Doing it all the hard way...

Friday, January 8, 2016

Black Ice and a Maroon Jersey – As if I planned to crash

A soft landing for this guy.... Not for Evo !
With Epiphany behind us and family returning to the far reaches of the galaxy it was high time to set about the business of returning to fitness.  A forecasted cool dry morning afforded the perfect rain-free commute opportunity.  A predicted low of 36 meant I would have to dress warm but wouldn’t need to worry about ice.

I got up and checked the outside thermometer and sure enough, 36 degrees.  I dressed and set off at my usual 5:30 commute departure time.  It doesn’t get any darker in January than it is at 5:30 AM.  With my headlamp spewing its lumens out in front of me I began my journey.
As I was climbing the first short hill (224th) my headlamp picked up some diamonds on the road (ice crystals). I moved to the side and rode on the gravel park strip to avoid slipping.   This wasn’t what I was expecting and I figured it would be an anomaly. My brain isn’t at full speed at 5:40 AM.

On the next climb my rear wheel again started to get squirrely and I unclipped and my foot slipped and hit the deck. Nothing big, I collected myself and walked up the hill pushing my bike on the sidewalk.   At the top I checked the road surface, remounted and rode a couple more miles.  
Then on the next steep hill just past five corners my rear wheel spun and I s-l-o-w-l-y unclipped and again walked up the short, steep hill.  True to form at the top the road was dry and I clipped in and resumed my journey to the Northeast.

I was ever vigilant for the next several miles and the hills, both up and down, were flatter and all was fine.  There was only one downhill looming ahead and buoyed by a few safe miles I was hoping for the best.

As I crested the top and peered down I was barely rolling I was so nervous about the downhill.  I started down and rode my brakes. I could sense it was getting slippery.  “Be smart” I thought to myself. I unclipped and before I could put my left foot down my wheels flew out from under me and I crashed down on my left side going about one mile an hour.

The fist-sized battery for my headlamp was in my left rear jersey pocket and the fall forced it into my side. I felt like I had been punched in the kidney by Mike Tyson.  My left elbow hurt as well.  I got up and started sliding my feet in a slow shuffling motion toward the sidewalk.  I tried to lean on my bike like a walker but the wheels slipped out sideways so I just tried to get myself and my bike to the sidewalk.
Yeah, I know how you feel man.....
Once off the road I tried to take an inventory of myself.  My head was okay although my helmet and beanie were a bit askew from the fall.  My kidney area hurt a ton and I took a deep breath to check for broken ribs.  Hmmm…. Maybe yes, maybe no; oh well.  My left elbow was sore but not as bad as the kidneys. My arm had full range of motion.  I thought about calling Hottie to come get me but I didn’t want her driving on these icy roads.

Once at the bottom of the hill I remounted and resumed my ride to work.  With a calm voice I cursed out loud. This was starting to not be fun.  The rest of the ride to work was free of ice and I spent most of the time trying to determine if I was going into shock or just feeling crappy. 

My falls, combined with walking up and down the icy hills and subsequent slow riding resulted in my arrival to work about thirty minutes later than usual.  I grabbed my work clothes and headed for the showers.  By now my elbow was really hurting and I wondered if it might be cut.

I passed a bathroom and stepped in and went in front of the mirror to check my elbow.  The elbow of the jersey had a wet spot about two inches in diameter but because my jersey was maroon in color it didn’t really look bloody.   I knew it couldn’t be anything else but because it was essentially transparent it didn’t sink in. Yes, my powers of denial remain in full force even in crisis.  I am incredible aren’t I?
Once in the locker room I pulled off my jersey and my black base layer.  Both had holes in the elbow surrounded by wet spots.  Their color and my old man eyes meant I couldn’t ascertain how much blood there was.  In the shower I washed off my elbow and it burned.  The soap lathered up pink.  This wasn’t looking good.

After my shower I couldn’t get the elbow to stop bleeding but in a masterful stroke of happenstance my shirt for the day was also maroon.  Before putting on the shirt I checked my elbow in the mirror of the shower room and with my old man eyes I couldn’t quite tell how bad it was.  With a finger I pulled on the skin and the blood really began to flow. I finally stuffed a paper towel inside the arm of the shirt and made my way to my desk.  I muttered under my breath. “Another Red Letter day at the Baileys.”
Oh GROSS !!  
I am NOT going to show you a gross picture of my cut or anyone else's 
Say "Thanks Evo!"
The slower ride hadn’t generated much body heat and I was focused on getting a cup of hot coffee before pursuing first aid.  Once I had coffee in hand I chased down some bandages and antibiotic ointment.  Following a remote consult, I returned to my desk and did my best to be productive.

I felt a lot better riding home that evening and after my shower Hottie applied some butterfly bandages to hold the wound shut and enclosed my elbow in some bandages she had procured earlier in the day.  Thanks for taking care of me.

 What would January be without a black ice crash?  I hope to find out someday.

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