Because we’re so close to Ironman Wisconsin and because I’m so tired — tired past the point of being able to explain it or even care if people understand why I’m too tired to care about them — I’ve been waiting for something bad to happen. It seemed about time for some kind of accident or emergency room visit. And then during the Oakland Triathlon on Saturday, it was such a mess of a race — the roads were bad, the course had dozens and dozens of sharp turns, there were too many people of too varied ability on that not totally closed course, plus it was raining — that I just kept waiting for something bad to happen. So many people were crashing on the turns, and I was taking them so carefully and so slowly, so naturally I crashed on the straight downhill.
I hit a pothole and then I hit two more potholes. I knew I was about to hit the first hole too, but it was too late to really swerve in those conditions; I thought I’d just ride through it. And that worked fine, but then I hit the second one and the third and my hands came off the bars and the wheel turned and I was skidding across the ground.
I knew I was crashing too as I crashed. I’m pretty sure I yelled, “Fuck” multiple times as I rolled and my bike rolled over me. Actually, I’m pretty sure I said, “Fuck” more than 100 times in total on Saturday.
It was this odd thing, because fairly quickly I was sure that I was “fine” in that sense that I wasn’t going to die or have any permanent damage. I wasn’t sure, though, that I wasn’t going to pass out or that I didn’t have some pretty bad temporary damage. So I was trying to self-asses, and swearing like crazy, and bleeding all over, and then focusing really hard on not passing out (which is a super special skill of mine). But when I eventually stood up to get out of the road, so I wouldn’t get hit by people still racing, I couldn’t really use my right arm to get up, and that hurt a lot, so then I really was about to pass out. Which meant I had to lay back down on the sidewalk. And I was laying there curled up on my non-bleeding side on the sidewalk somewhere in a commercial part of West Oakland, muttering “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck” over and over and trying to focus on one thing so I wouldn’t pass out. I was staring at my foot and part of me was looking at the rain and the dirt everywhere and thinking how much this was going to hurt later to clean out, and the other part of me thought ‘my ankle looks really skinny, that’s weird.’
An ambulance came and there really wasn’t much they could do, because if it’s not broken and it doesn’t need stitches or surgery (which it was decided it didn’t) then there’s honestly no real point in going to a hospital. As a professional ER-goer, let me tell you: most of the time, you don’t need to go to the ER. Are you going to spend $15,000 to drive in an ambulance so that some people, who may or may not have more experience than you cleaning out cuts, can clean out your cuts? And then you’ll still be wet and cold and stuck like that for more than a few hours, and they won’t have dry clothes for you and they won’t have food, and you won’t have a way to tell anyone where you are or how to come get you. No, that’s just dumb, and also a misallocation of resources.
Since the ambulance definitely wasn’t going to give me a ride back to the finish and I was starting to shake from cold or shock, and there apparently was no race support to pick up all the people crashing all over the place, and I debated trying to bike it but threw that idea out pretty quickly since I couldn’t use one of my hands or my other arm, eventually one of the totally freaked out volunteers went and got her car to give me a ride back. Which was really nice of her and I hope I didn’t bleed all over her car — but, also, how was that the official system?
Now I have cuts all down my right side, lots of skin gone across my shoulder/back, and a nasty cut/bump on my elbow. I also apparently landed on top of the bike with my knee, so that’s starting to swell too. And I managed to dislocate my left thumb earlier in the race, getting out of the swim. It’s all stuff that should heal. Hopefully, soon. Hopefully, before Wisconsin.
There was this weird part of me too that was relieved a tiny bit that the bad thing happened and it wasn’t that bad. I was like ‘this is fiiiiiine.’
But now I’m tired again, so tired. And cleaning out the cuts across my back was more painful than actually getting the cuts across my back. (I found myself wondering if you can pass out from pain. I think you can, right?) And now I’m in that part in between when you’re busy just dealing with a problem, and the time when that problem is actually better. It’s the part where everyone else is like ‘Wait, you’re still complaining about that?’ And you’re like why is my shoulder still dripping ooze on the floor?