If you were asked for two defining characteristics of a typical Aussie, you would find that helping out their mates and having a laugh at the expense of others* would be right up there. Earlier this week, I had the noble intention of conducting the first and ended up providing all of my avid readers the opportunity to partake in the latter. Come to think of it, I am getting pretty bloody good at that, almost too good. Generally it is intentional but, as you will see from the dramatic saga that follows, there was certainly no intent on this occasion.
With the big ride less than a month away, and many 100km riders nervous about the climb into Mt Martha, I thought it would be the right thing for Blog Boy to do a bit of reconnaissance and report back to the troops. Apparently the 30 km trek from salubrious Sorrento to delightful Dromana is a fairly flat ride that could be reasonably expected to take less than an hour for cyclists. As I am neither reasonable nor a cyclist, AND there is a mountain (mount just isn’t as dramatic) PLUS 70 km to go, I will add 15-30 minutes. Those of you yet to start training I will add my best wishes and double the number I first thought of! Now, where were we?
A key milestone is the highway/freeway interchange. It is significant for two reasons. Firstly, it is 30km into the ride, almost a third of the way to Melbourne. Secondly, and most importantly/dauntingly/excitingly (take your pick!) it marks the climb of the ride. Stretching for over 2km this hill appears never ending, but I assure you it is not as intimidating as it sounds. It rises less than 100 metres and has a fairly steady gradient and with the right use of gears and the support of your team mates, you will be over the hill (some of you already are! Boom Boom) in no time and heading down the other side to Mornington at around 50-60km/h.
About 10km from the base of the climb you reach Mornington Autobahn, which is where my journey, on the bike at least, came to an abrupt halt. (* This is where the laugh at the expense of others starts) I came over a rise on a bend and headed down the hill and, at 37km/h, a bloody magpie swooped and collected me on the helmet. Ever conscious of traffic to my right, I pulled left and into the gutter. Hitting a drain did nothing to assist in regaining my balance.
The pedal caught the kerb, catapulting bike and rider through the sweet spring air.
Up went Blog Boy.
Up went the bike.
Down came Blog Boy.
Down came the bike.
I have checked with the seismic centre at the Bureau of Metoerology, and a tremor of 4.2 on the Richter Scale was recording in Mornington on Tuesday, September 23 at 11:15am.
As I don’t remember too much, I will share with you the comments from the witnesses. The first was “S… that looked funny, wish I had my video camera” Right old comedian he was, didn’t expect that gem! Probably would have taken the Funniest Home Video prize and left me with nothing too.
From a following rider who pulled up to assist his stricken comrade - “I saw you earlier and thought I’d try and chase you down (as if he had any hope) I looked up from the hill and you weren’t there. I thought you were kids with bags on the nature strip” Kids (plural). Bags (plural). Do I look like a whale or something? No, don't answer that - look up rhetorical for goodness sake!
Finally, from a couple waiting to turn in their car - “I saw the bird just as it swooped and the next moment you were all over the place. You hit the gutter and just flew through the air with your bike – why didn’t you let it go?” Ahh, that was because my new shoes were attached to my new pedals and it isn’t easy to take them out in mid air in less than a second!
All that being said, each of these people was most helpful, calling an ambulance and staying with me until it arrived and giving all the necessary information to the ambos – I just wish they hadn’t told them I was unconscious for 5 minutes! LOC (loss of consciousness for those unfamiliar with medical acronyms) protocol therefore dictated that I be laid flat with a neck collar, despite having no neck soreness. For goodness sake I was walking around, moving well, arms, legs, neck, back – sore but fine. Talking coherently – ahh, there must have been something wrong! These contraptions are uncomfortable at the best of times, but they are positively annoying and painful after 5 hours.
The inventory list from this spectacular crash is:
Haematoma (x2) left side of head – that means two lumps on the side of my head.
Severe concussion resulting in headaches, dizziness and nausea… or was that just a hangover???
Gut full of bruised ribs. Doctor asserts that, due to significant natural padding, there were no breaks.
Abrasions and bruising on back and shoulders.
Minor grazes to arms and legs.
Severely bruised ego, however it remains very much intact.
NOTE: Doctor’s report states “NO NEURO DEFICIENCIES”
Handlebars out of alignment.
Wheels to be checked for buckling.
This accident is a very good case for the importance of helmets; the helmet you see here is the helmet I was wearing; looks OK doesn’t it. The photo doesn’t show the cracks that would have been in my head had it been dangling from my handlebars or sitting in a shed gathering dust. Make no mistake about it, I can laugh at my own expense now, but my helmet saved me from critical injuries – I certainly wouldn’t be writing about the unceremonious dumping without it. I will be using it as an example to my kids – I hope you can use it as an example for yourselves. NEVER RIDE A BIKE WITHOUT A HELMET. NEVER!
The Meandering Mumblings
As a result of this avian initiated disaster Blog Boy’s favourite Fuji Crosstown (that’s my bike) is out of action for at least a week; can anyone lend me a bike until next Friday… please… pretty please... ahh forget it, I will not grovel. I will not grovel.
Bike or no bike (for a week) the prognosis is that nothing will stop this little black duck from not only hitting the start line on October 19, but also from finishing in Melbourne with my bum on the bike seat! Read my lips… N-O-T-H-I-N-G!
Now a slight diversion from bike riding. I am not normally one for political comment - probably because I make about as much sense as one - and whilst this is not the forum to take pot shots at the inadequacies of our government to provide for the medical needs of the state – both ambulance services and public hospitals – it is MY forum so I will make one comment. The staff are fantastic, however the volume of both people and facilities is deplorable, at least on the Mornington Peninsula as I discovered this week.
Now, I did finally make it to Frankston, however the hostible was definitely not my intended destination and nor ambulance my intended mode of transport. I was adamant that I complete this mission that I embarked on hours earlier, albeit by car rather than bike. What I can tell you is that the Mt Martha climb is the only real climb of this stretch. The rest is pretty much undulations until about 4km out of Frankston – you then ride downhill for 3 of those kilometres to reach the halfway point of the ride. You could expect to be on the brakes coming down Oliver’s Hill if you don’t feel comfortable riding at over 60 km/h. From there on it is relatively flat and I now think that if I can actually stay on the bike, a time of around 5 hours is possible.
You will also now realise why they called Collingwood the Magpies… their fans and the birds are one and the same. Pesky, annoying and aggressive bludgers with no teeth and no brains who will do anything to upset or hurt anyone without provocation and without compassion.
Until next week, spare me your sympathy (as if I needed to tell you) and get on ya’ bike!
* Disclaimer: Whilst the above is undoubtedly yet another masterpiece from the pen of Blog Boy, it must be noted that this was written by a man with severe concussion and therefore no responsibility is taken for its lack of sense or the distinct absence of what reasonable people would call humour.