So, this past Monday, I had my second bike crash in just over a month that sent me to the hospital. I don’t have that many—its been 20 years since I actually been in an ER for anything major before having these.
So, I sit here and write this, trying not to move too much, trying not to let my hamstring hurt, my ribs, knees, back and arms do their tricky magic and make me swear and yell at the air. Make me feel sorry for myself. Make me ask why is this happening?
Why did I hit those rocks so f---ing hard on the way down Mount Lemmon in the near darkness. I didn’t see them on the way up. I didn’t see anything but my headlight on asphalt. I heard nothing except wind, occasionally blowing around me as I pedaled upward. It was almost always was blowing on Monday. Blowing into my face, making be feel small and week, then blowing me from behind, making me feel all powerful.
So when I finished the climb, three miles from the Palisades, I felt good, I finished and turned back, looking at the pines silhouetted against a deep blue sky of a very early morning. I headed back down Mt Lemmon to LeBuz, a local cafe and the parking lot where I parked my car.
It was early—it is always that way it seems—no one else out yet. I have been the first up the mountain many times—then I go to work, that’s what I do.
But I love that ride down—the darkness just giving way to light, the shadow of the rock cliffs, the drop-offs, the wind in my face, making my eyes tear.
The road turned, I leaned, I cranked on the pedals and went faster—so lucky to be able to see this, to experience this trip—down the mountain.
Except I didn’t make it down on Monday. I saw the rocks, big ones, not pebbles, they just appeared, scattered everywhere, like poker chips on a gaming table. Except these chips were big and sharp.
The first sound I remembered was loud pop—my front tire exploded. The second sound? Crashing of aluminum on hard pavement—my front rim shattering. The rocks. They came so fast.
Then it was quiet, silent, I couldn’t stand up straight, but I knew why. My body was a mess and my bike was broken, my front wheel had no tire and was bent, I couldn’t walk very well, only shuffle. I wondered around, until headlights came. A stranger, a good Samaritan, took me to Tucson Medical Center, my bike lay broken in the back of her station wagon.
Now it’s the day after. I have had time to think, to see my bike that was crumpled, the helmet with blood and cracks and a big hole, and feel my body. My body and my bike broke together, on a mountain I can no longer ride.
But after the x-rays, the doctor appointments and thanks to my wife for putting up with me, I still think about what joy there is in riding for me, its still there, buried but not forgotten.
What fun it is to spin fast on two wheels, in a group on Tuesday, with kids and family, or by myself.
I think about that ride down—the fun part—and I want to do it again, soon.
Photography, Lessons Learned, and Cycling.
I have been taking pictures since I was about 6 years old. I started with a Kodak Instamatic. Just holding that Kodak was fun back then. Today, the camera badge may say "Nikon", but the fun of taking someone's photograph is still there.
Times have changed regarding photography over the past 20 years. My first business was in in Corpus Chirsti, Texas back in 1992. I went under the same name, my name, David Whitney French Photography. One of my favorite photo gigs was doing weddings. Why? Well, besides being a challenge at times, with the stress of getting the right shot in the age of film, everyone was happy! It was a happy time for the groom, bride, attendants, everyone. What more could I ask for? Hanging out, with a camera for a few hours or more with a bunch of happy people.
Oh, and I like riding my bike!