It happens so fast.

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You are riding along, upright, and then BOOM. You’re down.

They said possible thunder storms. The weather forecast has been so unreliable, we ignored it.

I had a premonition on my way over to Anne’s. Something didn’t feel right. I blew it off, thinking it was just paranoia in my head due to the recent Facebook discussion about some dead friends.

Anne, still recovering from a broken collarbone from a crash last summer in a crit we raced in together, is always a tad paranoid on the bike these days. Or maybe I should just say ‘careful’.

We are riding along on the country roads just 15 miles into our planned 50. The sky is dark. I feel a raindrop.

“RAIN, I felt RAIN!”

Why this concerns me, I don’t know. Maybe it’s all the dry weather and sunshine we’ve been having. We reminisce about all the rain we had last spring. SO MUCH RAIN. I tell her about the time I got caught in a torrential downpour on a 70 mile ride, Eastern ave flooding as I made my way back into the city. Nervous chit-chat.

Then we hear rolling thunder. Anne asks if we should turn around. I said no.

“It’ll be clear in a minute.”

We ride on, towards clear skies. The roads in front of us are wet. The rain lets up.

I see a set of railroad tracks in front of me, and I am pedaling. The next second I feel my tires come out from under me and I am down. The first thing I think of is whether my bike fell to the right or the left. Then I see my derailleur facing concrete rubble and I know. I look down at my knee and my knee warmer is torn and I see blood. My hand is hurting too.

Anne looks worried as I scoot my ass to the side of the road. I reach for my bike and try to pedal it. After a quick assessment I can see the hanger is bent. Derailleur seems intact. I call Dominic. He actually answers. We decide what we should do, since I drove his car to Anne’s and he is without a car.

Then a truck pulls over and a nice man asks us what he can do to help.

“I’ll take you where ever you need to go.”

After a brief discussion, he heads home to get his son and a bigger truck and we sit and wait. My knee and hand are throbbing. The sun comes out. The road dries up. We wait for the nice man to come back. Finally he does, and we load the bikes into his truck and I sit on Annie’s lap and he drives us to her house. After many thank-you’s, my bike is loaded back up into Dominic’s car and I drive home.

My hand is throbbing as I try to type this. It will be bruised tomorrow. Thankfully I was wearing my Ergon gloves, which did not rip when I went down.

It could have been worse, so much worse. No broken bones or bike parts this time.

It just happens so fast.

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About Judi

Bicycles are my salvation. They are my way of life. If you don't like it, then you can go straight to hell. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

25 Replies to “It happens so fast.”

  1. I feel you man. I hit a patch of ice about a month ago and the next thing I knew I was eating shit. and thinking I either broke a collarbone or separated a shoulder. Turns out neither, but still swelled like a bitch and hurt like hell. Like you said, it could have been a LOT worse.

  2. Crashing is not a matter of “if”, but “when”. Railroad tracks. Owie. Glad you are mostly in one piece.

  3. I think Rule #9 is more on point here.

    “If you are riding in bad weather, you are badass. Period.”

  4. Jesus!

    I must say, the only time I ever felt like drowning on dry land was on a ride Paris, KY to Athens to Versailles to Georgetown to Paris. He let me have it for two hours from Versailles to Georgetown. Something about the storms around that area. Rained for two hours and could see about 30 feet in front of me.

  5. I fell off my bike a few weeks ago. Up until now I didn’t feel the need to write about it.

  6. Just like the day I rode wothout a helmet, cause it was so pretty outside. And noew Ijick fress turrble. Braane hurtz.Fessle?

  7. I haven’t worn a helmint in dog’s years. I gots a ulock on top of my handlebar bag. That, and any weakassed bitch can step on a gas pedal, but I turn this fucking crank ever God damned day. And I’ve said it before-Someday, Cletus in his F-Shitfifty might think he’s found a victim, and end up being lunch. Inbred pigfucker is off my diet. But if some jagoff in a motor vee-hickule decides to fuck with me when I gots a helment, gloves, Mace and a ulock, I only gots one problem-What to do with the leftovers? Anyhizzle, that’s why I doan’ need no steenkin’ helmint.

    Is pigfucker Kosher? Or Halal, even? BA-CONNNNNNN!

  8. @1dblj: I make a personal exception for actually drawing blood and taking pictures. That’s good journalism. Need I remind the jury of BJ’s ballsack? None of us need to see that again, but it was worthy of documentation.

  9. What a horrible description of what happened. What dug into your leg? Was it the rails that caused you to lose traction?

  10. What you need to do is come in at a right angle to the rails. Perpendicular is good. If you don’t have time to slow down and adjust your line, you’re probably riding too fast. Especially in the rain.

  11. better yet, speed the eff up and jump them…it use to be common practice to have to clear cattle guards around here.

  12. Here in Seattle, just about every cyclist has a wet-railroad-tracks-crash story. The SLUT tracks are infamous. They often come at an angle, and sometimes traffic won’t allow you to take them perpendicular.