Monthly Archives: November 2007

Deep breath…

Deep breath.


Sit up.

Knee hurts.

Left shoulder hurts.

No pain on the clavicle. That’s good.

Sit for a little.

Scoot left, off the trail, take off the helmet, gloves, sunglasses.

Move around experimentally. Ouch. Is the kid okay?


I’ve been under the weather for a week or so – skipping the Tuesday and Thursday night rides – and I really wanted to get out on Sunday. I did shopping in the morning, and then headed out for an easy 20 or so. An easy 20 because I came really close to skipping the riding and working on a storage project.

The easiest 20 starting at my house runs down to Marymoor park, up the Sammamish River Trail to Woodinville and back. It was about 50 degrees, so I went with a light underlayer, jersey, vest, and leg warmers. Yeah, and shorts, socks, shoes, and my full-finger gloves, with arm warmers and hat in my pockets.

I took it easy on the way up, because I didn’t know how I’d feel, and because there was a headwind. Oh, and because Sunday afternoon is a high use time, so the trail is not a place to try to make time.

I got to Woodinville, took a break and stretched (my right knee is still not healed), and turned around back. The tailwind (and I have to mention that there really was a tailwind, as I swear that this trail often manages to have headwinds both ways). I’m spinning along at an easy 16-18 when I can.

About 3 miles south of Woodinville, I come up behind a jogger with a cyclist riding next to her. The cyclist is weaving around a bunch, and I’m waiting for an opportunity to pass, when she sees me and pulls ahead of the runner. I start to ease by when the jogger makes a U-turn directly across the trail right in front of me. I move left and hit the brakes and barely miss her. I ask her to PLEASE look before she cuts across the trail, and ride on.

You may wonder at this point why I didn’t say anything to her to tell her I was there before I started to pass…

My experience is that that is usually a waste of breath. If there is somebody who is moving in a predictable manner on the right side of the lane, I’ve found that it’s safer for me to pass at the far left than to say something, as saying something sometimes cause them to move out of their path. “On your left” has been particularly bad in this respect.

If I come on a group or up to riders that look unpredictable, I might say “passing”, but at that point I’m already down to their speed and I really need them to move for me to pass safely.

So, anyway, I have a bit of a jolt of adrenalin, and I keep riding south, on into Redmond. This part is typically more busy, so I drop down to an honest 15 MPH. As I approach the underpass at NE 90th st, I move left a bit (since it’s dark underneath), I see single image of the front triangle of a small bike, and WHAM, I’m on the ground.

“Are you okay?”

The voice is young, and when I turn and look I guess that she’s about 8.  

“I’m not sure yet”

I look up to see another cyclist on his cell phone talking to the Redmond emergency dispatchers. An adult comes to my side, and I ask “is the kid okay?” The woman says that he has a bloody nose but he looks otherwise uninjured, and tells me that the kid’s mom is on her way.  

The EMTs show up about 7 minutes later. I thank the rider who called and the other people who stopped and move father off to the side.

“Do you know where you are?”

I understand the question – he wants to know if I am oriented – but the needlessly precise part of my mind says “Is this redmond, or is this king county here?”. I look both ways down the trail, and settle on “Redmond”, which makes him happy. I tell him my shoulder hurts, and he’s a bit surprised to find out that my collarbone is not broken (I was pleasantly surprised to find that out myself). They do a quick exam of my other body parts – my gloves look unscathed, as does my helmet.

At this point, I’m starting to shiver – partly because the adrenalin is wearing off, and partly because I’m dressed to ride, not to stand around sweaty in the shade. I look over and see the boy – he’s about 11 years old, lots of blood on his face, but he looks okay. His mom approaches me, introduces herself, and offers to take me to where my car is.

She goes to get in her car, the EMTs send me to the jump seat and put my bike in the back doors. They drive out to 90th, drop me off, and the boy’s mother takes me home. She apologizes, tells me that she tells her son to make sure to look, and I tell her that I have a 13 year old and sometimes they need a more intense experience to internalize that sort of advice.

We get back to my house, she gives me her number and I take the bike and hoist it up to the spot on the wall where it lives with my right arm.

That was a mistake….


So, what’s the damage?

Well, physically, I did a number on my shoulder, but I don’t think I broke anything (going to the Dr this morning to be sure). Left knee is swolen but doesn’t hurt too much. Abrasians on both elbows, both sides, and some rather nice brusing on my butt. I think I have a bit of a bruise on the left side of my head, but I’m not sure because I had a migraine after I got home and it’s hard to tell the two apart.

As for the bike…

Well, the fork is rather convincingly disconnected from the frame. The front brakes are misaligned but I don’t know if anything’s bent or broken. A quick look at the rest of the frame didn’t show anything obvious, but I may have missed something. It’s going to go into the Trek dealer for the full test because you don’t mess with damage in carbon fiber frames.

The front wheel seemed undamaged when I looked at it.

That’s my first crash. I’m happy that it was so minor.