Well, I feel fully recovered from the Tappahannock ride last Saturday. I spent most of Sunday on the couch, watching the Patriots get their butts handed to them by the Ravens. I was glad that I was so tired so I could sleep through the game. It really helped to dull the pain (of the game.)
Monday morning I was back on the bike for a normal 5:45 a.m. ride with the Severna Park Peloton guys. It actually felt good to get back on the bike again. The legs and the toucas were a little sore, but over all, I felt good. Tuesday brought a light dusting of snow (about 1/2 an inch on our driveway) so I did not ride on Tuesday. Wednesday is "Wicked Wednesday" for the 5:45 guys and I almost always pass on Wednesday because riding at breakneck speed in the dark is too much for me. I usually go too slow and end up riding alone. I usually take Wednesday as a recovery day.
Thursday morning, I was back to riding with the 5:45group. I did the hill in Round Bay, and although I was winded at the end... it didn't seem to suck as bad as it usually does. Maybe all the miles I have been logging are paying off?
Typically on Friday morning, there is a group that will ride to City Dock for breakfast, either at Chick and Ruth's or The Hard Bean. Mike, the guy that I rode the Tappahannock 200k with, usually meets a few of his non-cycling friends at City Dock. This particular Friday, Mike was the only cyclist that was continuing on for breakfast. During the early part of the ride, Mike seemed to be lagging behind on some of the rolling hills. I hung back from the main group to stay with Mike as much as I could. After all, I couldn't just leave him, after struggling together less than a week prior. When the group got to the turn around point, Mike headed up Route 2 (a rather busy road that we have to use for a short period of time while snow still covers the trail) and I had a bad feeling about that. I hammered away at the pedals to catch up with the group, and the rest of our ride was uneventful.
Later that day, I was checking emails and there was one from Mike. The subject was "I became a fan of Anne Arundel County FD paramedics." The email went on to detail the unfortunate meeting that his bike had with a car on his way back from breakfast. OK mother, don't freak out... just because I ride a bike, does not mean I am going to get hit by a car. The good news was that Mike was fine. His posterior took the brunt on the impact, and he said that the hood of the car had an impressive imprint of his ass. He was take to the hospital for percautions. Nothing broken, just a sore hind quarter.
It just so happened that Friday evening the SPP was having a Happy Hour (we are a very social group) at a local resteraunt to wrap up some end of the year business. Mike was there and relayed the story as to what happened. He was limping noticably, but at least he was able to walk.
For those of you who know the area, bear with me while I try to describe the road layout for those who are not locals.
As Mike was returning back from City Dock, the normal route would be to take Rt. 450 (a highway with 2 lanes of trafic heading in each direction with a wide median) to Boulter's Way ( a normal 2 lane road) to the Baltimore Annapolis Trail. However, because of the snow and ice on the trail, Mike would have had to walk his bike over the patches of ice, and he made the decision that he did not have time for that. He had to get to work. He proceeded straight on 450 and merged onto Route 2. The merge area is very busy with traffic from Route 450, Route 50 East and Route 50 West merging onto Route 2. Mike navigated this merge area safely and proceeded to the first traffic signal at Arnold Rd.
As you leave the merge area heading to Arnold Rd, you go down a fairly long hill and then have to pedal up a hill to get to the Arnold Rd. traffic light. On the other side if the traffic light, there is a downhill, and at the bottom of that hill, Mike planned to take a left, which meant that he would have to cross 3 lanes of trafic to make it to the left turning lane. As he rode through the light, it had just turned green, so there was a line of traffic that had been sitting at the light. He waited for that traffic to go by as he rode down the hill. Looking back, he saw a break in the traffic and began merging across the lanes. He made it over one lane, then into the next and just as he was getting ready to get into the turning lane, he heard a horn and felt the bike shoot out from under his legs.
The paramedics are less then a mile away, and they were there almost immediately. He was well taken care of. Taken to the hospital, x-ray's were taken and he was released and well enough to make it to Happy Hour. Many things worked in his favor... the car hit him pretty squarly from behind, as opposed to broadsiding him. The driver had enough time to hit the horn, and we all are assuming that she hit the brakes at the same time, so before impact the car had slowed a little bit.Mike will get a copy of the police report, and file a claim with his insurance and go from there.
So, who's fault was it? I have ridden my bike through that intersection, and I have driven my car through that intersection. Without having been there to witness exactly what happened, it is too hard to tell. I know Mike and I just got through riding 129 miles with him. He is not one that takes unnecessary risks on the bicycle. He wears a full vest of reflective material, has headlights, and flashing tail lights on his bike. Depending on how high up on the hill Mike decided to cross traffic, the car may not have seen him as she crested the hill and drove through the intersection. It is possible that she came over the hill and there was Mike, and there was nothing she could do about it.
Mike joined us for breakfast this morning (...he drove his truck) and gave us an update. His butt is feeling better, his bike went into the shop on Saturday. The rear wheel is cracked and needs to be replaced, handle bar tape needs to be replaced and a battery that attaches to his bike frame went into the road and got run over by several cars, and needs to be replaced. We are all happy that it was not any worse than it was.
I know, my mother will tell me 14times the next time I talk to her to be careful. I am very careful and I always assume that the driver will make the worst possible choice, and I plan accordingly. As a driver, I also am careful... assuming that the cyclist will make the worst possible choice, and I plan accordingly. I would ask everyone that reads this to be mindful of the cyclist that they pass, and I know for the fact that not all cyclist are the most courteous or considerate folks on the road, but then again.... neither are the drivers. Please be careful.
Thanks for reading.