It happened. I had my first bike crash. I went to the hospital to get checked out, and have no broken bones or stitches to my name. I am sore, have road rash, and am nervous for my next ride, but it could have been so much worse.
Jeremy and I were less than 2 miles from home riding south on highway 101 when it happened. Leucadia is one of the most dangerous areas we ride in because there are cars parked along the highway, there’s a lot of traffic, pedestrians, restaurants and shops, and there are NO bike lanes.
Jeremy was riding right behind me, as usual, to protect me from the cars as they squeezed by us. I always slow down when I see a car easing out into the intersection from the side streets in case they don’t see me. This was a different scenario, however, and I didn’t have time to anticipate what happened next.
A car was approaching from the opposite direction on the 101. It slowed down to turn left, but DIDN’T STOP and started turning in front of me.
In a split second, the car was turning in front of me/at me because it did not see me. I instinctively slammed on both brakes and did a front flip over my handlebars and landed in the road. My bike landed on top of me. Then Jeremy ran into me and over me because he couldn’t stop in time. The only thing that didn’t hit me was the car because the driver saw us at that point. THANK GOD.
As soon as it was over, I was confused to see Jeremy on the ground ahead of me. He was getting up and looked OK but concerned for me. My next thoughts were “Ironman,” and then “Bike.” (Apparently this was all going through my mind as I was moaning and sobbing in the street.) As soon as I realized I could walk, I ran/hobbled out of the intersection and onto the grass because I was afraid of getting hit by a car.
By that time, Jeremy was next to me, and so was the driver of that vehicle and the driver of another vehicle. I’ll spare you with the details, but I was sobbing and making a lot of whimpering noises from the pain and from fear. Did I break anything? Were we OK? Jeremy consoled me and said that the white sticking out of my elbow was not bone and not to worry.
The driver said she didn’t see us. She was very apologetic. She didn’t slam on her brakes until I was already mid-air flip, and by then it was too late for me. I know now that it wasn’t a good time of day for us to be riding because it had just turned to dusk, so that didn’t help matters. Timing is everything.
When we declined calling an ambulance and said he would drive me to the hospital himself, the women packed up our bikes and drove us home. I got the driver’s contact information in case we need anything. I’m so used to hearing about hit and runs. She didn’t even hit me, but she stopped to check on us which I greatly appreciate.
Jeremy drove me to the nearest hospital, and I spent a few hours there getting examined, X-rayed, and cleaned up. No concussion. No broken bones. No stitches. (Close to stitches on the elbow. I am missing a chunk of skin there, so I think I might start shaving my arms to avoid such bad road rash if I ever crash again!) Jeremy didn’t want to get examined so he just sat with me. Luckily his injuries were not as bad as mine.
I’m not angry at the driver or at myself. Perhaps I could have laid on the front brake less and avoided a front flip, but when you are in “fight or flight” mode, you aren’t thinking like that. I honestly thought I was going to get hit, and I am grateful that this accident wasn’t worse. I am not being dramatic when I say that I fear for my life every time I get on my bike because I hear of too many cycling fatalities. I also have friends who have been seriously injured in bike accidents. It’s common to break your collarbone or elbow doing what I did. I am very lucky I didn’t.
In the future, I’m going to avoid riding at dusk and hopefully avoiding riding on that stretch of the 101 until they put a bike lane in. (Rumor has it that it was just approved to put bike lanes in over there!) I will also start riding with gloves again because my palms have gnarly road rash. I don’t want to be terrified of my bike because I still have a lot of Ironman training left to go. Hopefully I can be brave.
Now I just need to relax and embrace recovery mode so I can start Ironman training again. The only part of my body that feels like it might be worse off than cuts and bruises is my left shoulder, so I am going to work on it while I recover. Coach Trevor gave me some mobility exercises to do at home.
I’m happy I didn’t sign up for Ironman Canada which is only 17 days away…Ironman Cozumel is about 15 weeks away which will allow me time to heal and ramp up my training again. I have a half marathon in 11 days so hopefully I can still run that??
Next up are pics of my injury. If you don’t like images of blood, you should stop reading here…
….I’m warning you. They are gross.
Ok here’s a couple that aren’t too bad…
I have more, but that’s all I really need to share.
Have you ever been in a bike accident? How long did you wait before you got up and tried again?