The weather was ominous from the start.
The forecast had predicted some rain on Monday afternoon for a while, but a little bit of rain when cycling in warm weather is hardly the worst thing in the world, so I planned to ride home from work on Monday anyway. As I left, I was greeted with a stiff wind and overcast, threatening skies. The rain started not long after I reached the Jordan River Parkway Trail. It wasn’t raining hard, but it did rain steadily for about twenty minutes or so, and the path was wet.
I came up to a turn in the trail. It wasn’t a particularly sharp turn, but it was going downhill and the asphalt had been sealed recently which made it quite smooth. As I made the turn, I felt my back wheel lose traction and skid out from under me.
I knew I was going down, and time suddenly slowed down. As I fell, I remember thinking, “Wow, it’s a good thing I’m wearing a helmet… I could have gotten a serious head injury otherwise!” I literally always wear my helmet on my bike, so I’m not sure why this was what came to my mind.
And then I hit the ground. I went flying across the path. My bike went flying in a pile of mud. Just as I skidded to a standstill, I heard my Garmin beep as it paused automatically because the bike was no longer moving. Oh good. I would have forgotten to do that on my own. The moment that thought crossed my mind, I thought it was absolutely hilarious. Of course that was the first thing I thought of.
But then, I started checking myself for any serious injuries. I stood up and seemed to be in one piece. My head felt fine, but my elbow and hip hurt. I checked my elbow and saw a few bloody abrasions, but they were small and not all that serious. My hip hurt more than my elbow did. I know that sometimes the shock of a crash can dull the pain of an injury so I had no idea what to expect. I could see that my cycling shorts were scuffed up, and I was worried about what I’d see underneath the shorts. I braced myself and pulled up my shorts.
Relief. There was no road rash. I hadn’t even broken the skin.
I knew I was in pretty good shape, but the crash had shaken me up. I felt sick to my stomach, and my mind was still racing. So I walked my bike a few dozen yards until I was under a bridge and out of the rain and then sat down and called Rob. I wasn’t sure if I should get him to come pick me up or not, but I wanted to talk to someone. That usually helps me calm down*. He didn’t pick up, so I sent him a text telling him I was fine but had crashed and I’d call him again if I needed him and dialed my dad. We chatted for a couple minutes and I realized that it made more sense for me to ride home. I had no major injuries, and since it was about rush hour time, it would have taken Rob a long time to reach me and a long time to get back.
So I (rather cautiously) got back on my bike and continued my ride. I was much more careful to slow down for any turns, and I didn’t ride aggressively. Because of the abrasions on my elbow, I didn’t even risk trying aero position until I was almost back. My elbow hurt a bit when it started raining, but it was otherwise fine. My hip ached when I pedaled, and it hurt whenever I hit a bump in the path, but it was manageable.
About an hour and twenty minutes later, I got to Rob’s house. I took some Advil, washed out my elbow wounds, and then spent the evening on the couch while he made me dinner and brought me ice cream.
Maybe I’ll have to try this “crashing” thing more often…
*I was acting calm, but I could tell that I was in a bit of shock and still not quite thinking clearly, and I didn’t want to make any decisions until I was a little more in control.