The last time I gave myself a case of road rash I was probably 15. About 29 years later I was flying down Soda Hills Road near Los Gatos CA. I’d enjoyed (“enjoyed”) an epic, 1-hour climb. The weather was misty, wet, cool. I said hi to three deer, and I felt so lucky to be cycling in yet another gorgeous place. It was heavenly—until I turned around and began the descent.
A turn. A moment of worry about my speed. My hand on the rear break, squeezing too hard, always forgetting which hand is on which brake, because on a motorcycle the—preferred—front brake is on the right and on my bike its on the left. The wheel locking, the tire skidding. The lightning-quick succession of thoughts: I’m going fast, it’s slick, I’m not in control. I’m going down. No time to unclip. My knee hitting the pavement. Then my ass. The bike on top of me. The deep burning sensation as the bike and I skidded.
Then the sound I made in the silence on that mountainside: AAAOOOAAAAHHH. Motherf***er!
My bike pants were ripped and so were my knee and the side of my butt. Biking down gently, I felt shaken up, and blessed to not be down in the valley over the side of the road. Back on my hotel I showered (ouch) and drove to dinner. Wearing and sitting were painful. But I thought of my nephews after they fall. They may cry, they’ll inspect the bloody knee, they get up and move on. I remembered, and learned: just another battle wound to cherish and impress with.