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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Still Alive - Part Deux

Somehow, I manage to get lucky. You may remember my previous post about my Honda Fit's windshield getting smashed with a bunch of snow and ice thrown over an overpass by a snowplow. Thankfully, there was no other damage and, more importantly, no one was hurt.

Today was something that was potentially much more dangerous, but ended up about the same. I took up cycling several years ago as a means to maintain myself in shape, see the countryside, and otherwise re-live my youth. Over the last 4 to 5 years I like to think I'm rather serious about it and easily log several hundred miles a year, breaking 1000 on good years. In all those miles, I've never had a flat tire, let alone any mechanical break down that has left me stranded. While I wasn't stranded today, I was hit by a pickup truck.

Actually, I feel more for the guy driving the truck. At least I saw that I was going to get hit and was able to prepare, however quickly. He had no idea I was there.

He was crossing a broken intersection across a busy two-lane road where he intended to take a left onto the road, drive a short distance, and then take a quick right. I was coming down a hill on that busy road, doing about 25 mph.

The scene of the crime.
As he pulled out and straighted up, I came about even with his truck bed. I was positioned such that I could not see his brake lights or turn signals and I'm sure he could not see me. Something told me that he was going to make the turn into me and, though I don't remember doing it, I locked up my brakes. If you look really close, you can see my skid mark below. It extends out of the frame another 10 feet or so. I've never locked the brakes up before, so I must have really known I was in trouble.

That faint black thin line in the center is my skid mark from the 23mm wide tire. If you click on the pic, it's easier to see.
Sure enough, he turned. I dented his passenger's side door with my left shoulder (kick myself that I didn't take a picture) and went down, dragging through the turn.

After we both stopped, I got up rather quickly, assessed that I had suffered no serious damage, and walked to the curb and sat down. The guy was very apologetic and was more shaken up than I. Another gentleman pulled over shortly thereafter and stayed with us during the entire thing.

The extent of damage to my bike. I usually keep my hand right about there. That blue handlebar tape left a nice blue streak on his door about a foot long.
Here is a shot of the results from the bike computer. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite have the granularity to show it that well, but the total time is about 5 seconds. Seems like a lot now, but not then. Time did not slow down for me as some people say it does during accidents. This happened very quickly.
As shown, my speed (the top) is going from about 26mph to 0mph, and my heart rate (the bottom) jumps from about 145 to 165 (hmm, wonder why?!). The power (the middle) jumps because my power "meter" is a CycleOps Power (which I don't think they make anymore) heart rate monitor that uses your changing and absolute heart rate to estimate power output.

My shoulder is pretty sore, but only soft tissue, not the joint. I'm sure it will turn some lovely shades of purple. My left buttock suffered some minor road rash, but my lycra shorts didn't even tear. Oh, and I have a small scrape on my right ankle where I think the pedal got me. So lucky.

I had to re-align the handlebars on the bike, but otherwise there was no damage there. Even the brake levers were fine. Lucky again, though on a different level.

After all was said and done and the police report was made, I was able to ride the bike back home with no complaints, either from the bike or the body. And, no, I didn't tell the wife until I got back. I was about 15 miles from home when it happened and she was at my youngest's baseball game...no reason to worry her. Niether she nor the kids really believed me at first because I couldn't have been hit by a car since I was standing right in front of them. The pictures and the scrapes on my butt convinced them.

Let me just say, when you tuck your kids in tonight, say goodnight to your significant other or just think about the important people in your life, give them an extra hug, tell them you love them again and otherwise just be a bit more appreciative of their presence in your life. Take a look around and appreciate what you have and the world that surrounds you. While my life didn't pass before my eyes, but maybe for a couple of feet or mph, my life my have been changed today in ways that I shudder to think about. Thanks!

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