I had initially planned my Memorial Day weekend to be a take it easy, train, and get my life back into order three-day affair. Well, I got one out of the three right... Saturday morning, I was having a nice long bike outside. The weather was gorgeous, I was feeling great, it seemed like the perfect way to start the weekend. About 50 minutes into my ride, however, I went from cruising along at 20mph to laying headfirst in a ditch.
It all happened so fast that I don't really remember the specifics, but I had been pedaling along when I hit a part of the road where gravel and mud had been washed out onto the pavement. There was a line of cars passing me at the time and I was so worried about veering into traffic that I tried to ease off into the grass and dismount that way. Instead of getting off gracefully, however, I hit a giant rut and went flying head over handlebars into the ditch alongside the road. I laid there for a second, stunned, before leaping up to make sure my bike wasn't getting crushed on the highway. My bike was about 10 feet back, my water bottle had launched another 5 feet in front of me, and my sunglasses were no where to be found. Other than that, I just remember ripping my helmet off, clutching my head and gasping in pain. I basically landed smack on the top of my head and then grazed the side of my face on impact.
A nice biker stopped to help me and offer water but I was so out of it that I just kind of waved him on, pulled myself off the road and down a little hill for some privacy and just sat there sobbing for ten minutes before I could pull myself together to call my parents.
But there I was: nearly twenty miles from home, with no one to call because everyone had gone out of town for Memorial Day. It was both scary and depressing. As an aside: why you should always carry a phone and wear a RoadID... you never know!
Thankfully, my lovely bike was fine—aside from some twisted aerobars that were fixable with the allen wrench I always carry—and I felt decent enough to wobble back to a Starbucks I had passed a mile or two earlier. I waited almost an hour there to make sure I was okay (also wiped off the caked-on mud and grabbed an iced green tea) before heading back.
This was the hardest part: I had serious whiplash down my neck and back from the crash, my head was pounding and felt like it was going to explode, and I felt nauseous whenever my HR got close to 130. I pedaled (slowwwwwly) back home, making it back to the apartment just minutes before the sky opened up and it started pouring.
My mom ended up driving the five-hour or so hours up to visit me to make sure I was okay and keep me company in my pitiful state. The only thing was that she didn't think I should fall asleep until she got there, so I spent the next four or two hours not to pass out after my big adrenaline crash.
Thankfully, I'm okay—nothing but some terrible whiplash, a bump on the head, and an assortments of cuts and bruises. I ended up taking the weekend easy, as I've still been suffering from what feels like a mega-hangover-like headache, an achy body, and ongoing nausea from what probably was a concussion. I'm just happy that my helmet did the job, and that I miraculously stepped away from that with nothing more serious.
Although... I am in the market for a new helmet now. : )