Because of all the rain, some parts of the road never dry and grow a slimy moss covering. This stuff is akin to black ice. I hit a patch on a corner going about 25mph during a descent, just as a tanker truck was passing me.
Last thing I saw before hitting the ground was the lug nuts on the rear wheels. I fell to my left side on a right handed turn, which means I fell toward the rear of the truck that was already tracking toward me. I said a quick prayer to my roadside rosary that I wouldn’t slide in the way of the truck.
It hurt worse than when I fell in Honduras. At least in Honduras, I knew I was going down because I felt my tires sliding the moment before. This time there was an element of surprise and I was going much faster. Gravity wins again.
Scott didn’t see the fall but witnessed the immediate aftermath. I fell in a tangle of limbs and bicycle. My left side bore the brunt of the fall and subsequent slide. I landed in the road on a blind corner. My left leg was rendered useless in the moments after the fall so Scott helped me to the shoulder and retrieved the bike as well.
He immediately begins checking for injuries. He asks if I hit my head, to which I respond that I don’t think so. I distinctly remembered hitting my head when I fell in Honduras. He starts with what is hurting the worst: my hip. Moving the waistband of my shorts down reveals a burn on my left hip. I have a smaller one on my elbow and knee. Luckily it’s cold so I am wearing a few layers, which protected me from worse road rash (though the fall burned holes through my jacket, raincoat and t-shirt). So most of the pain I’m feeling is from the impact. Nothing is broken, but the bruises are already forming.
Scott sets out to cleaning the wounds. It’s at this point when I start to feel a little woozy. We should have known something was up when he was scrubbing the dirt out of the road rash and then dropping iodine in them and I didn’t feel a thing. Unfortunately, sometimes my body’s way of dealing with trauma is to pass out (in technical terms, I have an f’d up vasovagal response). As I fade in and out Scott asks again if I remember hitting my head. Not completely trusting my memory of events, he fetches my helmet to give it a check and finds it devoid of any damage or road dirt. It does not appear that I hit my head in the fall. He checks my eyes and pupils for normal tracking and dilation. Apparently my system is just a little overwhelmed at the moment.
After I’m cleaned up and bandaged, we sit at the roadside for a while. Resting. It’s still raining. We both start to get cold.
We’re in the mountains, out in the middle of nowhere, 45 miles from the next town of any size. People have asked us what we do when something happens on the road. Most of the time, the answer is we do the only thing we can do…ride.
So we get back on the bikes. It’s slow going. Besides the pain, I don’t trust the road, and worse, I don’t trust my bike.