28 October 2007

Bikes, Bruises, and Egos

This actually happened a few months ago, but as I was reading through my journal I thought it would make a perfect post. So without further ado...

I was riding my bike yesterday. I’ve wanted to do more than just “get into shape.” I want exercise to be something that just happens with me. I don’t want to schedule it; I want my life to be full of it. I want to ride my bike instead of drive. I want to only take the stairs. When I’m tired I want to do a rejuvenating yoga pose instead of nap. I want to go on hiking adventures and biking tours and walk the Irish burren. But I digress…

So, I was riding my bike yesterday. I was alone, everyone was still in bed (Don’t get the wrong idea though. It was 8 am, not exactly the break of dawn.) and a very unfortunate thing happened: I crashed. My kids crash all the time, skinning a knee or scuffing up their hands a bit. No big deal. But I fell and had ten separate points of injury! Ten! One, zero! And to make matters worse, I was practically at a stand still. How can you fall and hurt ten places on your body at zero mph?! Leave it to me. I have a special knack of finding the most complete ways for things to go wrong. Back to the story:

I was checking out a bike path that I had never been on. I haven’t ridden my bike in a while (read: out of shape) so I decided I wouldn’t go all the way to the end which was still a few more miles. The path follows a river and is really quite beautiful. I had spotted a water treatment facility ahead and decided that I would turn when I reached it. As I approached my turning point, I slowed way down and prepared to make the u-turn to the left.

Problem #1: I had chosen a spot that was bordered on one side by a chain-link fence and the other by a cement out-building. Why I didn’t pedal past that point and execute my about-face with grass shoulders I’ll never know, and forever rue. Anyway, I had come almost to a stand still and began the turn. Now as anyone knows, the slower you go on a bike, the less stable it is. That coupled with the tight space that I had chosen was a disastrous combination. As my stability neared zero, I attempted to put my left foot down as a stabilizer.

Problem #2: My new bike has toe straps on the pedals. A feature I had been a little uncomfortable about already, but hadn’t taken the time to remove yet. As I automatically moved my foot down, I immediately recognized the foreign toe straps prohibiting this action. I only had a one-second window to react. Now, if I was in the Unit or partners with Jack Bauer I would have two choices. Calmly raise my left foot a smidge, pull it back out of the straps thereby allowing free movement of said foot OR quickly and adeptly take my knife from my pocket (because, of course, I would be carrying one), and with one swift motion open the knife while swinging my arm down to cut the straps from my pedal, closing the knife and returning it to my pocket, while simultaneously releasing my foot from its imprisonment and allowing it to stabilize me and my bike while we negotiate the perilous turn.

Unfortunately I am not a highly trained Special Forces member, nor am I the sole salvation of the United States of America on six separate 24-hour occasions. I had available to me only one option: keep struggling. Even though I knew that the only way to succeed was if my leg muscles were strong enough to break the straps (which they aren’t), I strained for that eternal second, ultimately pulling the bike, and myself with it, ever faster toward asphalt doom. As we fell (the bike and I) the only injury I specifically remember experiencing was when my left shoulder hit the ground, it threw my head to the left and the asphalt jumped up and bashed my left temple. (I had been lazy and hadn’t run back in the house to get my helmet before I left. Tsk! Tsk!)

I stayed on the ground for a moment or two then pulled myself up. Of course the most important thing to do now was assess the damages. Did anyone see me? I looked up and down the trail. Whew! No one. My body was bruised, but my ego was intact. Now, check the body. My hands began to scream. I looked but there were only four tiny little scrapes. How can the tiniest little hurts cause such searing pain? My elbow was scraped up pretty bad and beginning to bleed in two areas bigger than Band-Aids could cover. My left hip felt bruised and my right knee had two perfect circles imprinted on the inside. I’m thinking that they hit that toothy-thing the chain goes around. It has circles cut out of it that match my injuries perfectly. I didn’t know it yet, but my left ankle got scraped up too. (I found that one in the shower, yeeeowww!)

Of course I was at my farthest point from home, but how else was I going to get back? So I got back on the horse and began to ride, even sticking my feet in those now-sinister toe loops. The ride home was fortunately uneventful, save the difficulty in holding the handlebars with two painful palms.

I put my bike in the garage and limped into the house. I was greeted by two of my four offspring. Immediately they recognized my need and summoned Daddy. And even though it was painful, it is nice to be the patient sometimes and not always the nurse.

So today, I feel a little sore all over, but I think I’m already on the mend. Don’t worry, though, the lesson is learned. Never go for a bike ride to distant parts without formal training in military tactics and a helmet. If you still insist, at least cut the dang toe straps off first!


MamaP said...

I heard this story at Mel's and I loved hearing it again. I love your blog and I'm so excited that you're on here, because then I can keep up with you.

Ellyn Canfield said...

Trisha! I had no idea you had a blog! I am quite excited.
Thank you for being the ONLY person to express anything other than dismay at my goggleglasses (which I have tried my best to not let anyone convince me are safety glasses).

I hope you and you adorable kids are well! you are one hot mama!