Riding down a favourite local descent, on my way home, feeling fantastic because the weather was splendid, zooming along faster than ever over dry, dusty trails. Brilliant. Then my front wheel skipped unexpectedly sideways.
I slammed into the ground and heard the “Bang!” as my head walloped the floor and the impact jarred my teeth. The first thing I noticed as I picked myself up was the surprisingly large amount of water from my left eye that had splashed onto the inside of my glasses. I sat up, the bike still on top of me, breathing deeply and awash with adrenaline. Messages were still coming into my brain from bits of my body, and I was unsure if anything had been properly damaged yet, so I deliberately focused on breathing to calm myself down. I took my glasses off and wiped them so I could see again. My hands were fine, I could sit up, nothing was screaming pain at me yet. “Phew. I think I got away with it this time.”
Throwing the bike off I noticed that my head ached and I was seeing stars, tiny flashes of light in my peripheral vision. The colours of things momentarily went a bit funny. Concussion? “It is ok, this will pass,” I told myself. “Any blood anywhere? No, you’ve landed on dust, not rocks this time, excellent. Breathe. Breathing hurts, why is that?” I prodded my ribcage experimentally. Yes, something was definitely wrong there on the left hand side, but probably not too bad.
I stood up, slowly, carefully. “It is ok, adrenal gland, you can come down from DEFCON 1 now, death is not imminent.” I was still a bit winded. I looked around. “Nobody saw me crash then. Why does nobody ever see it when I crash?” I took off my helmet and examined it. There was no obvious damage at all, which I thought odd as I had landed quite hard right on top of my head. “I should probably get a new one to be on the safe side. I wonder what’s good in helmets at the moment?” I checked my pockets, all my stuff was still there. “Not that big then, stop making a fuss. You’ve had worse.”
I sat back down for a little bit longer. The evening was warm, the sun had dropped behind the hill, a motorbike was making a right racket on the main road. My chain had come off. I pulled it back over the chainrings, checked nothing was damaged on the bike, and got back on. I rode the rest of the hill more carefully now my ribs were sore and my left arm was a bit dead. That night’s sleep was fitful, and I ached badly the morning after. My chest is still hurting quite a bit on the left side, four days later, but it’ll mend in time.