Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bike Ride Report - Solomons Century and the Dangers of Wal-Mart

Yesterday, I made my second attempt at a Crista ride this year. I finished, eventually. Here I am, after 10 hours and 102 miles, in 90 degree heat.

Most of the reason it took so long was because I got hit by a car. This one here.

Driven by her.

As it turns out, if I hadn't got hit by the car, it probably would have taken a lot longer. Here's the story.

So I started out fine, but after 10 miles I got a flat tire. The tube was the second of two new Forte (Performance Bike house brand) tubes I got for cheap last week. The first of the two went flat in the shed overnight, and then again after I patched it. So I decided these Forte tubes are junk, and I put on my last spare tube, which I got with the bike when I bought it off E-Bay a year and a half ago.

At 25 miles, I had some food (ham and cheese bagel) at the Wawa, which was tasty and delicious, and I'm feeling great.

At 35 miles, I'm riding through Prince Frederick on MD 2-4, in the marked bike lane, and the car above does not yield at the yield sign, and runs into me. She basically was going about the same speed as I was, and her front bumper hit around my rear hub and pushed me over. I think I was going about 15 mph, based on the GPS track. Down I went.

After I got done yelling at the girl, I examined myself with the help of another driver who acted like he had first responder training. I have some road rash on my elbow, hip, and knee, and bruise on my shin where the handlebar hit it, and a torn shirt (which was my favorite sweat-wicky Patagonia workout shirt). No damage to the bike.

The girl was very horrified, and profusely apologized, and explained how she didn't see me because her two kids in car seats were throwing stuff at her while she was driving. I took a picture of her and her car in case I keel over dead later. I told her it looks like I'm OK, and the bike is OK. The guy who stop and inspected me for damage agreed. I told her she could go.

So I get back on the bike and keep going. The bruised shin is a little sore, and the scrapes sting, but it's nothing major. Two and a half miles later, I have another flat tire. And I realize the tube is probably as old as the dry rotted tire that blew up on me last week, and I might have a problem since I have no more tubes. So I set to patching the tube.

A few minutes later, a Calvert County police car pulls up, followed by the Sheriff. I told the police officer I have a flat, and it's no problem. He asks if I was in an accident at the Wal-Mart. I said I was. He said an eyewitness had reported a pedestrian hit by a car. I told him it was me who got hit, told him the story, and showed him my various scrapes and bruises. He asked if I got the ID of the driver. I said no, because I think I'm fine, but I took some pictures just in case. I showed him the pictures on my iPhone, he took down the license of the car, and he took my information from my driver's license. I told him the driver didn't attempt to flee the scene, I told her she could go after I decided I was OK and the bike was OK. He asked me if I needed any medical assistance, or if I wanted to file a complaint, and I said no, I was fine. He said he had all the information he needed, and to call the county office if any injuries appear later. I thanked him for following up.

I have to say I think the Calvert County police are first rate, and I really appreciate their diligence, professionalism, and the way they take cyclists seriously.

So as soon as the police pull off, I'm putting the bike back together, and two cars pull over. The one who hit me, and another one. A woman gets out of the other one and says "I'M HER BIG SISTER WHAT WERE YOU TELLING THE POLICE!"

I told her an eyewitness at Wal-Mart had seen the accident and called it in. The police found me fixing my flat tire by the side of the road. I told the big sister what I told the police, that I was OK, and that I told her sister she could go, and wasn't fleeing the scene or anything like that. They both calmed down some, and asked if I was sure I was OK. I said I was, and I started pumping up the tire. They went back to their cars.

And I keep pumping up the tire, but the pressure is going down because the patch didn't hold. Now I am stuck.

Luckily, there were a couple girls nearby who owed me a favor. I explained my predicament, and how I don't think getting hit by the car caused my tire to go flat, but would they possibly be able to give me a lift up to Wal-Mart so I could get some more inner tubes?

They did, and I was back on the road in no time. The girl who hit me gave me a friendly wave when she drove off.

All this flat tire business wound up costing me an hour, so by the time I got to Solomons, everyone else was long gone. Here is the view of the mouth of the Pautuxent from the end of the land.

The rest of the day was very hot, in the 90s, and it was quite exhausting. I stopped for a Gatorade in North Beach, to prepare for the steep hills I remembered from when I did this ride a few years ago. On the way back the route goes up the very cool Leitch Road, through a huge horse farm estate called Tocaro. My GPS claimed at one point Leitch Road has a 28% grade! It was bad, but not that bad, and not for long.

Rooting around on the tubes, it seems Tocaro was for sale recently. It was $5M, but it was reduced for $4.3M, and it's no longer listed. No idea if it sold or they gave up. I'd rather buy Belmont, which is going for about that much, and is much more convenient to work.

Here is a real estate listing site for Tocaro, and a virtual tour. The house is 10,000 square feet, and built in the 1930s. You'd think it's older based on the ancient cedar trees that border the property. The Maryland Historical Trust doesn't have much to say about it.

Here is the GPS track for the day.

No comments: