Bank holiday weekend... Beautiful sunshine, warm air-the perfect weather for a long training ride into the country from central London on my lovely new full carbon steed in preparation for riding a sportive on Monday. Feeling strong, the chain is gently humming and though the roads are busier than normal, feel good, it's not long before outside the sprawl and into the countryside where I can get into a good tempo.
Fast forward little over and hour later and it goes something like this:
Flash of silver in peripheral vision.
A surge of noise, then a wall of crushing pressure, the air becomes solid metal.
Oxygen pushed from lungs on impact, body twisting as it is violently obliged to alter its course, folded out of position. Fleeting recognition that the consequence of what is in progress cannot be stopped or altered. It is now inevitable. It is happening.
Body tumbling, involuntarily contorted in mid-air, mind shocked but aware worse is yet to come: bracing for impact.
Unforgiving concrete, searing pain as an awkwardly twisted body finally embraces it. A penetrating scrape registers as the new and treasured bike reconciles itself to it's ill-fated meeting with the road, simultaneous to an exposed elbow smashing into abrasive surface.
Desperately trying and failing to to get up, to get out of the middle of the road and to safety. Try to crawl. Unable to focus and so many voices screaming agony that the brain can't know which to listen to.
Relieved awareness of people running to help, kind hands providing scaffolding to sagging limbs, voices asking questions, trying to answer, feeling embarrassed and trying to move, being held down.
Hear a voice saying 'he rode straight into me', another saying 'we saw exactly what happened-he did nothing of the sort'
Pain, sirens, sunglasses removed, blinding sunlight, neckbrace, questions from kind medic, 'what's your name how old are you where are you from how far have you riden how long... insistent probing, hot tarmac, large needle, syringe, electrodes, more sirens, blank faces staring from passing cars.
Trussed up and rolled onto a rigid board, tied down, bundled into ambulance. Relief to be in the shade, away from peering eyes, but more concerned faces, more questions, more probing, more electrodes. Someone asking what to do with the bike. More panic. 'There are irregularities'-more panic. Realise legs moving, get some calm, shooting pain with every irregular jolt of the ambulance. On a scale of one to ten how much does it hurt now...
Quickly wheeled through hospital... quiet booth, cool, everything calm. Start to gather senses. Policeman appears, pain easing but movement invites violent response in lower back... wheeled into x-ray, instructions, wheeled out.
Impatient policeman wanting to call a friend so he can leave, driver has been charged, 'do I want anything else from him?'
Doctor. 'What happened?' Prodding, pulling, concerned face. Swabs.
Back to x-ray. More instructions. Back to booth.
Doctor. 'what happened?' Shirt off. Probing. 'Suspicious line' try to stand, pain, relief, joints ominously cracking. Pain.
Friendly faces arrive, bike safe. Relief. Gratitude.
Another doctor, 'what happened?' 'Possible fracture'.
Wheeled to a different ward, water, waiting, start to think. Anger. another doctor, 'what happened?'
'We can't see anything just now, and even if we could we can't do anything. Come back in 10 days.' Relief. Bloody bandage peeled off reluctant skin. Blood. Big needle out of arm. More blood. Forms. Here's some pain relief-it will hurt ten times worse tomorrow.'
'You can go now.'
'I've just been in an accident'
Can't sleep, mind racing, everything sore. Reconstruct events in my mind, it wasn't my fault, it definitely wasn't my fault. Was it? No. How am I supposed to go back to work? What does the driver being charged mean? Do I need a lawyer?
Wake up. Doctor wasn't lying.
Everything aches. Neck stiff, back protesting at every movement, sitting hurts, lying down hurts, walking hurts, moving head hurts, drinking hurts, strange pains in my legs, abdomen, knee, can't use my right arm properly. Won't be able to work. For how long? Won't be able to ride. How long? Don't know what to do with myself. More anger. What should I do? Read up on internet. Email lawers. Call police.
Feel lucky to be alive. Feel anger and the reckless person who did this to me.
On a scale of one to ten, how much does it hurt now?
More than it should.