Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hit By A Car

Hola, amigos. How's it going? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I've been hella busy with work lately. I can't blame work entirely, but I haven't been up to much of anything interesting lately. The few times I have done something, I was too busy at work (my primary writing spot) to write about it. The one thing I have written was a short piece for the newspaper about my Rainier climb that will hopefully be printed in the next month or so. It was hard to condense it into 300 words for the Sunday travel section and still convey some sense of the actual experience. I think my writeup here is a lot better, but hopefully people read it and like it.

Most of what I've been doing the past two months (other than work) has been riding- more on the bicycle than the motorcycles- mixed in with some skating and yard work and other stuff. Now that the heat has broken and the high temperature is only in the 70s and occasionally the low 80s, it's a lot more pleasant to be outside, although an abundance of mosquitoes has made yard work more unpleasant than necessary. A few weeks back I went on a 400-mile motorcycle ride to get some final ABCs pictures. There were a lot of butterflies out. I felt bad smashing so many of them, and I had to clean my windshield a couple of times. Halloween was pretty lame. I went to Uncle Billy's thinking it would be a good place to watch the UT game, and it would be close enough to downtown to have some people in costume (and be far enough away to avoid that chaos). It turned out to be not much of either. Right before the game started, there were exactly two people at the bar. More people came later, but other than a few servers there were only a few people wearing costumes.

Up until the time changed last weekend I had still been riding my bicycle to work twice a week, without incident. Wednesday was the first time I rode in since it started getting dark around 6. In the morning there was no problem. In fact, it was warmer than the same time of day the week before. In the evening I absolutely wanted to get home before it got dark, so I left the office as early as I could manage. Unfortunately I couldn't get away until around 5:30, and the sun was already low enough to cast shadows on the road. I attached my front light (but didn't turn it on, in retrospect I wish I had) and turned on my back blinker. Traffic was pretty heavy, which allowed for my favorite part of bicycle commuting- passing long lines of cars waiting at the lights. It was going fine and still pretty light out, although the sun had probably already set. I was riding along the wide shoulder, moving pretty fast (over 20 mph) coming down a small hill through a flat section, passing cars stopped/moving slowly when I suddenly saw a pickup truck and knew we were about to collide. I don't think I even had a chance to grab the brakes before he hit me. It was quite fortunate he was moving slowly to make a right turn, but our relative masses ensured that I was much worse off than the truck. While going down to the ground, I remember having enough time to think about how I wanted to land. My first instinct was to tuck and roll, but I decided that that would likely result in road rash, so I just stuck my hands out and landed on them. The driver stopped and got out and seemed really sorry and concerned about me. A woman who is a nurse also stopped and wanted to make sure I was alright. Another woman stopped to see if everything was okay and to offer to be a witness. I felt like I might have come through unscathed at first, but I soon started feeling/finding injuries. The first one I noticed was a minor abrasion (it didn't break the skin, I felt it more than saw it) on my left arm from where the truck hit me. A little bit later I noticed that somehow my chain ring had caught the back of my left leg just above the ankle. The only other thing I could tell at that time was that my left knee had hit something and pulled up a little bit of skin. The next day, however the main injuries I felt were a bruise on my ribs and that my left shoulder was hurting. I also had a bruise on "the fleshy part of the thigh" and a bruise just above my right knee. The bike also seemed unscathed at first, that "fortunately" (for it) my body had taken most of the impact, but today I took it to a bike shop and found that the frame is bent somewhere, and the rear axle mounting points aren't quite lined up properly. We all exchanged information and the nurse offered to give me a ride home. I was going to refuse at first, since it was only a mile further to the house, but I thought it was probably a good idea. However, the driver wanted to give me a ride, saying he'd feel better that way. On the way to my house he admitted that it was his fault and that he hadn't really looked when he decided at the last second to make that turn.

I'm not going to let it keep me from riding my bicycle, I'm just not going to be riding to work until the days get longer again, or leave really early if I do ride in. Today I went riding to the Alamo (stopping at the bike shop along the way) to see Ong Bak 2, and then stopping in at a new bar to watch college football. I left at halftime in order to get home well before dark.