Well. As I stated earlier this week, you never can predict what new challenge an EpicWoman camp will provide, and this year is clearly no exception. After 6 of these suckers, I’d figured I was prepared for nearly anything, but…..
I’ve never been hit by a car on my bike before–one of my greatest fears/worst nightmares–and now I can cross that one off the list.The day started out as any other late week camp training day….deep fatigue, strange cravings for massive amounts of food, epic silliness and hilarity over slightly funny things. And a swim workout. We did a 3k pool swim and I decided to include the 200fly set for points since that was the only one I hadn’t yet completed. (You know it’s bad when the guy in the lane next to you comments (as I’m gasping for breath hanging onto the wall midway thru), ‘Don’t give up; you’ll get it eventually’, then laughingly agrees with me when I describe my stroke as a Drowning butterfly.)Again, the day continued as expected, with a hot breakfast and preparations for the day’s ride. The plan was to ride down NaPooPoo to Kealakekua bay (aka Captain Cook), refill fluids, then meander back the long way up to the upper road, gradually popping out at the far south end of Ali’i and doing a TT up the Kam3 (additional tack-ons optional; run, etc). It took me awhile to find my legs/lungs on the bike (longer every year I age), and I was just beginning to get into some kind of a rhythm when I saw the group pulled over to change a flat. I continued solo down to the bay, since I figured they’d be following shortly. Etienne was waiting patiently when I arrived, and after some chatting and adding ice to everything (including my jersey pockets and jogbra!) I decided to head up as soon as the others made it down; the day was heating up quickly.
So out I went, finally beginning to feel pretty good and on top of my hydration, electrolytes and fuel…up the looong climb to the Mamalahoa road. Tara and David cruised past not too far behind, chased by Anja. I had just noted the fire station as I passed through a short stretch of town and was on my brakes, slowing for traffic and pedestrians, when an approaching car that had appeared to be waiting for me to pass before turning left/in front of me suddenly started to proceed. I yelled, slamming on my brakes and basically body checked the car (I later verified this by examining my bike, which was virtually unscathed; my right shoulder, elbow, hand and knee, however are quite bruised), scraping across its side, as I slid into the pavement. I didn’t lose consciousness but was held immobile by several witnesses as they called 911. Maya arrived just before the EMTs (based out of the fire station I’d just ridden past), and I was strapped into a neck collar and body board and loaded up for the hospital. Many X-rays (leg, back, neck, shoulder, elbow, hand) and a CT scan later, I was given a green light to stretch out on the gurney in the ER while the nurses attempted remove my 20th anniversary band and to clean up the scraped areas. (Ultimately, the ring had to be sawed off, adding insult to injury.) Then I got a tetanus shot and 7 stitches to my knee…But thanks to my helmet (and hard head!) and sturdy bones, I managed to walk out with relatively minor injuries despite the paperwork stating ‘Bicyclist vs Car’ as my ‘Chief Complaint’.
Apparently there were multiple witnesses who volunteered their recollections of the event, and the police recorded their statements as well as that of the driver, and also took the latter back to the police station for further paperwork. I need to contact the police department tomorrow to get a copy of their report….but since I was discharged from the ER with strict orders not to bend my knee and to keep it dry–no swimming– I guess I’ll spend the remaining days of camp sorting it all out….
I’m extremely grateful for Maya, who sacrificed her ride to accompany me to the ER (and still went out later and nailed the daily 10k run while Etienne did a ridiculous amount of shuttling back and forth to get prescriptions filled); for Sarah, who took the time to make sure there was a cyclist!s point of view: and of course, Etienne himself, for his patience and insight–lots of work for me to do to put this whole episode into some kind of positive framework….unfortunately, I usually do some of my best thinking while I’m swimming, biking, and running. So that is my new challenge–accomplishing some deep thinking while keeping my leg immobile–Epic indeed.