As I rolled out of work yesterday I pulled my cap down a little tighter against the rain. Hadn't been expecting rain, but considering most days I dodge the weather bullet by making it home before the rain starts or leave work after its over, AND the fact that it was warm and there was little threat of hypothermia, I decided to just brave the precipitation.
And as I headed down the US 6 bike path lightning flashed and thunder instantly boomed all around Golden.
I said a quick prayer against getting struck by lightning and then dropped down to Illinoising. I knew to slow down at the bottom of the hill so I wouldn't crash in the mud puddle I flopped around in last month.
As I rolled damply through Golden I got a strong urge to take 32nd Avenue east instead of my normal 10th Ave/Clear Creek Trail route. The trail is wide open and exposed to the sky along hwy 58 and the lightning was getting scary.
But since I'd never taken 32nd I didn't think it prudent to ride it for the first time on Inclement Weather Day. When I reached the traffic light at 13th/32nd there was construction in the right lane of Ford Street beyond. I should have taken that as a clear sign, but I didn't. I continued on Ford to 10th.
Even as I turned east on 10th the traffic was still light, but as I approached the railroad tracks at Coors I glanced over my left shoulder and saw a line of cars coming up behind me. Great! I thought, Perfect timing to crowd me as I cross the tracks.
I'd crossed said tracks numerous times in rain, snow and ice. They angle across the road, but rarely had I taken the space on the road to cross the at a 90 degree angle. And yesterday I couldn't because the overtaking cars were crowding me. The road inconveniently narrows right at the tracks.
I continued on as usual, cranking along my normal commute in the face or an abnormal deluge.
There was one tiny difference in my crossing yesterday and all of my previous crossings on wet/icy/slick tracks...Xtracycle.
Just couldn't float it with the longer wheelbase.
I lost the bike and went down on the pavement hard on my left shoulder. Luckily there was a brief lull in traffic, but someone did honk at me and only one car slowed but then went on when I stiffly picked myself up from the asphalt.
As I dragged the bike from the road and got my chain back on I knew something was jacked in my shoulder. I didn't even realize my left knee was bleeding. Road rash is my new fashion contribution this season.
I wanted to call Mandy to come pick me up. The rain, the blood, the pain...I wanted to give up. But I knew the bike would be an issue. There was no safe place to stash it, I wouldn't be able to get it on the roof of the car...I needed to ride home. But could I?
The bike was upright pointed east and there was no traffic (the irony). I gritted my teeth in determination and against the pain in my shoulder and pushed off.
It was a long ride home, but I made it. The normal jolts and bumps made me fairly certain nothing was broken, but I knew I needed an x-ray. When I got home Mandy drove me to the doctor's office up north through the continuing lightening storm. There they ascertained I have at least a strained acromioclavicular ligament. The x-ray reading will give a clearer picture and I should know something today.
For now I'm in a shoulder sling/immobilizer with little pain until I move much. Did I mention I'm left-handed?
Moral of the story: cross RR tracks at a perfect 90 degree angle and slowing down is always an option.