Today's "ETS" ride couldn't have begun any worse. I wasn't a hundred yards from my house when I washed out on a icy sidewalk. Normally when I crash on my mountain bike I know it's coming and it's a rather slow, exaggerated action. Time slows down and I can see every motion and comprehend the physics of the crash with vivid clarity -- even as I prepare for the inevitable mouthful of dirt. Not this time. One moment I was up and the next instant I was on my back, writhing on the frozen ground in agony.
I thought I broke my hip.
I've slid out on ice before, but never like this. It was a violent slam to the ground and I landed right on my hip bone. It was startling in its abruptness and the pain was unusual. It was certainly the most severe pain I've felt since cartwheeling down the road at 30 miles-per-hour on my road bike 8 years ago. Adding insult to injury was that not five seconds after my crash, my cellphone started to ring.
I thought of the lady in those LifeAlert commercials -- the "I've fallen and I can't get up!" lady -- and may have cracked a smile if I wasn't groaning and moaning from the pain. Two women walking by saw the spill and asked if I broke anything. I considered pointing to my house and having them get Kristin, but I told them I was okay and tried to walk it off. I limped around for a while and although my leg hurt tremendously, I was fairly certain I hadn't fractured my hip or pelvis and tentatively re-mounted the bike. My phone continued to ring...
Seven other riders met me at 10am in the main park on Snoqualmie Ridge for the unveiling of my "Ridge to Ridge" training ride that I've done many times last year. It's a 30-mile out-and-back trip utilizing the woodchip trails around the development, the paved Preston-Snoqualmie Trail, some of the road near High Point, and the singletrack Grand Ridge trail. It started snowing on us as we gathered, but the sun did ultimately burn through the clouds and although it was cold, we managed to avoid the precipitation.
The ice had everyone on edge -- not only did I fall, but several in the group suffered bad spills the day prior -- but we made good time down to the Grand Ridge trailhead and were soon zipping along through not-too-muddy singletrack and admiring the quiet beauty of a northwest fern-filled forest draped in lingering snow.
The decision to impose a rider limit and rate the ride as "Fast" on the BBTC calendar proved helpful. We were able to keep a good pace going with just two or three brief snack-breaks. One rider pulled up lame with a pretty sore back right at the turnaround point so we skipped the extension down to the Issaquah High School Trail and came straight back.
My hip hurt steadily throughout the ride, but not enough to be debilitating, just enough to remind me of the spill I took. We ended up with an even 30 miles and 3,000 feet of climbing and were out playing in the mud and snow for just over 3.5 hours.
The ETS series moves on to Woodinville next Saturday for a double-dose of the Thrilla course. I can't wait.