Monday, June 7, 2010


It was my best ride yet.  

Ged and I drove to Rimini on the east coast of Italy on Friday morning for some riding and camping by the sea.  That afternoon, we headed out on our bikes up into the mountains until reaching San Marino.  The climbs were beautiful—miles of lush valleys, the bluest of skies. 

I was pushing myself and feeling great; I didn’t even downshift to the small chainring.  We rode about 45 km before deciding to turn around. 

The downhill rush was incredible.  I felt like one those Olympic bobsleds just blazing down the pavement without effort.  

My body leaned and bent with every twist and turn as if it were the most natural thing in the world.  And when the descent was just about finished, it happened:  I miscalculated the sharpness of a turn and crashed into a guardrail.  Hard.

At first, I didn’t realize how serious the damage was.  I was laughing because of how stupid the mistake was, but when I looked down at my bike I wasn’t laughing anymore.  I severed my carbon fork, bent my wheel irreparably and scratched up my handlebars.

And in that moment, I cried.  I didn’t care about the blood streaming down my arms or legs as I bent over the guardrail.  I was in more pain looking at the dismemberment of my week-old Bianchi

Ged squirted water over my wounds while I wept on the side of the ride.  Ten minutes later, a family in a nearby house escorted us into their home, assessed my wounds and drove me to the hospital.  Although they spoke no English and I spoke no Italian, I felt comfortable and safe with these perfect strangers.  They were constantly offering ice packs, glasses of water and wet towels to wipe off the dirt and blood.

The hospital visit was quick and painless.  The emergency room tech disinfected my road rash and bandaged my gashes.  Lying on the table, my body would occasionally jolt from a sob, and in broken English the tech would ask, “Why crying?  Pain?”  I simply told her that it was my that bike I was ailing me, not my body.

Here are some pictures of the story I just told you:

Our sweet little campsite.  Taken just before we set out on The Ride:

Leaving the hospital in San Marino:

Fresh wounds:

Sleeping in the tent that night was probably not the best choice, but I love sleeping outside and I didn’t want to leave.  We had only just gotten to Rimini. 


Some early morning reading in the fresh outdoors:

We spent all day in the sun.  I wanted to let my boo-boos breathe after having been wrapped up in gauze the whole night.  

If this beach is any indication of what other Italian beaches might be like, then I’m in for a treat.  There were all shapes and sizes here—young, old, fat, skinny, half-nude, hairy.  I got a real chill vibe that made me not care about the hideous gashes on the left side of my body.  I really appreciated this easy-going atmosphere because some South Florida beaches are full of judgmental and plastic people. 

Ged took some shots of the day-old injuries:




Ged’s boss scored some tickets to the Italian Gran Premio, a big motorbike race just outside Florence, so I spent all day in the sun again.  

I was limping around and trying to put on a happy face while Ged and his boss gallivanted around the paddock area.  

It's quite funny actually because the really famous Italian rider Valentino Rossi fell off his bike too and couldn't compete in the race.  I feel your pain, bro.

The best part of the day was watching the crowd rush the track after the last race finished.  People went nuts!  There were mopeds speeding around, people burning flags and motocrossers tearing up the sand pits at the track’s edges.  

Ged's pics:

Here's the man himself:

It was a LONG day.

I was glad to get back home to my apartment and clean my wounds.  The one on my arm started to turn colors and I could feel the bandages on my leg beginning to stick to my skin.

I went to the bike store where we got the bike and talked with two guys who worked there.  They said to leave the bike there and call back tomorrow afternoon to find out their assessment.  I’m nervous because I know it’s going to cost a lot, but I’m determined to fix this problem.

Ever been in a really terrible accident involving a bike?  Do tell.

Going to a MUSE concert tomorrow.  If you haven't heard of them, look 'em up!

1 comment:

  1. I have a two inch gash on my right wrist after being towed on the back of a bike (along Miramar Parkway) we took a sharp turn and then gravity took us down for a 5 yard skid along the pavement.