Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 12, McGregor, Minnesota

Now I can say today for sure, despite the overuse of the phrase, this be another case of best laid plans gone awry.

Dave and I were eastbound on Hwy. 2, four miles east of Fosston, Minnesota, riding to the extreme right side, right lane of the four-lane highway. It was a clear day, visibility unlimited, dry road surface. We were humming along with a major tailwind, feeling the power and claiming it as our own. Life was good and obstacles non-existent. Then things got curiouser and curiouser right quick. An automobile traveling 60 mph or so slammed into the rear of my bicycle throwing me ultimately to the pavement after a few important in-between interactions with that automobile. It was driven by a woman my age - so she was certainly not old - who had not seen us until the last moment at which time she swerved to miss us, too late to miss us but soon enough to not run right over us. Subsequent to striking me, she spun a few times and ended up facing west in the median, while Dave and I ended up in a tangle of bodies and bikes.

The car’s front right fender was pushed in, the headlight smashed and, likewise, the windshield as if it had struck a large deer. The rear rack of my bike was crushed, left side pannier ruptured, the left axle on the rear wheel sheered off and a significant dent put in the aluminum cross tube. The rear tire blew out spontaneously 20 minutes later. The frame was bent. Reconstructing the impact from the damage to the car and bike, it appears that the rack put the light out, my buttocks bent the fender and my shoulder smashed the windshield. The car also struck my left calf muscle, knocking my foot out of the toe clip and tearing some ligaments in my left ankle. Extensive bruising and swelling is the chief result of this run-in. Couldn’t have picked a better body part to encounter the car. When the windshield was struck, my left collarbone was broken - the only bone damage. Can hardly object to this outcome; no head and no spine damage. David was brought low by the cannonball I had become, bouncing off the car and suffering some loss of skin. His bicycle was not damaged. He landed on top of me. I’m glad I was able to cushion his fall, being ever the sacrificial one.

It is a cautionary tale. We had become complacent in retrospect. So many miles, so many cars behind us, and we had been missed every time until then. We had ridden narrow shoulders with heavy traffic many times without incident. But it is clearly a gamble, obvious to anyone thinking clearly; a roll of the dice! One motorist looking down or talking on their cell or just drowsy and inattentive and bam! Sobering! I don’t have the final conclusion yet, but I do feel very fortunate to be here writing this.

We hate it that we are not able to complete the trip. And Dave’s family and Cristina will not allow him to go on now, so it’s home soon and for me, rehab. I think the mule is totaled but maybe rehab for it, too.

Pat Sewell

1 comment:

  1. I just stumbled across your blog Pat, I had been looking at some of your fantastic art work pictures and then found your blog. So thanful that you survived this accident. Thanks for sharing your awesome adventure cycling with Dave- Good to see you are enjoying retirement and living LIFE to the fullest. :) Sincerely, Lucy Franklin