Friday, August 22, 2008

The first day...

I'd ridden out the Cherry Creek path and around the Cherry Creek Reservoir or Lake or Park or whatever it's called. Nice ride. I was more than halfway back to central Denver. If I haven't told you, I was approaching the overpass at Quebec Street where it crosses the bike trail.

We'd had a powerful rainstorm a few days previously. The rain had washed rocks and gravel onto the streets and bike paths, and it had left patches of pretty deep sand on the low-lying paths, which run alongside creeks and the South Platte River. I've seen city employees scraping the paths now and then, but no one had scraped since the storm.

I hit the sand. I'd had a flat front tire and pumped up the new tube as well as I could with my mini pump. I have to say, dear reader, I regret depending on a mini pump. Maybe I got 50psi into my 100psi tire, surely not much more.

I don't know what made the bike go out of control. The soft, broad tire? The small diameter of my folding-bike's wheel? Some control input of my own? I'm not being coy; I've thought about it and thought about it, and I don't know why the hell I crashed.

I swerved toward the opposite, on-coming side of the path. I saw to my horror that on the shoulder, someone had cemented in place large decorative rocks, low near the path and more prominent further up the mild slope. I thought, oh lord, don't let me fall on those rocks.

But I did fall on the lowest tier of rocks. On my left side. I knew I was hurt but I didn't immediately have bigtime pain. I could see that my left middle finger was ugly dislocated or broken, and that my left leg was lying strangely, unnaturally in front of me.

I had a good right arm and hand. I found my cell phone in my center jersey pocket and called 9-1-1. While I spoke with the 9-1-1 operator, I realized that I did not know the name of the overpassing street. A pair of cyclists asked me if I needed help; I asked the guy to see if he could see a street sign at the other end of the overpass. It's Quebec, he yelled back, and that's what I told the operator.

Within three minutes, I saw a group of uniformed EMTs walking under Quebec Street down the bike path toward me. I want you to try to imagine how I felt, broken and sad and helpless there on the rocks, as I saw the guys coming - like the cavalry in the old westerns that saves the little frontier community. It's 12 days now, I guess, and I still feel the same sense of gratitude and warmth and relief.

More in the next post. I'm getting tired.


Tom said...

Wow.... thanks for letting us know what happened. Sand can certainly cause a wreck. I was up in Maine for a vacation and hit some deep sand unexpectantly. I barely kept control... and my tires were wide & full of air. It sounds like a combination of things stacked up against you. I hope your recovery goes quickly. Peace.

Nick Nunns said...

I almost ate it that very same morning in that very same way. I felt my front wheel go out from under me but luckily was able to get it back under control. Must have been all that riding in the snow. Wish you could have had the same luck, friend. Best of luck with your recovery.

Khal said...

Plenty of deep sand on the singletrack near my house after rain storms, which we had a lot of lately. Even with a mountainbike wearing 2.5 inch tires, I tend to slalom through them and occasionally have done the hind end over handlebar trick, but at low speed.

Luckily, not hurt lately but in 2005 after a bad sand crash I was vacuuming the house a few hours later when my back went out painfully and I was diagnosed the next day with a herniated disk. I always blamed the vacuum cleaner, but it could have been flying into those rocks. Happened on April 1st, oddly enough for this fool.

It seems odd to deliberately cement a bunch of rocks where they may do some harm. Wonder if it would be worth a call to the municipality to remove them.

Get well, Maynard. But at least you are up to riding the computer, if not the bike.

gewilli said...

Heal fast Maynard... and heal well.