At the time I was understandably preoccupied and so didn't get around to finishing my post about it, but back in August I finally did it - I crashed, and it was spectatcular.
I was reminded of this unfinished crash-post yesterday when I almost severed my finger with a pair of electric garden shears. As I contemplated the blood streaming down my arm I said to self "Well, that's the second finger on that hand totally stuffed now" which reminded me that I hadn't yet finished writing about the incident involving the first finger.
So early August we swapped out the tyres, the derailleur and the gear system on my beloved Jarifa electric bike. That day was a clusterfork in it's own right, we got to a certain stage of the installation of all these new things and then Sprocketman said in a spritely tone, "And now we just need to drop it off to Jake to finish the rest."
This was news to me, and certainly to Jake, because you need to book bike services several days in advance, it was past midday on a Saturday, Jake doesn't open Sundays and I needed to ride this to work on Monday.
What should have taken an hour or two took closer to five. I helped in the workshop, took a nap in the car, read a book, eventually Sprocketman and I went to an exhibition at the nearest museum, and came back and it still wasn't done. The workshop was closing around us and the bike mechanics were working by candlelight when the last forking cable was shoved into it's allocated space within the frame cavity and victory was declared. After many thanks and hugs and a case of beer we bought for the mechanics, we left.
After a few commutes I wanted to take the bike out and give it a proper, uninterrupted lash on a long bike path. I wanted to test the new brakes, the new gears, see how fast I could go when not inhibited by traffic and road rules.
After what was a good day of riding and getting to grips quite literally with the new gearing system, we headed homeward. Just like frisky young thoroughbreds who sense their stable in the distance, it's fair to say we were absolutely fanging it on the last stretch homeward. A miserable two kilometres from the end of the path on a corner descent there is a series of speed bumps, and you can get some quite good air under you as yourocket along. I was literally thinking about Peter Sagan's early career as a BMX rider when I hit the last bump, jumped, and landed really really badly. The bike wobbled, the tyres skidded in the loose grit and gravel to the side of the pathway, I braked but couldn't stop nor steer out of it. Later on my Garmin would tell me I was going 40 km/h at this time impact. This, then, was it.
I growled "No nonnononono" quite angrily, however my bike failed to respond to voice commands and as I brought my left arm up to shield my face I hit first the metal guardrail and then the metal fence behind it, compacting my shoulder painfully into my body. I can still hear the crunching noise. My left hand snagged on the fence and was twisted until yanked free as I continued on my merry way. The impact and the momentum spun me around and the guardrail smashed me along and under the jawline and Isweartogod it felt like my skull was being lifted off my neck, the thought flashed through my mind that this was what decapitation felt like. I really thought it was coming off at that second. I continued the spin, went over the guard-rail on my right side, hit the fence, bounced off again, this time flat onto my back back onto the pathway.
I couldn't move my legs, but I rolled myself over with my only weakly working limb, my right arm, and grabbed my legs and pulled them under me to try and sit up. I looked down. My left hand was crunched into a tiny fist with my fingers plaited at highly improbable angles. I couldn't understand why I couldn't feel specific injuries, until i realised my entire body was in shock and I couldn't feel specific injuries because everything hurt so much. And then I tried to move my left arm. i yelped a little bit right there, as the bones seemed to crunch under the surface, so I stopped doing that.
I used my right hand to unplait the fingers of my left and wiggled them. They moved rather sluggishly but that hurt too. I realised I was on a blind corner on a descent and was a pretty good target for the next cyclist who could be along at any minute now, so I tried to gather my legs again to stand, and fell over onto my other side This was not helpful.
Sprocketman who had been in the lead was now a good few hundred metres away, and I needed him back right now. My phone was god knows where, my bike and airhorn too far away to reach. I let out a huge Tarzan-like roar of pain and anger and hoped wherever he was by then, he'd hear and come back. I'm not saying birds stopped singing in the trees and prides of lions sought shelter, but it felt very very primal. And it felt good to get all that rage out.
Sure enough a minute later Sprocketman arrived on the scene and helped me off the path with a cheery "C'mon Hoogerland, walk it off."