Is it still a hit and run if you don’t get hit, but crash your bike, and then run? On Wednesday, I decided I would do a race day simulation brick. I planned to do 10 miles out and back for a total of 20 miles on the bike and then run a 10k in the neighborhood. Mother nature was a bit intimidating, the rain was off and on and the winds were pretty hard. I decided to go for it anyway since it is very well possible it could rain on race day and you just have to deal with it. I planned to ride on the greenway since there are fewer traffic interruptions except for intersections and planned to get a couple miles in at Markham Park.
I tried to make everything as much like race day as possible. I wore my tri kit and made my hammer fuel before heading out the door. I even had a transition area set up in the living room, ready with my run shoes, visor and race gels. The only difference from race day was that I decided to wear my cycling rain jacket and I packed a small towel in my second water cage. While I wouldn’t have those things on race day, I also wouldn’t be in the same environment either. The race course will be closed to traffic and I would be able to have a continuous ride whereas on my own I would have to stop and wouldn’t have any assistance out there. I headed out pretty excited.
I had some head wind on the way south, but figured it would be nice to have that as a tailwind on the way home. I tried to maintain a pace that I thought was realistic for race day and had set my watch to auto pause whenever I was stopped so I could see how long the 20 miles took. At mile 7 I was waiting to cross the street when I saw this older couple on bikes also waiting to cross. They began into the intersection, which surprised me because we did not have the cross walk signal or right of way. They just decided to cross when it seemed clear enough. I was a little frustrated by that because I think a lot of drivers disregard cyclists because they think cyclists disregard the laws of the road, and some obviously do.
I finally got the crosswalk signal to head out. I checked the turn lane to make sure it was empty or whomever was there could see me. I had the all clear so I started across the intersection. A driver in the straight lane decided she was going to turn right…..right into me! She slammed her brakes just as I swerved to avoid hitting her front fender. I cranked the pedal to get some momentum because I was wobbling, but unfortunately that sent me careening into the sidewalk on the other side of the intersection. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I think my front tire made it and the back tire didn’t. I crashed down hard on my right side. Most of me was on the sidewalk, which I was thankful for, but I had to be careful not to straighten out too much or my head would have been in traffic. My right foot was kind of trapped in the pedal, so I pried it out and pushed the bike off of me. I got up and picked up the bike to start assessing the damage.
The side of my seat was messed up, and I had some pretty big scrapes on my read derailleur. Dang. Then I started to feel the sting that told me that I had lost some skin in that one. I had landed mostly on my right knee and hip, I thought. I went to mount the bike and my hip gave a nice popping sound and a sharp pain made me want to cry out. Then, I saw it and really wanted to cry!!! My handlebars were totally bent out of shape!!! I wanted to just call someone to pick me up and drive me home, but there really wasn’t anyone that I could call. I also thought about the time D2 to fell on his bike. I was terrified inside but since he was not hurt badly, I told him he had to get back on immediately and he did. I gave it some thought and decided that if I headed home, it would be 7 miles. Why not just finish the 10 and then head back?
I got going again trying to figure out if I could shift gears and steer ok, and headed to Markham Park. I hit the halfway mark and stopped to fuel again. That is when I realized that I must have lost my hammer flask in my crash! Nooooooo!!!!! Now I had no fuel and I lost the flask I need on race day. Dang again. Nothing to do at this point but head back home. I was a little bit off my game on the way back home. I had issues with turns, definitely had issues at intersections and really had problems steering. I started to realize it was not the smartest thing to have continued on. My right hand started to hurt, but I thought it might be the weird position it was in due to the handlebars being out of whack. At this point, I just wanted to get home.
That’s when the rain started. I almost started to feel sorry for myself, and then I realized that the rain felt great. It cooled me down, it slowed me down and it just felt nice. I thought about how terrified I always am of crashing my bike. I’ve always heard that it’s not “if” but “when. Every cyclist goes through it at some point, or so I am told. I started to feel good about it to a certain extent. I survived my worst crash so far, and got back up and on the bike. I was proud that I kept going.
I got home and had to decide if I was going to go for the run or not. I wanted to at least transition and then I decided to get out and run a bit to see how I felt. I got about a half mile and decided that one mile would be enough for the day. It would get the blood moving like on race day, but I knew there was no way I was running 6 miles. I could feel my stride change because of the hip pain and I knew that continuing too far could mean a worse injury so I headed back to the house for a shower.
I guess I was still experiencing some adrenaline from the ride, run and the crash because as soon as I got relaxed, everything started to hurt way worse than it had before. I felt like I’d been hit by the car, My entire right side was in pain. The worst of it was my hand when I would move my fingers, and knee and back. I decided it would be a good idea to go to the walk in center because my hand was swelling and really felt like the worst of the aches. The doc checked me out and did some x-rays. I have road rash and bruising on my right side, and a bad sprain or possible hairline fracture in my wrist. I have a brace on my hand and was told not to use it for three days. I decided to take Thursday and Friday off work and training and just rest up. Can’t use my hand anyway and I knew the pain would be worse day 2.
Sure enough, I was right about the pain. Now that a few days have gone by, I am healing up nicely and I don’t think I have a fracture, but it took about three days for the swelling to go down. The bruising is now turning that lovely shade of purple and yellow, which is also a good sign.
The day hadn’t gone as planned, but the bike has been fixed and I am on the mend. I even did a 5k Sunday and while I was in a little pain, made good time. I have two weeks until the triathlon and I only got one swim in last week, which stinks, but I did learn a few things from this mishap. I learned that I really need to buy another hammer flask so that if I lose one I have I don’t want to cry. (Order placed!) I knew, but feel like I re-learned that injuries hurt a lot more after the adrenaline wears off! I learned that some bike parts are meant to bend so that they absorb impact. I learned that my fear can be lessened a little by experiencing some of the things I am afraid of, though I wouldn’t recommend an incident like today for that purpose. Most importantly I crashed pretty hard, but I learned that I can get up and moved forward, even on race day……. At least until the adrenaline wears off!