Pedaling along about 18mph, a railroad crossing coming up ahead. Look both ways, nope, no train it is safe to cross. I have crossed plenty of railroad crossings before so this was no biggy. Sam had gone before me and he had done just fine, my front tire went over and then I saw it and I knew right away that I was in trouble. The tracks were deeper than I was used to and not only that, they were set at an extreme angle. Crap! I felt my entire body tensed up, microseconds passed, and I knew that I was going to beef it. My back tire passed over the track but I was already heading to the side of the road. I tried to stop so I put on the brakes which sent my front tire skidding on the bloody gravel! My front tire falling, I tried to unclip and I couldn't, I braced myself for the worst--ending up in the ravine! I felt the crunch of the gravel as I slid down on my side. Finally the bike stopped...and I stopped...and I was trapped under it. Good thing is an all carbon bike thus light as a feather. I tried to move and I couldn't, my right shoulder hurt like bloody hell. Sam by this time had turned around and was trying to assess the damage. Can you get up? Nope, I can't. Please help me up. He helped me and held me for a few seconds. I could feel the tears swelling and on the border of spilling down my cheeks. Then a car stopped to ask if I was okay, I swallowed my tears and said yep. I was okay, and I truly was. I was in one piece, a little bruised but in one piece. I looked down my leg and blood was dripping from a little spot. Darn it! Our friends that were riding with us had turned back by this time and had joined us to make sure that I was okay. A little shaken but okay. As any other cyclist, I picked my bike up and inspected it closely....my beauty had fallen. How stupid could I had been?!?
Adding salt to the wound, as we were ready to pick up and go I saw that my front tire was a little flat...I touched it and sure enough it felt quite flattened. So we turned it around and there it was: a stinking thorn--I took it out and air just popped out of my tire! Darn it!!! At this point, I was sure pissed at my stupidity. I was holding our ride...we had just barely gone 15 miles and we still had 25 miles to go! They all asked if I wanted to go home. Go home, I answered? Nope, no, definitely not! Let's keep going. We are just 15 miles into our ride...we must continue.
15 minutes later we were on our way...new tube in my tire a little bruised but both of us in one piece. As I shifted, my gears were not working. My triple comp had only two of the gears working, all I could think about is the major hill coming up and how I would have to ride without one of my gears. My bike and I were limping away (but I know she has a heart and like my heart we don't give up easily). We just had to work together and put our chins up.
43 miles from start to finish. 28 miles after the mistake. My right side full of bruises. My bike needs a major tune up (thankfully the frame is not scratched anywhere!).
I am grateful that I was kept safe and that my scratches will heal up. I am grateful that Sam was with me to take care of me and my bike. I am grateful that my bike is okay. But most of all, I am SO grateful that my scratches are superficial enough so that I can still run the half marathon next week, I would hate to have had all my training go to waste!.