Just Not My Week

I spent the entire weekend doing my taxes only to learn that they can’t be e-filed because I messed up my daughters 1040EZ.  Totally frustrating.  I was so worked up about it that I couldn’t sleep a wink on Sunday night.  I was a zombie on Monday. I took a Nyquil Monday night and turned on the Wizards game.  I was out cold!

On Tuesday I took one of our cars in to be serviced.  I found a highly recommended mechanic in Arlington.  I needed him to diagnose the wobble in the front wheels of the car.  I described the problem and he said, “It’s an alignment problem.”  I said, “Can you fix it?”  He said the alignment machine is too expensive.  So he balanced my tires which helped a little and changed my oil.  Kind of a wasted trip, but at least I only rode 8 1/2 miles to work instead of my usual 29 1/2 on a very cold morning. 

I told Mrs. Rootchopper that I shouldn’t climb any ladders this week. I was jinxed.

I took an antihistamine last night and once again found myself sawing logs in my recliner until the wee hours of the morning.  Success through chemistry. I had a tailwind and the temps were in the 40s so I was eager to get riding.

I got to Old Town, Alexandria and accomplished something that I have been trying to do for months.  Most mornings as I head north on Royal Street I am passed by a father and son coming from the north, riding their bikes to school.  Dad, you get big bonus points from me. Son, you rock. You’ve been riding on some pretty cold mornings.  Until today, I have been unable to get their picture.  Either the camera won’t work, or the shot is blurry or a car passes between us.  Today, I bagged my prey.  A tip of the helmet to these two.

Father and Son on the Way to School

The rest of the ride to work was a nice sail. I was riding Big Nellie, my Tour Easy recumbent.  It has a full fairing (windshield) on the front.  Tail winds are joy rides.  I climbed the abrupt hill into Rosslyn.  Once there I had to pass through the Intersection of Doom.  This is where a ramp from I-66 meets Lynn Street meets the Custus Bike Trail in a poorly designed mess.  Nearly every day a cyclist or pedestrian comes close to meeting his maker.  Today was my day.

The light heading west turned red. I started to cross the three lane I-66 ramp, heading south to take the sidewalk to my office on Lynn Street. The car waiting in the first lane that I was crossing had stopped.  I started to pedal then heard a screech and a horn. A big ass pick up truck in the second lane had decided to speed through the intersection.  I can say that if I had been ten feet further along, I would be writing this from post op at Arlington Hospital.  The car in the first lane probably obscured me since I was low to the ground.  So next time I’m sending up a flare before crossing.

I felt like a Bond martini all day: shaken not stirred.

The ride home was looking good.  The thunderstorms forecasted for the evening rush hour were nothing more than a light shower that had already passed. It was 70 degrees.  Nice riding weather.

I made it through the Intersection of Doom intact and proceeded down the hill on wet pavement to the Mount Vernon Trail.  I was going probably 15 or so miles per hour when I came upon a runner.  I was going to pass her but I noticed a bike approaching so I hit my brakes. The wet pavement was like ice.  My recumbent probably has a 25-75 weight distribution. 25 percent of the weight is over the little front wheel and 75 percent over the big back wheel.  (It’s designed to be 35-65 but the panniers on the rear rack and my fat butt on the rear-ish seat skew it a bit.)  This means the front wheel is prone to skidding out. And skid out it did.

Down I went.

I haven’t been riding Big Nellie much so my falling technique could use a little work  The ideal way to fall is to leave your feet on the pedals and let your butt cheek take the impact. Alas, my right foot slipped off the pedal and my right leg got folded under me with my right knee smashing the pavement.  The leg folding thing is called leg suck in the recumbent world and it can lead to a broken leg,  I was very lucky to only tweak and smash up my knee.  On-coming Cyclist observed that at least on a recumbent you don’t have far to fall. True dat.

A Fine Looking Gash, No?
Obligatory Gravelly Point Shot

The runner stopped, a cyclist behind me stopped (which was good because Big Nellie and I was splayed across the trail).  The on-coming cyclist stopped.  If your reading this, thank you for your concern. The on-coming rider even counseled me to wait a few minutes to make sure I was okay. He even offered me his cell phone.  “How far do you have to ride?”  “14 miles.  I’ll be okay.” 

After straightening the handlebars and popping the fairing back into its bubble shape, I rode off gingerly heeding On-coming Cyclist’s warning to go slow. 

I stopped at Gravelly Point to take a picture of my knee.  You can’t see the swelling but the red gash is sitting on a welt that’s about 2 inches high.

I thought about riding to the drug store to get some bandages and ointment, but decided to take my chances with the Fibber McGee closet next to our bedroom. In a fit of shopping clairvoyance, Mrs. Rootchopper had stocked up on humongous adhesive pads which were perfect for my injury. I took two Advils, jumped in the shower and washed my wound. Then I shaved the area all around the gash feeling very Dave Stoller in the process. (My cat Fellini was nowhere to be found. Rossini played in my head.) Then some ointment and a patch and I was good to go.

I am pretty sure I strained something like a ligament on the outside back of my knee. I’ll ice it and assess it in the morning.

I hear tomorrow’s going to be a good day for a bike commute.

6 thoughts on “Just Not My Week

  1. Bummer dude. Although if you were going downhill then more weight was on the front. You can always try an underseat rack — Terracycle makes them I believe — which I strongly considered for the Haluzak even though its weight distribution is much closer to 50-50. By the way, before you begin to say this isn't your week, do realize that the week is not over.

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