Friday, August 11, 2006

Bike Hell

All year long I have been looking forward to hell. Actually, I eagerly anticipate being able to say that I have been to hell and back. Every year in August, the city of Wichita Falls, Texas hosts the “Hotter than Hell” Bike Rally. This year I planned to go and do at least 50 miles in the sweltering 100 degree plus weather. My early registration is already processed. I have been riding as often as I can.

However, as I lay in the middle of the road at 5:50 a.m. in the darkness, I wondered if I might miss the ride this year. I had my own little experience of the Samaritan road. I was sitting on the concrete wondering how badly I was hurt.

Here is what happened. I got up at my normal time of 5:30 a.m. and was about 5 miles into my ride. It was still very dark on the streets of Corinth, Texas. Traveling about 23 mph down a small hill, I took a drink from my water bottle. This bottle is one of several I keep frozen in the freezer. When I replaced it in the rack it dropped to the ground. There was no time to react to this ice hazard. I hit the frozen bottle square with my back tire and flipped over the handle bars. My fall was “cushioned” with my right hand, head and left side.

So, there I sat. But I was not alone. Cars drove by slowly. People walked by quickly. Only one woman said anything and it was pretty worthless “Good morning.” Not really I thought to myself. One man even crossed to the other side of the road, passed me by and then crossed back over to my side. Where was the Good Samaritan? I wondered if people really thought I was some early rising thief setting a trap to rob them of their tennis shoes. Oh, well. I took the long way home and as always my wife was my super-Samaritan.

I have received lots of jokes about “falling off my bike. Lines like “do you need some training wheels” have oozed with sympathy. None have topped what the nurse asked before my x-ray, “Were you on a stationary bike?” How old and stupid do I look?

The x-ray indicated that I broke the ulma stylus bone in my wrist. The doctor gave me the option of the normal cast or the “you better not do anything” splint. I took the splint. It could have been much, much worse. I was lucky to be wearing a helmet and to have fallen fairly safely.

My plans are to be at the ride in Wichita Falls. My bike is almost fully repaired and I am ready to take it back out for a real ride. Monday I was back on a stationary bike. I probably should start wearing my helmet inside too, just in case.

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