A few years ago, I was starting to get back into running and looking for a group in town to run with. I’ve often found it easier to find the motivation to go on a run if there are other people there who expect to see me. The first group I found was the Boise Hash House Harriers. They were a fun group and great for getting me back into running. After a few months, I decided I was more interested in running and less interested in drinking, hazing and singing so the Hash was probably not the place for me. This was not before I got my Hash Name.
When you run with the Hash, you rarely use your real name. After they’ve known you for a while you get a Hash Name which is the only name most of them know each other by and almost always offensive in some way. I got my name biking home from a run. As I was leaving the parking lot on my bike, I moved my hand from the top of the handlebars to the drop bar. At this exact moment, I hit a small pothole and the wheel twisted away from me. My hand missed the drop bar, throwing me further off balance and causing the wheel to twist to a full 90°. I was only going about 5 mph but it was enough to launch me over the handlebars and slam me onto the parking lot. Beaten and bloody, I eventually got up and biked home.
The following week, I attended the Hash again. Still moving slowly, but happy to get out on another run. When the closing ceremony started (the final and largest hazing session of the evening), it was announced that I had a new name. Henceforth, I would be know as “Asphalt”. It turns out this was not only because of what I landed on, but rather they felt my injury was my own “dumb-ass fault” (or perhaps “dumb ass-fault“).
This winter has been particularly snowy and icy in Boise. We’ve had more snow accumulation than ever before and the snow has stayed longer than I ever remember. As such, it’s been a tough time to bike. I had been fortunate enough to not crash my bike in any serious manor, despite very slick conditions. That was until Tuesday.
As I was riding home, I was happy to see how clear the roads were. We’d had some rain which had broken up most of the snow and ice that was still left on the major roads. I was riding up 11th approaching Myrtle and hadn’t seen any ice for over a block. The light was green and, thinking mainly of safety, I kept an eye on it to ensure it didn’t change as I approached. Once I was certain I’d make it through before it changed, I looked back down at the road. Directly ahead of me was an ice island several inches tall. As cars drive down the road, they move back and forth in their lane breaking up the large piles of ice. When they come to a stop light, they tend to line up in the same spot as the car ahead which leaves an island of ice between the two sets of tires.
I saw the looming ice just a few feet before I hit it. I turned to avoid the center of it and caught just the edge. It was enough to send the bike flying out from underneath me and me flying through the air like Superman. I slammed into the asphalt with enough speed to knock my wind out. Realizing that I was flat on the ground, in the middle of the road, at night with my bike lights several feet away, I jumped up as quickly as I could so any approaching car would see my silhouette before they hit me. Luckily there were no cars coming.
As I stood there, trying to catch my breath, a self-assessment told me the only injury I had was ribs on the left side. Eventually, I got back on the bike and continued to ride. Other than a tear in my jacket, there are no outward signs of the accident. Overall, I feel fortunate that it wasn’t any worse.
This morning, I tried going on a short run. It still hurts to breathe; coughing and sneezing are torturous. At coffee afterwards, I mentioned why I was running slowly today. One of the other runners commented, “Wilson Creek was yesterday. Didn’t you do the same thing two years ago?” Indeed I did. That was my first DNF all because of the same injured rib from a bike accident the week before the Wilson Creek 50k.
After the first rib injury, I thought I was unlucky. After the second, I thought I might be completely unfortunate. Now, after three… maybe I just need to accept that sometimes asphalt will win and sometimes Ass-Fault will lose.