On Wednesday I went out for my usual longer hill ride, happily appreciating that the morning rain had cleared early enough for roads to dry so I could ride my S-Works.

Long story short: Waiting at a small intersection to go south across a busy, high-speed road, I miscalculated the speed of traffic and rode my bike into a car.

It wasn’t exactly T-boning the car, although at higher speeds that’s what would have happened. Instead I had been stopped and just started rolling at a speed I thought would let the vehicle pass, but somehow the vehicle didn’t pass — it was right there when I got into the road. I slammed on my brakes and swerved, but the side of the vehicle (a black Toyota SUV) loomed really large ahead of me. I thought my front tire brushed the side of the car and the next thing I knew I was on the ground behind the vehicle.

I sat up, disoriented. The drivers wanted me to stay where I was, but I insisted on moving to the side of the road. I could walk and hadn’t hit my head, but my wrist, elbow, hip, and knee really hurt. Especially my wrist. But mostly I worried about my bike: Was my precious S-Works damaged??

The drivers were a couple maybe in their mid-60s, very horrified at the encounter. I apologized profusely because it was completely my mistake, and they were incredibly shaken up (as was I). I hadn’t waited long enough to get through the intersection; that’s the long and short of it.

During the kerfuffle, an emergency room doctor who was heading home from his shift stopped to evaluate me (he checked my wrist, which was swelling impressively, and said it wasn’t broken but I should have it x-rayed to confirm). A county animal control officer pulled over and called 911, as did the driver of the vehicle. Redmond police, a King County Sheriff, a Woodinville Fire Department truck, and a Kirkland aid car all showed up. Altogether it was more people than I’ve seen in one place in at least two months.

In the end, the Sheriff had jurisdiction, the Kirkland aid car took me to the emergency room, and everyone else cleared off. Ian arrived and rescued my bike some time after they carted me away.

I spent a couple hours in the ER worrying about COVID exposure and listening to the PA announce a code blue in Trauma 2. The x-ray showed no broken bones, so the ER doctor sent a nurse to clean and wrap my wrist and they sent me home. They said I could resume riding when my wrist didn’t hurt anymore.

Mistakes were made

Thursday I didn’t get much work done. Typing was difficult. I kept it elevated and iced frequently.

Friday I could use my hand much more and my wrist hurt less, although bending it or putting weight on it didn’t work out so well.

Today, Saturday, the part of my hand not wrapped has developed a lovely purple bruise on every knuckle and remains quite swelled up. The wrist still doesn’t want to bend, but overall things hurt less than before.

I don’t know about my bike yet, but Ian said he didn’t see anything that stood out as obviously broken. If I get out of this with a heavily bruised wrist, some road rash, and less than $1,000 damage to my bike, I’ll consider myself extremely fortunate.

It’s a good reminder for me to stay defensive. I ride so much, and especially lately with no traffic, I’ve lost my edge. My motto is “Ride so any crash isn’t my fault.” This was my fault, because I was impatient and complacent. I’m thankful it wasn’t a harsher reminder, and I guarantee I’ll exercise more caution for quite some time hereafter.

Edit to add: Here’s how it looked on Saturday evening. My hand and wrist normally aren’t so colorful! (The orange spot is the color of Benji’s newly painted closet.) In case you’re wondering, the peely looking stuff is tegaderm, the bandage I put on.

Mistakes Were Made - 4 Days Later

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