If you didn't already know, I joined Cucina Fresca's cycling team in the Fall. I have been heading to Seattle at leat 1x/month to go on team rides. Yesterday's ride was one for the books. It was horrific, terrible, the worst thing you could think of happened while on that ride. Okay...no one died so it wasn't the worst, but pretty awful.
The route we went on was beautiful, not too many cars, some awesome hills to climb. We went up one side of Tiger Mountain road climbed a steady climb, and began decending. By this point the group was separated. In front of me was Chris, one other women, and 2 other men. as the decent began to get steeper and windy I was only able to see the man directly in front of me. We came around a bend going pretty fast and as I neared the next turn I saw a bike laying on the guardrail. I thought to myself "oh no someone went down". So I grabbed my brakes to slow down as I watched the man in front of me slam his brakes on, lock them out and flew right over his handlebars. He landed face first into the gaurdrail and flung back like a rag doll. It was the most horrific accident I have ever witnessed. When I finally came to a stop I saw the first guy down tremoring from head to toe with blood drooling down his face onto the road. I looked up and saw the 2nd guy instantly begin to bruise on his face with blood everywhere on his face. I am so glad Chris was on this ride with us because I would have not known what to do other than call 911. I don't like looking at blood, especially on other people. I kept my distance while Chris ran to both men to try to help them. The other woman there called 911 while I tried to find the closest address to where we were.
Both men suffered severe lacerations to their face and bad bad bad concussions. The first one day split his lip open to his gum line, and also split his chin open, and suffered from head trauma. As of now he is doing okay. The other guy nearly severed his eye lid off, broke his nose, clavicle, and scapula, along with some facial fractures aside from the nose. They both were taken directly to Harborview where they went under reconstructive surgery.
I am so grateful to know these two men are alive and doing okay. It was a terrible terrible accident to watch and really makes you stop to think about your actions. How we get so comfortable throughout our lives that we almost find ourselves invinsible thinking something like that would never happen to us. As I witnessed, it can happen to anyone. Everything you know can flash right before your eyes.
This morning I heard the news of Carla Swart, an amazing athlete and professional women cyclist. On a training ride was struck by a truck and died. She died at 23. It's terrible to even imagine not being able to live to your full potential because your life was taken so quickly. In her collegiate cycling career she won 19 collegaite national titles. That's amazing and it's so unfortunate to see that talent gone.
This 2011 has not been good to cyclists and I have to remember to be safe on the road, know my surroundings, be aware of the cars, and make sure they SEE me. My dad always reminds me to make eye contact with the drivers in cars when at a stop light or stop sign. That way the car sees you. I have never been afraid of my bike, I feel very confident when I am riding, but I do need to remind myself that I am not the only one on the road, cars exists too, and when it comes to a car and a cyclists, the car will always win. WHen we are out riding we leave ourselves vulnerable to our surroundings and sometimes we forget that.