Fresh (or maybe not-so-fresh) off an intense tri camp weekend, I headed down to Wrightsville Beach for a quick bike ride on a sunny day. I had learned in tri camp to be master of my machine. I was feeling fit and hard core and ready to get outside! My workout was simply to get out there, do a couple of build repeats to the north end and wrap things up in less than an hour. It's a ride I do all the time in the middle of the day on Wrightsville Beach. Of course, I hadn't been out on my bike much and especially not in 20mph gusts.

I parked at the Seaside Club and headed south to warm up. Then turned into the wind for the five mile trip to Shell Island. I was feeling pretty good when WAM! Three miles into my ride I fell! As I approached an intersection, the light turned yellow and I saw a car approaching from my left.  I wasn't in danger, but just to be safe, I decided to hit the brakes. Well, I hit pressed a little too hard, hit a pot-hole and was hit by a gust of wind all at the same time. I was NOT the master of my machine.

 The scene of the crash near Johnny Mercer's pier. Look! The light's even yellow.

The scene of the crash near Johnny Mercer's pier. Look! The light's even yellow.

I fell hard on my right side.  I stayed there in the middle of the lane for a few moments doing a mental check. My hand hurt and was bleeding. My knee hurt and was bleeding. My hip hurt but was fine. I had heard the DOINKDOINK of my helmet hitting asphalt, but my head felt fine.  I wasn't seeing spots or bluebirds flying around my noggin.

I sat up, unclipped my shoes from the pedal and lifted Lucinda off the pavement. Someone later asked if my bike was okay and I said of course, it fell on the old lady in the middle of the road! I did another quick assessment as I sat there and noticed blue lights in the distance. A WB policeman happened to be a few blocks away from the scene and stopped to help. I moved over to the sidewalk and I did a once-over. My knuckles were now bleeding and I could see a bruise on my left quad.  The officer asked my name and the day of the week (concussion protocol) and I assured him I was fine.

 North End of Wrightsville

North End of Wrightsville

I think I'm gonna keep riding, I told him. And I did! I did two repeats to the north end and headed back to my truck. I felt pretty good and even found a dime on the way south.

As soon as I got back to my car and got off my bike in the Seaside Club parking lot, I burst into tears. THAT HURT AND I'M SCARED, I said out loud to no one. I cried all the way home. I knew I was okay, but all the emotions (frustration, sadness, embarrassment, hurt) that had been bottled up for 12 miles came pouring out.

I was stiff and sore for the next few days. My hip had a purplish bruise the size of a cantaloupe on it for several weeks. The muscle in my right thumb hurt for about a week. The biggest surprise was that I had whiplash for four days after the crash. That DOINK I heard was my head bouncing on the pavement.

I did learn a couple of things from the crash so here are a few tips from me and a link to some tips from Chris Carmichael:

CHECK YOUR HELMET: I did not realize that most accidents are one-and-done for helmets. Even slow speed tip-overs like mine. Dirty Spice reminded me to check my helmet and when I did, I was shocked. It was super scraped up and there was a crack on the inside about an inch long and all the way through the foam. Had I known that, I would not have kept riding.

STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE: There's a fine line between staying on the move and stopping the ride. I think that keeping my body moving helped with the pain initially. I was able to shake it off and mentally toughing it out was what I needed. BUT, because my helmet was damaged and because I was alone, I should have turned around and packed it up for the day. You're not going to gain any fitness if you're bruised and battered. Take it easy back to your car and call it a day.

HERE are a few more tips on how to handle a bike crash.

OFF THE GROUND - by the RECORD COMPANY

I gotta get myself up off the side of the road

I've gotta pick myself up off the ground (x2)
Let the truth be told (repeat)
I gotta get myself up

The tears that I'm hiding
No they ain't for cryin (x2)

I'm never gonna let em start spilling out
Cause they pour down my body and they flood the ground
The tears that I'm hiding
No they ain't for crying

Off the side of the road
Quit lying to myself
And let the truth be told
My head is heavy and my heart is empty
But my spirit is strong and my legs are ready
 

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