oday, I took a crash course examining the difference between bruising, road rash, and broken bones. (Get it? … Crash course. Ha ha ha.)
The team had set out early at 9am on this gloriously breezy and reassuringly sunny day in beautiful Nagasaki prefecture. Our target was ambitious: Fukuoka City, some 125 km+ to the north. Although tiring, we knew our bodies were ready. It also helped that Dylan’s former host mother was expecting us. The promise of a hot shower and roof over our heads was motivation enough to gear up for full day of pedaling.
After a relatively easy 60km morning, we entered neighboring Saga prefecture on pace or better. Stopping briefly for a quick bean-paste filled bun at a convenience store, we agreed lunch would be in 25 km.
Dylan set out at a manageable but aggressive pace with me close behind. I saw Scott slightly lagging in my helmet-clipped rear-view mirror. I gave a thumbs-up sign to him and watched for reciprocation. Seeing none, I turned, full body, to look back and make sure he was okay. To my chagrin, this cost me some skin.
As I turned in my seat to see Scott clearly, I left only my left hand on the handle bars. Suddenly, I felt the bike shift as my awkward left hand failed to hold course. Facing front on the double, I had just enough time to put my hands up before the bike swerved out from under me, and the hard road rose to meet my gloved palms at 25 km/h.
I slid to a stop and lay there quite scared. My whole body stung.
A car pulled up ahead of me as I lay there half over the line, and the driver called for an ambulance before I could say whether that was necessary or not. It was hard to tell what damage had really been done. My wrist was hurting the worst, but was it broken? I didn’t know. The medics arrived and were very quick in asking me a barrage of questions in Japanese that somehow I was able respond to (more or less). Since I still wasn’t sure how bad my injuries were, I was hurried into the ambulance by the medical team, and taken to the local hospital while Scott and Dylan wheeled my relatively unscathed bike to the nearby police box for safe keeping.
At the hospital, an English-speaking surgeon named Sakai-san stayed with me to translate as the medical team efficiently x-rayed my hips, knees, and wrists. In no time, they had the film developed and told me that I had no fractures and should be fit to ride tomorrow. What a relief! Poor Dylan and Scott came about 30 minutes later after biking the 16 km to the hospital.
Needless to say, we didn’t reach Fukuoka City today. In fact, we only managed about 60 km. Now we are making camp near an old shrine on the outskirts of Takeo, the town of the accident. I feel pretty guilty for holding up the team half a day, especially because the time consuming trip to the hospital. But I’m also grateful that I escaped with only some decent scrapes.
Calves: Full of burger = happy