Monday, May 24, 2010

The Agony of Defeat

There used to be a show on ABC (on the weekends, I think) when I was a kid called The Wide World of Sports. The opening footage rolled though 'the thrill of victory' - with an athlete winning something big, and then switched to this ski jumper wiping out horrifically and the voiceover moving to 'the agony of defeat'. Every week I (and countless others) watched as that poor guy's (who's name is Vinko Bogataj) worst moment, probably ever, was replayed over and over and over again.

I've found the video on You Tube, in case you're interested, it's below.

Last Sunday, I got to experience my very own 'agony of defeat' moment.

28 miles in to a 35 mile bike ride, I wiped out going around a downhill curve at about 30 mph. There was no video, unfortunately. I did have a witness, however; the IT Guy from work that I was riding with. He advises that I flipped over a few times landing on my head and right side, and eventually coming to rest on my back.

Quite impressive, apparently.

Before I went down, when I knew I was going to eat it; I managed to get myself over to the grass on the side of the road and as such, avoided any sort of road rash or nasty cuts. I did manage to acquire a black(-ish) eye and nose as well as assorted bumps and bruises on my person and a (I think) dislocated shoulder (when I was being examined in the ER - I should sue that ER doc! But he WAS very cute). I cracked my helmet and broke my sunglasses (heartbreak!).

The bike is OK - it's currently at my LBS* getting checked out, but upon a cursory inspection by one of their guys, seems to be fine. I chalk this up to my having had a number of nasty crashes before, and learning the hard way how to fall off of a bike (let go of the bike, do not put your hands or arms out to brace yourself, and go limp). But, because I was primarily a mountain biker, I never fell at that speed. Let me tell you something - it HURTS, a LOT. I don't know how the Tour de France riders get back up and keep riding after those pile-ups they get into - dude, they're going 60 miles and hour and they rack out onto asphalt. THE HORROR.

Back to me. I'm doing pretty good. My face is healing and the bruises are fading. I'm still a little sore, but nothing I can't handle. My only ongoing problem is my right arm. I've got an appt. with my Dr. this afternoon to see if I need an MRI on it or what. Keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't need anything major. Do me a favor and keep yours crossed for me too.

A couple of photos for your viewing pleasure:

The IT Guy and I at the start of the ride.

And me, right after the crash, once he'd made sure I wasn't in any imminent danger and had called for a SAG wagon to come pick up my sorry ass.

Note where my bike landed in relation to where I eventually came to rest - letting go of the bike when you're going down is so important. You do not want to fall onto your bike, if you can at all help it. They are hard and sharp and pointy. These attributes do not mix well with fleshy people bits.

Also - helmet, helmet, HELMET. This I can not stress enough. It doesn't matter if you are just going for a spin around the block or on a full blown century ride. I don't care how dorky you think they are or how they make you look. You will look a whole lot more dorky in the coffin after the mortician has done his best at putting your head back together, if he even can. This is the second time that a bike helmet has saved my noggin in a crash. My helmet cracked the entire way through this time - and I landed on GRASS, not the road. You do not want to experience your skull slamming, unprotected, onto any surface, trust me. You know what a watermelon does when it's thrown on the ground? That's exactly what a human head will do.

Not a pretty picture, huh?

I was very, very lucky - this could have been a lot worse.

So there you have it. I'm just bummed that I don't have the video - if I did, I would submit it to one of these weekend sports-type shows to use for their 'agony of defeat' segment.

And then I could be famous.

*LBS - Local Bike Shop. Do these guys a solid and throw them your bike business. You will have a much better experience with them than at the big-box bike stores.

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