Saturday, March 31, 2012
Misfortune may become fortune through patience.
~Solomon Ibn Gabirol, 11th century Rabbi and poet
Life is a matter of accepting the good and the bad with a bit of humor and grace whenever, wherever you can.
I incurred a really nasty hard fall off my bike on the Cinderella Challenge and am fortunate enough to be able to recount the details. I don’t mind spilling the beans about the incident. I feel neither embarrassment or shame but rather blessed and grateful that I am alive and well (relatively speaking). Maybe we can all learn something from this-including me!
It’s easy to pass judgment on someone with a bunch of “would have”, “should have” and “wouldn’t haves”. But until you are pressed into a situation, you just don’t know how you’re going to react.
An accident can be defined as a sudden event that results in damage, injury or harm. I certainly think it applies in my case. I regard myself as a safe rider by not doing stupid stuff and making concientious decisions that will not put me or others at risk.
The desire to be on the bike has a really strong hold on me. For every ride, once the wheels start turning with the first downward pedal stroke, I start to experience and increase the quality of freedom and playfulness in life. It also helps to quiet the mind and instill great peace and calm for me. It’s very addictive! So, sometimes even with “showers” in the forecast, I still get out and ride.
This “Ladies Only” event starts at the Alameda County Fair Grounds in Pleasanton. I meet up with my friend Jackie at registration and we head off! The first 10 miles of the route meanders through the many residential neighborhoods of the area before reaching Livermore.
The weather was cool and breezy. The looming dark rain clouds and breaks of sunshine in between created a very dramatic overhead effect. There was even a rainbow sighting! I had my rain gear on along with fenders for the bike.
The winds were blowing once we got along Concannon to S Livermore Ave and Tesla Rd. The gentle climb up Cross Rd brings us to Patterson Pass Rd. This is where the course diverges; go left for the Classic route/66 miles or go right for the Challenge route/90miles. We’re going for the Challenge!
The climb up west Patterson Pass Rd was uneventful until we reached the summit. Up until that point, we only experienced some light drizzle riding through Pleasanton. Once we started descending the east side, it was a complete downpour-we got dumped on! It was as if someone decided to turn on the faucet at full blast! At the same time, the winds really kicked up too!
I made it safely down the steeper section and continued descending. The direction of the wind was not helping at all-the tailwind propelled me downhill much faster than I liked. The wet conditions caused the rim brakes to become much more ineffective along with increased stopping distance. I applied light pressure on the brakes to keep water off the rims and feather braking but was unable to slow down. These elements created an unfortunate situation for me.
I’ve descended this road many times on dry pavement and it’s fast! Imagine going down at the same speed and not being able to slow down-that’s what I was up against! Once I came upon a right bend in the road, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to save it. I was going to try to be in control of something that was going out of control and hopefully reduce the amount of damage-to me!
I unclipped, made the split decision to veer the bike to the left towards the gravel embankment instead of off the road and down the hillside. It all happened so fast, I went down on my left shoulder and rolled a few times before coming to a halt in an upright position. As I looked up, the bike was still flipping across the road-the tail lights broke upon each impact with the ground and the water bottles flew out! It was a bit surreal to watch.
Jackie came upon me later and helped to get my bike off the road. My helmet took a beating and having it on saved my noggin! She helped me up and I could feel the pain in my shoulder. A SAG car eventually came but left us on the side of the road to go aid another cyclist further up the road that went off the hill. Well that certainly takes precedent over my little fall! SAG was called several times and we just waited and waited in the rain for a very long time getting cold and numb.
With the camera still hanging around my neck, I decide to check to see if it still worked-NOT! I saw the SD card on the side of the road and put it back in the camera. The lens is shattered and the body is badly dimpled. No pics!
A young guy who was returning from a successful turkey hunt stopped and kindly gave us a ride in his pickup truck to the next rest stop. I was driven to Valley Care ER in Pleasanton by a couple of radio guys working the course.
RESULTS: Blunt trauma to the left shoulder. X-rays shows a couple of scapular fractures
POST-ACCIDENT: awaiting results from CT scan for Orthopedist opinion on whether surgery is required and time frame for recovery
Much THANKS to my BFF Jackie for staying with me throughout this ordeal! Another THANKS to Ryan and David-the Tracy radio guys for driving me to the ER and making sure that I was taken care of!
It’s going to be tough for me to not be able to ride my bike. My plan is to hit the gym, spin on the bike, cross train on the treadmill, stairmaster and elliptical machines to continue working the lower body. Gotta keep the body moving and stay active. Maybe I can work on doing one armed push-ups! I’ll also go out for some walks and hikes to feed my appetite for the outdoors.
When you get down to it, my injuries could’ve been a lot worse. Don’t know if I could’ve done anything differently to change the outcome but all the material items can be replaced. There’s no replacing me-the universe has someone watching over me! THANK YOU! I am still blessed and grateful to be here!
I am looking forward to a positive and healthy recovery! I’m beat, but I’m not down-all is not lost!
Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself the most comforting words of all: “This, too, shall pass.”