Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dead Batteries, a Tunnel, and Falling Off My Seat

On Sunday, I fell down.

Fall down and go boom. Badaa boom. No, I'm okay ... mostly. The seat on Jill's bike was set too high and my headlamp decided to die right inside the tunnel. I had checked the batteries earlier in the morning, but they didn't decide to die until I was on Jill's bike with the seat set too high in the tunnel. Did I tell you about the tunnel?

The Snoqualmie Valley Trail has a tunnel up by Iron Horse State Park. It's so much fun. Even if you don't want to shuttle a car to Rattlesnake Lake and ride 21.5 miles, you can go through the tunnel and then turn around and go back. It's a great thing to do on a hot day because it's nearly 50 degrees inside the tunnel.

You really need a flashlight though, and spare batteries too.  I had spare batteries, but my headlamp didn't fail until I was just inside the tunnel. Doesn't that just suck?

Then, having borrowed a bike from Jill, one with fat tires because my bike has skinny tires and can't make it through gravel, I didn't get everything set up just right before everyone took off. Oh, I thought I did, but the seat was just a little bit too high and when I stopped in the dark to put new batteries into my headlamp, my toes just didn't connect with the ground properly and I went over. Dumped. Fell down and went boom. Big badaa boom.

Since I was close to the tunnel wall, I reached out with my hand, but it didn't really connect either but the wall managed to catch my upraised hand and I fell against the underside of my shoulder with my arm raised and hyper-extended it.

Now, I've been watching Nick put his hands together above his head and stretch his shoulders in what looks like an unnatural way. It works for him. It doesn't work so well for my 54 year old shoulders.

I also bruised my thigh. The handlebars, I think, grabbed a hunk of fat on the inside of my thigh above my left knee and twisted it.

Mike came back to see if I was okay.

I was mostly okay. I could feel where my shoulder hurt, but I could comfortably stretch it out to hold the handlebars. Jill has longer arms than I do, but I managed.

And the bruise on my thigh was just a bruise. It was even heart-shaped for a little while before it spread.

I decided to keep going. Hell, I had only biked a few hundred yards before I fell. I wanted to go the whole distance. I did. I figured I could turn back in a mile or two if I didn't feel well enough to keep going.

This is biking at its best, for a novice biker, anyway. Twenty-one and a half miles of gentle down hill. I barely had to pedal. It was fun. Oh, my leg ached when I hit bumps and the fat on my leg jiggled, but I've had bruises before. This was a simple bruise. And my shoulder didn't hurt much at all while I reached out for those handlebars.

After a while, I think I got a hit of endorphins because I just felt so good, except for my jiggly bruise and my sore shoulder. I chatted with my friend Suzanne the whole way down the mountains. I think she felt bad because I fell and she didn't come back to see if I was okay. Oh, they all waited at the end of the tunnel and having that many people stopped inside the tunnel would have been a mess, but I'm glad Mike did. It's one of the things I love about Mike. He checks to see if people are okay. 

He was more worried about my bruise. "It's a nasty bruise," he said.

"It's just a bruise," I said. "I'm more worried about my shoulder."

"Do you want to go back?"

"No, I'm going to go on and see if I need to turn around in a mile or two." I really wanted to do this ride. I have always wanted to ride down a mountain. I did it once in Montana. Mike drove me to the top of Sun mountain and I rode to the bottom on my bike. It was no fun though. I spent the whole time holding onto the brakes and trying not to skid out around the switchbacks. If you want to ride your bike down a mountain, Iron Horse State Park is your ride. Just bring your Discovery Pass for your cars.

The rest of the ride was uneventful. Really. Lunch on a sunny day. Cold spots of air and warms spots flowing down the mountain sides. Bridges over gullies. People with dogs. Walkers. Intrepid uphill bikers. Climbers on one section of vertical rock. More dogs, and at the end, when we turned off the trail to get to the Rattlesnake Lake trailhead, people with dogs and inner tubes and swim suits and hot dogs and canoes. Oh, it was a lovely day.

And then, when we got home, the endorphins wore off and I could feel my shoulder and my jiggly bruise. I took Aleve and Tylenol. I iced both places. I worried a little until Mike and I went through his way of diagnosing my symptoms. Mild pain in my shoulder. Soreness and stiffness when I raised my arm. No bumps. I looked pretty even. He told me to rest it for a couple of weeks, ice it, and take anti-inflammatories. So I did.

Yesterday, I stayed on the couch most of the day. I felt bad enough that when I needed a drink, I thought about it for about a half hour before I got up. Ice, Tylenol, and Aleve. I was pretty good but I was sore, really sore.

This morning, I felt just well enough to use the computer. I love WebMD. It's a way to go to the doctor without having any copays, without having to get an X-ray, and without having to explain the stupid thing I did to get myself into this mess. I used the symptom checker. It came up with exactly the same diagnosis that Mike did. Isn't he smart?

Now, I need to rest, take my anti-inflammatories, and ice my shoulder and my jiggly bruise.

I guess I'm not going to Costco today.

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