A Ride to Remember

October 2, 2013 was a beautiful day for a ride.

I arrived home from school planning to head to the Y and lift weights, as that’s what I did on Wednesday afternoons.

But it was sunny and 68 degrees.

There really was nothing appealing about hanging out in the weight room at the Y with a bunch of smelly, grunting men, proclaiming their manhood by noisily dropping their weights to the ground after every lift.

So I texted my husband, sharing my thoughts. The husband, being the agreeing soul he is, quickly agreed. I went upstairs and changed into my bike shorts and a t-shirt.

The husband arrived home shortly after, and we discussed our bike of choice for the ride.

Tandem?

Tempting…my muscles were a bit achy from the marathon I had run a few weeks before. The tandem would provide a great opportunity for not pedaling.

Cross bikes?

Nah…my gears weren’t working smoothly.

Road bikes?

Yeah.

Road bikes. It was definitely a road bike type of night.

Now, if you are unfamiliar with a road bike, let me share a couple of things with you. One, road bikes have skinny tires. Very skinny. You go fast on skinny tires. Something to do with the lack of friction I believe. Two, your feet clip into your pedals. Meaning you and your bike are like one, allowing for better pedaling efficiency. For the sake of this story, that’s really all the background information you need to know.

The husband pumped the tires while I supervised.

He does a great job pumping tires.

A gift really.

And a task I have no interest in learning.

Before long, we were ready to go.

We headed into the country.

Now here is a little more foreshadowing for you. (In case you missed it, the description of a road bike was foreshadowing as well. Go back and reread if you must.) Our regular route was interrupted by the bright orange cones that frequently adorn Wisconsin roadways. So, we detoured, and headed south on an unfamiliar road.

We passed by many picturesque farms, embracing the beautiful fall foliage.

We discussed our days. Mine was by far more challenging. Because I’m a teacher. And my husband is not.

We approached a “T” in the road.

My husband asked, “Which way?”

I immediately thought of my good friend Robert Frost. I’m pretty good at making connections. The thought instantly occupying the space in my brain typically reserved for cautious actions. (Like slowing down when approaching a corner, for instance.)

“Left!”

I quickly glanced for cars and entered the intersection, leaning hard to the left as I rounded the corner.

Suddenly, I found myself veering off onto the soft, gravel shoulder of the road. At this point, my husband was ahead of me.

Now, had I taken my time, slowed down, and attempted to ease back on the road at a right angle like everyone is taught in driver’s ed, I probably would have navigated my way back onto the road safely.

But, that’s not what happened.

Instead, I panicked.

Remember the skinny tires on my bike? The front one pivoted to the right as I tried forcing my bike back onto the road.

And the toe clips? Those toe clips prevented me from removing my feet and regaining my balance.

I screamed. (And I know I screamed, because my husband told me later that I did. That’s the reason he looked back. Just in time to witness my awkward descent to the ground.)

Time didn’t stop, but it definitely slowed. I flipped head over heels, my right elbow hitting the road first, breaking my fall, and then I braced myself for the impact of my head on the road.

Much to my surprise, my helmet actually did its thing, and softened the blow. It hit and then bounced up and down a few times.

I remember being somewhat amused.

And relieved.

My bike landed on top of me.

I probably should have given my husband a sign that I was still alive.

But I didn’t.

I just lay there on the ground, taking inventory of my body parts.

Nothing was missing,

Thank God.

By this time, my husband was crouched next to me, and I became aware of a barking dog, and was concerned somebody might have witnessed the crash.

I disengaged my feet, while my husband removed the bike from on top of me. I stood and took note of the condition of my bike.

The handlebars were crooked and there were some serious scuffs in the frame.

Very disappointing.

My husband, however, was more concerned about my body.

It was then that I discovered blood running down my arms and legs. I probably should have stayed focused on my bike, as I don’t do very well with blood.

Especially when it’s my own.

“I think we should go home,” I said, stating the obvious.

He cranked my handlebars back into position, and asked if I could bike home. Getting back on my bike, I assured him I was.

Not quite the truth, but the only other option was to wait for him to bike home and get the car.

And I didn’t feel like waiting.

What I did feel was nauseous.

And when I discovered I couldn’t bend or put any pressure on my right arm, I got a little shaky.

I don’t remember much about the ride home, other than there were round holes the size of a small dinner plate all along the bike lane, and I was worried my front tire would hit a hole and I’d get reintroduced to the road. Other than that, I don’t remember a thing.

My husband, who was riding behind me, watched my arm swell all the way home. He was pretty impressed that we covered the 5 miles at an average pace of 18 mph.

I’m not much of a going to the doctor type of person, but I was pretty sure something wasn’t right with my arm, so I willingly allowed myself to be taken to the walk in clinic.

One hour and two x-rays later, we had the verdict.

My first broken bone.

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