Things were going great. I was feeling better than ever, putting in lots of miles and having fun – I had a good thing going. Then, bam! I’ve got another broken rib. For once, I don’t have anybody to blame but myself – it was a stupid crash in a brief moment of lapsed concentration.
It happened last Friday – the day after the “shooting” (still no word on a “suspect“). I couldn’t commute that day and brought my bike to ride over lunch instead. I had just started out going east on Conway when a FedEx truck passed by really close – scared the crap out of me. Jerk! I was a little too startled to think about getting his truck number until it was already too far away to see clearly, so I figured he got away with it. Then I saw him turn into a Church Parking lot up the road – yeah, got him! I pulled in behind him the driveway and saw him cutting through to Outer 40 to access a neighboring corporate building, so I followed around behind the building and rolled up to where he was parked – and waited.
I know this approach can automatically make people defensive, so I try to be courteous and give them a chance to be cool about it before taking a firmer track. They usually aren’t (cool about it), but I at least give them the chance. The driver came out of the truck with his package, and I greeted him and explained that he had passed me way too close for safety. You know what? He was cool about it! He apologized, said he didn’t realize how close he came, all that stuff – totally disarmed me. I thanked him for listening, and he even called me “buddy” and patted me on the shoulder as we parted ways. Cool – it rarely turns out this way, but when it does it makes me even surer that positive engagement has far more benefit over the long run than angry shouts and gestures.
I backtracked through the church parking lot and was feeling rather high. The parking lot was one of those asphalt with the liquid sealant that gives it a super smooth surface. Right when I got down to the bottom of the driveway and was turning back onto Conway Road I saw a patch of moisture, and before I could shift my weight or do anything my front wheel just flipped right out from underneath me. The bike skidded across the road while I bammed down hard on my right side. The only thing I remember hitting at the time was the edge of my helmet and my glasses – I think I was actually thinking in the instant, “Oh man, I hope this doesn’t f–k up my Oakleys!” It was a hard hit, and I layed there in the street for a few moments too stunned to get up. I didn’t want to lay there too long – right in the middle of the street and all, but I really was too stunned to get up right away. Eventually I started to pick myself up – checking myself out as I did. Damn, a hole in the knee of my Raphas! As I got up, I felt the twinge, and I knew exactly what it was – it was the same rib in the exact same spot as last time, only this time it was on my right side instead of my left. But it wasn’t quite so bad this time – I wasn’t having any the same trouble breathing as I did last time (due to the punctured lung).
As I gathered myself and got back onto the bike, I thought maybe it wasn’t so bad, and I actually continued on with my ride, albeit a little more slowly. As the ride went on, however, my rib started bothering me more and more, and I knew I probably sucked! I finished the ride and called the doctor, explained what happened, got a scrip for Vicodin, and picked it up within a couple hours. As the evening wore on, even with the meds, I knew the rib was busted and that I was in for a few weeks of really sucking, of having to sleep in my chair, of dreading any cough or sneeze, of being off the bike and losing all this good fitness that I was enjoying. The first few days were pretty bad, and I had to move rather gingerly. It was a good weekend to be confined to my chair – NFL divisional playoff, 4 games to watch, and all four of them went my way (not easy, considering it relied on three upsets). It’s been a week now, and today was the first day that I actually felt halfway okay, although by the end of the day I needed to hit the Vicodin again. I’m probably at least another week or so away from thinking about getting back on the bike – two weeks off the bike means it’ll be at least 4 weeks after that before I catch my groove again.
My wife is starting to urge me to take up another hobby – she feels that skydiving or mountain climbing will probably be safer for me!
Oh, and the bike is fine, nary a scratch – a man’s gotta have his priorities!