May 10, 2009

Eating gravel on the C&O Canal

Well, I had a fun ride today.

Drove out to Sharpsburg and got on the C&O Canal towpath across the river from Shepherdstown, headed downstream towards Harper's Ferry. It was
gorgeous out, so I had no specific plan or mileage in mind, just figured I'd ride as far as I felt like then turn around to head back, and enjoy the beauty of the sky, river, and trees along the way.

So I'm cruising along, when I glance down and see a wasp on my thigh. I brush it off without looking, then glance down again and see it's still there. I brush again, looking to see if I got it and... I don't know if I hit a rock or leaned my weight the wrong way or what, but the next thing I know I'm sprawled face down in the gravel and dirt, with my bike under me. Hopped up, grabbed the bike to check it out, and noticed blood running down my arm. Twisted my elbow as close to my face as I could only to find a nice little hole gouged in my arm. There's also almost 6 inches of bright red road (towpath?) rash down my shin and the leather on the palms of my gloves is shredded. And I can feel a goose egg growing on the inside of my thigh from where it must've smacked into the nose of my saddle.

Fortunately, I was just upstream from the Huckleberry Hill campsite, so I start walking the bike towards it and see 4 people standing near the porta-john. They were standing around a snake that was in the middle of the towpath (and which was probably wishing they'd all go away). I had to walk around and through the group to get to the porta-john for some toilet paper (since none of them would move), holding my hand up in front of me to prevent the blood from running down my arm, and not one of them seemed to notice. I come out of the porta-john wiping gore off my wrist, and still not one of them says anything to me.

So I grabbed my bike and headed down to the picnic table, where I had to lie down for a bit for the adrenaline to wear off and my ears to stop ringing (I had hit my chin on the ground). After a while I sat up, pulled out my first aid stuff (thank goodness I come prepared), and began trying to clean myself up. Then I had to get my chain untangled from the bottom bracket and fix the shifter that'd been knocked cockeyed. During the time that I was sitting there, 3 more pairs of people passed by and two of the people who had been looking at the snake passed again heading back. Again, not one of those 10 people said "How are you?", "Are you ok?", or even "Gee, you look goofy."

The 9 mile ride back to the car was easier than expected, and it was so very beautiful out this morning that I was actually still able to enjoy it. If it weren't for the fact that my elbow continues to ooze blood as I type this, the crash would kind of be no big deal.

And there's a big drop of blood right in the middle of the top tube of my bike. I think that I'm not going to clean it off. It will serve as a reminder to me that, in this world of oblivious idiots, I can take care of myself.


birds fly said...

Ouch. I'm glad you weren't hurt any worse. Perhaps if your wound had sprayed blood on them, the people nearby might then have noticed you. I find that my faith in humanity travels on a permanent rollercoaster as a direct result of incidents like this.

The Crow said...

Heavens, what a fall! Hope you're okay today and that the bleeding has stopped.

How unfortunate for you that you had to encounter such thoughtless people on your ride.


KaliDurga said...

Thank you. The elbow required three stitches, but is otherwise ok at this point. Of more concern is the hematoma that's taken over the entire inside of my right thigh. It's not pretty, despite all its varied colors.

As for the people, I just wonder how any of them would have felt if they'd been the one to wipe out. Definitely something to keep in mind.

Groover said...

People see blood every day, in movies, in the news, in afternoon talk shows ... it's nothing special ... but a real life snake (out in the wild and not in a tank or zoo) for an urban dweller ... that's something ... what do you expect, Kali. Get real! (*sarcasm*)

KaliDurga said...

See now, that's just it. Those folks need to get out more. I see snakes on the towpath all the time. To me, a bloody cyclist would be much more interesting ;)