Bad Day of Cycling

Statistically, the more you ride, the more likely it is that something bad will happen. Bicycling is no different. Every time I set out on the road, I realize that things can go horribly wrong.

Today, that was put to the test.

I started off on my usual 33+ mile loop, with a twist. The prevalent winds are southerly, meaning that the first half of the ride is usually with a moderate but steady tail wind. Today, the wind direction was reversed, with a southerly wind, blowing in my face for the first 13 miles. For that entire stretch, I was picturing the return path, wind at my back, and racking up the record segments in Strava, but it was not meant to be.

As I was restarting from a red light on Butterfield road in Morgan Hill, my right foot slipped out of the cleat, and in what felt like slow motion, I lost my balance, and fell.


Fortunately, I didn’t do the dumb thing, remove my hands from my handlebars to break my fall, or I would probably have broken my wrist. 240# falling is plenty of force to do serious damage.

But plenty of bad things did happen. I landed first on my right elbow, scraping it up. Apparently I bruised it well as is has swollen up to the size of a golfball. Not too painful, and I can move it fine, so apart from some soreness, it doesn’t feel broken.

Also, as I fell, I couldn’t keep my head up, so it had hard (and I mean hard) contact with the asphalt. Rung my bell a bit, but the helmet took almost all the force.

I got up, and walked my bike across the intersection, and took stock. A water bottle was left in the road (more on that in a moment), I was missing a lens from my prescription sports glasses, I was dripping blood from my elbow, I knew I cracked my head, and the chain was off the bike.

A few drivers who saw the incident asked if I needed help, which I declined, as I was more embarrassed than anything else.

Of course, the water bottle that popped out was my $25 “Cleantech” bottle that allows it to be easily cleaned and disinfected. Some asshole car driver ran over it. Hard for me to believe that was an accident as it was in a turn only lane. Fortunately, the fucker didn’t run over the corrective lens, so I was able to get my prescription sports glasses back together.

My helmet took the brunt of the head bounce, and did its job. The energy dissipating styrofoam dissipated energy, breaking, and preventing my head from a really nasty bounce.

My elbow is sore, and swollen, but it doesn’t feel broken. The anticoagulants I take mean that minor scrapes often bleed enough that I look like I battled an axe-wielding serial killer. However, a shower, and some ginger clean up and it looks fine.

I am sure to be really sore. I will need to buy a new water bottle (I am really pissed about that), and a new helmet (c’est la vie, it did it’s job, and now it will be tossed). A quick look at the bike in a stand and nothing looks bent, thus I am pretty sure I will be able to get back on as soon as my aches and pains are gone.

What I am really pissed about? More than anything else, is the fact that an opportunity to fly back, with a strong tailwind, and to set some personal records on Strava all the way home. Oh well, I got 14.7 miles out of my planned/expected 33. I shouldn’t complain too much.