. My hands were shaking, but I got on my bike and started cycling towards the intersection where I’d eventually rendezvous with Mary and her Rav 4.
I was never so glad to see her vehicle when she turned the corner and I dismounted near the lighthouse, just off east of Route 125 in Durham.
We managed to wedge my bike into Mary’s SUV, after removing the front tire and doing a bit of tugging to fit it into the back.
Arriving back home around 7:30, I began peeling off my biking attire and apprising the damage. Beside my asphalt-stained chin, my right knee was badly bruised, with some abrasions and showing signs that it was beginning to swell. Fortunately for me, the weather was cold enough that I donned a windbreaker and as a result, my only injuries were a few abrasions on my left elbow, and a very sore neck and back. After calling into work letting them know of my incident and that I wasn't going to be in for the day, I spent the rest of the morning icing my knee, and trying to lose the shaking in my hands.
Twelve hours removed from my brush with a serious injury, I’m pretty sore, slightly bruised, and my chin is already scabbing over. It certainly could have been much worse.
[Bike helmet and gloves--don't leave home without them!]
In addition to escaping a brush with broken bones and something even worse, my bike was virtually unscathed. Feeling a bit better this afternoon, I was able to make adjustments to my bar ends, putting them back in place. My front tire needs to be re-trued, as it was slightly warped, but other than that, I think I’m ready to get back out on the road, although I may take tomorrow off for some recovery time.