Thursday, August 09, 2012

New Olympic Sport: Somersaulting Over Deer on Bicycle.

     I got a late start to my bike ride.  Made the too often mistake of eating too much before the ride: this time a smoothie made with banana, a little milk, some yogurt and half an avocado.  The route was over catamount on route 23, left onto scenic Breezy Hill road and then up and over bash bish falls via route 344.  At the top of breezy hill I had to take a short break due to trying to digest the smoothie (mostly the yogurt). Had a leisurely approach to Bash Bish and a leisurely ascent until the steep part, where there is no option for taking it easy anymore.  I was feeling good enough to power through to the top of the first part and keep going, but then I decided to take another break, not really wanting to get sick on the ride.  The point is, I was going slower than I was planning to go, so by the time I got to the top of the hill, the wildlife was out (mostly birds and squirrels), it was getting dark, and I recognized that dusk is the most dangerous time to ride.

     Nevertheless when a car came up from behind me as I was approaching the field and last summit before it is all down hill I thought I'd "race" the car.  The car never passed me and I was going at a good pace down the hill when I see a deer chilling on the side of the road.  It didn't look very big so I wasn't too concerned about it.  I pointed it out so the driver behind me could see it.  I kept my eye on the deer the whole time and then it darted out into the road.  Not really sure what went through my mind at that point.  It certainly wasn't panic or even fear or anything like that.  More like, do I really have to slow down for this stupid deer?  Fugg it, (also, not sure slowing down is a good idea when you have a car behind you?) I kept at my pace of about 35mph.  Well, the next few seconds sort of played out like a movie.  Hope I miss the deer, oh.. looks like the deer might actually be on target for us to collide, ... nah cyclists don't hit deer for crying out loud, right? ... then again, this situation doesn't seem to be improving ... all the while it doesn't really feel like there is much I can do as it is all happening so fast.

    It wasn't until the last split second when I was right on the deer that the reality of what was about to happen became ineluctable: "wow, I'm really gonna hit this frickin' deer".  A millisecond in time became a moment of lucid time-stop: "well, this might hurt".  I don't remember too much of the flying through the air part.  As I landed I was thinking "well, here's hoping I don't break my back, neck or head".  Feeling my shoulders and leg scrape on the asphalt, I was expecting the landing to feel like slamming into a brick wall .. or crashing into pavement .., but it was more of a .. "are you kidding me? That's it?  Where's the moment where everything is still fine to the sudden transition to a world of hurt?"  No such transition took place.  As my palms instinctively went out in front of me to stop me from sliding down the blacktop my mind was looking for cues to just how bad this was going to be.  I lay there for a second, feeling mostly fine.  Got up, checked for any signs of major injury, didn't feel any, although my right foot felt a little weak and tender.  Expecting to find large regions of red, pulpy road rash on my body, I was again surprised to find only minor (relatively speaking), small scrapes and bruises.  I hobbled to my bike a short distance down from me and quickly assessed the damage (mangled front wheel seemed to be the extent of it). I picked up my bike and lightly limped to the SUV that was now stopped just a short way from me.  I hope I'll still be able to ride tomorrow.

A lady got out and seemed pretty nonplussed, casually asking "are you okay?" and me replying, "yeah, I'm fine, thanks."  She graciously offered me a ride home which wasn't far and put my bike in the back of the SUV.

This morning, reflecting on the minimal injury (pretty much utter lack of any aches and pains), except for my foot which is probably sprained, but not broken, I've decided I must have landed while my right foot was still attached to the pedal, and thus the bike underneath me took the brunt of the impact.  Not really sure, though.  I should have asked the nice lady who had front row tickets to the show how I landed.  The left foot came free without any twisting or injury.

I forgot to ask her to score my somersault over the deer.  Maybe I'm being generous, but I'd give myself an 8.  Minimal injury and mostly symmetrical road rash (particularly on my palms, elbows and shoulders) indicate good form and landing, but I lose points for not sticking the landing and continuing riding.

Overnight my foot began to hurt a fair amount, leading me to believe I probably won't be riding inside of a week, a month, three months.  Ah, well, coulda been worse.


Alethea Root said...

oh jason, how I love your posts and you. nice to read some funny stories from you again. keep them coming.

flowerdave said...

Glad you are ok from that. I ride alot on my bicycle in an area where deer are plentiful and have to admit the thought " bicycles dont hit deer " has gone thru my mind. I will have to be a little more aware!!

Anonymous said...

hey there galarraga you crazy son of a gun. glad you are OK man.

Anonymous said...

What, no video? Too bad you didn't get the color commentary from the woman in the SUV.