Thursday, May 28, 2015


Yesterday was a beautiful day, at least weather-wise. Sun, low 70's, slight wind. I hadn't ridden my bike since last Friday, so I was eager to not only get out for a ride, but to get in a long ride. I started riding at about 10:30am, with the plan to ride for roughly 3 hours (a bit over 50 miles, most likely). I parked my truck in a local church parking lot and hit the roads heading east toward Liberty Lake. I made a loop around the town and met another solo cyclist at a stoplight as I was about 8 miles into my ride. We rode together on both the roads and the Centennial Trail for another 15 miles or so, where we went our own way (with the agreement to ride again in the near future, since our schedules are similar).

From the Argonne trailhead in Spokane (where we parted company), I made my way back to toward Post Falls, ID. There, I turned around and rode the trail back to Harvard Rd, where I had to get back onto the road as I headed south toward Liberty Lake again and, ultimately, west, to my truck. I came up to a roundabout, which was surprisingly crowded. I had to stop behind a couple of cars to wait for my turn. I was 49.7 miles into my ride at this point, with probably 6 miles to go. I was feeling good, but as soon as I stopped and unclipped my left shoe to put it down, my left calf began cramping. Once I pushed off to start riding again, the cramp hit full-force, making it very hard to clip in. My foot slipped forward and into the spokes of my front wheel. I was still in the roundabout and going fast enough at this point that the momentum caused me to flip completely over with my bike and land, hard, on both of my knees, my left wrist and my head. Dazed (and embarrassed), I got up quickly and grabbed my bike (and my ejected water bottles). An older couple stopped in their car. The man asked if I was okay. The woman said, "you should ride on the trail!" Thanks, m'am. I didn't tell her that I had just ridden 40+ miles on the trail and was on my way home. I did tell her that bikes are legal on the road, and tried to explain that my calf had cramped up. I decided to not get into an extended conversation and continued pushing my bike to the side of the road. I noticed that my front wheel wouldn't turn, so I rolled it on the back wheel.

Once on the curb, I started taking stock of my body.

Hematoma time!

You mean, one leg isn't supposed to have two knees?
A bump — a very large bump — started appearing above my right knee. It became difficult to bend the knee. As I lowered myself to the curb, I felt a very sharp pain in my left wrist. Once the adrenaline had worn off and I realized that I was pretty hurt, I decided I'd better call my wife to come get me. Once she arrived, we concluded that I should head to the clinic to get me checked out. Three hours and two X-rays later, it was determined that I hadn't broken any bones. I was given a wrist brace, a knee wrap and a crutch (plus a very small prescription for pain meds), with the instructions to ice the knee and wrist every few hours and to keep my right leg elevated.

"I'm a very good cyclist!"

Nearly a day later, the swelling has gone down significantly on my right knee and, although it's still sore, I can walk on it without the crutch. My left wrist, however, hurts quite a bit. I'm not 100% convinced that there's not a hairline fracture in there. I'll give it a few more days before getting it looked at it again, if it's still painful.

Kids, this is why we wear helmets

As for my bike, I definitely bent a spoke in the front wheel. Other than that, it might be okay. I'll take it to the shop next week to confirm.

I'm thankful, because it could have been much worse. No cars ran over me, and no broken bones (as far as I know). I lived to ride another day. This was my first real bike wreck, so I suppose I was due.

My fitness is improving and I'm starting to feel good on the bike, so I'm anxious to get back out there! It'll probably at least a week before that happens.

I wish I had a video of my self-imposed crash. I imagine I looked like an idiot! To the passerby, I was a cyclist who suddenly flipped over, like I had hit an invisible trip wire. Classic.

If I'm in that situation again, I'll definitely dismount my bike, walk to the side of the road, stretch and let the cramp go away before riding again (and bring a mustard packet with me). Lesson (hopefully) learned.

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