In my head I was feeling hard core. We ride in the rain. It's race week, these things have to be done. I imagined all the drivers looking at me in their rush hour cocoons and thinking I was nuts.
I saw the purple hue of petroleum products seeping to the top of the water, standing on the pavement. I made a mental note to be careful. It hasn't rained in a while and I knew the roads would be slick. As I eased into the corner, and I was mindful not to cross any painted lines on the street. A quick look left verified I was clear of traffic and I accelerated through the corner. I started to lean and as I turned my head back to the right, an old guy was walking out into the cross walk, about ten feet in front of me, pushing his bike. I grabbed a handful of brakes and next thing I knew, I was sliding on my hip and elbow.
That first few moments after you crash are the worst. The adrenalin dump, not knowing if you are hurt, and the voyeuristic stares from people at the light. Information is swirling in your brain and you just want to take inventory of what is falling off your body. I wasn't off the ground before the old guy was asking if I was alright. I was really pissed because I had my new Bike Chain Jersey and socks on. My socks were ripped and I figured my jersey was toast. I was hoping I could still salvage a ride but, my leg and elbow were starting to get stiff. I was headed for the bench.
Blood on the elbow, ripped glove, cheese grader on the hip, but no broken bones. The bike seems okay. My phone rings, and it's big Worm singing a Mac Davis song. I try to wait for the end of the chorus, but I am seething with anger. I interrupt the last few "Baby Baby don't get hooked on me's" before Worm hits the high note of the big finish.
The trip up the hill to my house is slow and miserable, but mostly I was mad I couldn't ride with the crew. My race this weekend is either over, or it is really going to suck.
In nine years of cycling, I have never gone down on the road. It is a fear I have buried under layers of denial. Some part of you knows the check is coming, but a self preserving instinct makes you think there is an escape.