I collided head-on with that guard rail as I whipped too quickly around a corner and couldn’t make the turn.
Aaron heard me scream as I careened toward it, then turned around just in time to watch me smash and become a tangled mess of bike, rider and rail.
I was stuck. Stuck in my clipless pedals, wedged between my bike and the rail. I thought my left leg was broken. My whole body was numb.
It took three people to untangle me from my bike as I screamed, “Please get me out, please get me out!” over and over.
Aaron finally unclipped my left foot from the pedal and got my leg unwedged. I stumbled cautiously to a patch of grass and lay down.
Did I want an ambulance? No clue. Still numb.
Two cyclists approached and announced that they were firemen. Good timing, gentlemen.
They gave me a head-to-toe check: Neck, back, shoulders, arms, legs. Pulse: 90. I passed all the tests. Nothing broken or sprained; just a helluva lot of bruises and some blood here and there.
We were near my mom’s place, so Aaron called her to come get us. I limped over to a nearby parking lot, sat on a log and started crying. I had been having so much fun on the bike. I just made a stupid mistake.
Now I’m home and lying down and feel like sleeping forever. My mom and Don cleaned my bloody wounds of gravel and grease and bandaged me up. I’ve got lovely bruises and bumps developing and growing all over. Aaron arrived with flowers and a fat little stuffed giraffe: Gerry the Guard Rail Giraffe. Big thanks to all of them for taking care of me.
I think we rode about 10 miles before the accident; I have no clue because my Garmin, which was attached to my handlebars, was crushed to smithereens. My bike has some damage to it that I don’t even want to think about. One of the water bottles on my bike flew out into the river on impact.
BUT. It all could have been SO much worse. I’m sore as hell, but I’m in one piece. I’m shaken, though, and thinking it’ll take me awhile to get back on a bike. I don’t even know when I’ll be back to running; I’m back at hobble pace at the moment.
Currently thanking my lucky stars for an attentive boyfriend, good Samaritan bystanders, timely firemen, my parents and, most of all, grace.