I haven’t touched my bike in months. I’m scared to ride it. Here is the untold story of why…
It was three weeks before Ironman Cozumel and Kate, Nick, and I were going on our last ‘long’ ride of 45 miles before our bikes needed to be shipped to the race. We were riding safely in single file down MacArthur Blvd- a popular DC spot for cyclists.
We were desending down a hill - safely- all of us out of our aerobars and with our fingers tapping our brakes. There were cars in front, behind, and in the other lane so this was no time to try and fly down the hill.
We had been following a black Ford F150 for the past several hundred yards. He knew we were behind him. Suddenly, without warning, the F150 came to a COMPLETE STOP. He slammed on his brakes to make a left hand turn. I was the front cyclist and I had four choices: 1. swirve to the right into a ditch 2. swirve to the left into oncoming traffic 3. slam into the back of his truck 4. jump ship…er, bike.
I chose option 4. I tried to stop but as I saw myself getting closer to the truck I made the decision to hit the ground. I went down onto my right hand side and began sliding. I heard Kate scream behind me and then heard her crash.
All of the cars around us stopped. Except for the F150 who clearly saw us all wreck, and he proceeded to make the left hand turn, never to be seen again. I laid there for a second trying to see if any of my bones were broken…they weren’t. Luckily I was wearing long sleeves and pants because the whole right hand side of my body was scraped and the clothes were ripped. I can’t imagine what it would have been like had I not been covered with clothes.
When Kate saw me bail, she also had to bail but she had to go OVER her bike to avoid hitting me. She landed on her face- chipping her front tooth and hitting her chin on the pavement so hard that we all took a trip to the emergency room for her to get stitches.
Nick, who was behind both of us, said it was the scariest thing he had seen. He though both of us broke several bones and that we would be watching Ironman from the sidelines. By some grace of god, neither of us broke anything, but we were both severly bruised- Kate more so than me.
We were both scared to get on our bikes after that. In fact, the next time I rode my bike outside was during the race. In case you didn’t know- Kate and I both finished…bruised bodies and all.
But the memory of that wreck plays over in my mind often. So often that I have a very real fear of riding outside. I love my bike…I love riding it…but I’m scared that the next Ford F150 that comes along, I may not be able to walk away as lucky.
What advice do you have for me on how to get back out there? The weather is nice and my bike is starting to hate me for letting her sit inside all the time.