Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bike Crash

Yesterday, I wanted to go for a bike ride, because we'd been eating lots over the long weekend and I wanted to get some exercise in. JF offered to come with me, and off we went for a slow fun ride. We turned around after about 9km, and 0.5K into our ride back home, we saw a turtle on the bike path. JF decided to stop to move it away from the bike path. I was following too close and was in a gaining speed phase, and I hit JF at 20km/h+. All I remember is seeing my front wheel hit his back wheel and then my face was hitting the pavement.

As it turns out, I tried to break and hit JF's back wheel, went over my handlebars, fell on my left shoulder then on my face. I couldn't breathe at first, and all I could think was that I had to move to the side of the bike path or else, another cyclist would hit me and it would hurt a lot. I couldn't move, because every movement was painful. I managed to move to the side of the bike path but I still couldn't breathe much. Then, I started losing vision from the left eye and I started saying "I'm gonna pass out, I'm gonna pass out". A woman had stopped and she told JF to pour cold water on my back. It helped - I didn't pass out.

I sat on the groud for a few minutes, trying to assess the situation. At that point, I knew I would have a bad road rash on my shoulder and I was concerned about broken ribs and/or broken jaw bone. My face was pounding and every breath was painful. I couldn't take a deep breath without having excruciating pain.

Eventually, I got up. I looked at my bike - the front wheel will need to be fixed, the handlebar was twisted and the seat has a inch-long tear in it. I tried to get on my bike, because we were 8.5K from home, but it was way too painful. We decided that JF would bike home to get the car, and I would bike to the nearest intersection with a street and wait for him there. I started walking on the grass beside the bike path. As luck would have it, there was a snake a few cm from my feet. I was too shocked to react, but it scared me and I decided to walk on the bike path...

Some people are very nice: people were stopping to ask if I needed any help. Two people offered to drive me home, someone offered to go to her house until JF could pick me up (JF was already gone and I had no mean of reaching him, so I said no). I noticed that the people who showed concern were either cyclists riding expensive bikes or mothers/moms-to be. I know I would have offered my help to someone else if I had come across this situation, but still, I was touched that so many people offered to help.

Walking was fine. Some sort of miracle happened where I didn't hurt my legs or hips, only my upper body and face. I walked to the nearest interesection and waited for JF. I'm not sure how long I waited, probably 30 minutes. At first, I was fine. Just assessing the road rash and the pain in my ribs. Discovering that if I hadn't worn my brand new cycling gloves, I would have a bad road rash on my left hand as well. Paying attention to the headache, that came and left every 5 minutes.

Then, what happened hit me and I started to want to cry all the tears I had in me. I couldn't cry, though, for 2 reasons: the main one was that it would make me dry-heave, which was the last thing I needed while I waited for JF; the second reason was that it would hurt my ribs and make my breathing even more difficult if I was crying. So.. I kept the crying at bay and told myself I could cry when JF picked me up or when I was home.

Because of the pain in my ribs, I didn't sleep very well last night. This morning, I feel like I've been hit by a truck, but my breathing is back to normal. My left breast is hurting a lot and so does my road rash on my shoulder... but I'm fine. I'm just a bit shocked.

Lessons learned:
- Don't follow too close; don't break too suddenly
- When JF sees any sort of animal, he stops - remember that!
- I must get a road ID made and carry it all the time - it was freaking me out that if this happened to me while I was alone, no one would know who I am
- When possible, carry a cell phone and a long sleeve shirt
- Put some travel wipes and bandages in my saddle bag

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Riverkeeper - A great performance on the bike!

This morning, Team "Two Sweet Chicks and One Crabby Broad" completed the Sprint Tri Relay at the Riverkeeper Triathlon. This team name really made me laugh from the first time I read it (it was Jo-Jo's idea, so Kiza and I assumed that the crabby broad was her, but apparently, it wasn't her intention to call herself the crabby one! :p ). I laughed a lot when I went to pick up our race kit: the volunteer asked for our team name and remembered reading it. I reassured him that I wasn't the crabby one and he thanked our team for sending one of the sweet ones to race kit pick up.

When Jo-Jo first talked about putting together a relay team, I was so excited about it and even more when her and Kiza accepted me on their team. I've never been one people accepted in their sports' teams, and it made me feel very good that I would be part of a team. Still, I was a bit nervous about this relay, because my teammates, Kiza and Jo-Jo, are very strong in their discipline. I came into this triathlon with the intention of giving everything I had in me, to suck it up and be strong the whole time. The last thing I wanted was to come out of this race feeling as if I could have done better. To me, being part of a team is a very important responsibility and although I wanted to have fun while with my teammates, I wanted to work very hard when I was on my own, on my bike.

So, the Crabby One and myself watched 5-months pregnant Sweet Chick # 1 try to get into her wet suit. Poor Kiza got a bigger workout from twisting herself to fit into her wetsuit than she did swimming 500m. Being the other sweet one, I was encouraging to Kiza while the crabby one was laughing out loud! ;-) Kiza and baby on board got ready for the swim start. Jo-Jo and I watched the swim start and then headed to T-Zone. Kiza being a fast swimmer, I had to be ready when she would come in. And I was! With a "see ya" to the girls, I ran as fast as I could run while holding a bike. There was a bit of a crowd at the mounting line (which was too narrow, if you ask me) and I got stuck for a few long seconds behind a girl who couldn't get her shoe to clip.

I started very fast, I wouldn't go under 30km/h for the first few kilometers. My quads were on fire but it was great! And then the course was not as flat and the wind was in my face and I slowed down a little. Still, I was riding much faster than I thought I would and I started to worry that I would get to T-Zone and Jo-Jo wouldn't be there yet! I was making all sorts of calculations, and not knowing where the turnaround point would be for the second loop, I didn't know I would end up riding 21.5 km. I don't think the fear of getting there before Jo-Jo slowed me down, but maybe it did subconsciously.

I made a rival out on the course. About halfway into it, a guy passed me and told me he'd been trying to catch and pass me for quite a while. I told him I would pass him again on the second loop! And I did... But then, he passed me again at about 17K because I had slowed down because of the stupid wind. I couldn't catch him again, but I kept him in sight. It was hard for me to believe that I had a male rival, riding a Cervelo bike! Not an unfit person with an hybrid bike, but someone who looked fit who saw me as competition. I guess I was stronger than he was on flat ground and downhill, but he was stronger than I was uphill, with the wind in our face.

When I got off the bike, I almost tripped over because my legs were heavier than they've ever been after getting off the bike. My quads were on fire and my lower back was hurting like hell, but I rode 21.5K in a little over 50 minutes! I was elated!

The best part was running with Sweet Chick # 1 and the Crabby Broad across the finish line, and finding out we placed third for Female Relay teams. My first placing! Woohoo!

After the race, we were talking about doing this again and Jo-Jo talked me into joining her for a relay team for K-Town next year. I accepted and then asked how long was the bike and if it was hilly: 56K of rolling hills! Yikes! Oh well, I like challenges and I have one year to train. Jo-Jo is a bad influence on me: first, she talks me into doing my first Half in Vancouver in May 2009 and then, she signs me up for a 56K hilly bike ride!

Saturday was a great day! My confidence is back!