|Shenandoah St. /Guthrie looking north.|
I think my accident on Labor Day 2011 may have left me more damaged than I originally thought. I don't mean physical damage. It is damage to my courage. While most of the time I can simply ride my bike around without any problem, I find myself being very timid with rough spots in the road. Lately it seems to be worse for some reason. Well, I have nearly lost my balance a couple of times and aggravated an old injury in my foot, so I know I am being cautious because of that. Any little extra bumpiness in the pavement seems to make me slow down to a crawl, tho. I don't have the confidence I used to. My confidence is particularly bad going west on Venice Blvd. between National and the 405. Going east is not so bad there, but west is fraught with obstacles. I cannot just comfortably swing out into traffic to move around things in the bike lane despite seeing others do it, and so I am slow in the bike lane. But it isn't just the bike lane.
Yesterday National just seemed overwhelming to me, so I thought I'd take a back alley to hook up with Regent. But the moment I hit the back alley, I sort of froze... the road was terribly rough and uneven, and I suddenly lost confidence in my ability to balance... and I froze... unable to move forward for several seconds. Finally I simply dismounted the bike and walked it to a smoother area. As it turned out, the alley was a dead end and I had to backtrack to National, but I froze again when I came to that rough part...then I froze again when it was time to move onto National. I don't know what's wrong with me lately. Of course I'm terrified of being injured again like I was a year ago. That pain was so horrific. I was so happy to get back onto Regent and smoother streets. I watch those ruts in the street - anything that could catch my tire and flip me off the bike. And every time I narrowly miss one of those ruts, I feel a surge of adrenelin from fear.
When I had the crash, I could not get up for several minutes. I wasn't sure if my kneecap was shattered. I wasn't sure if my knee would hold my weight. I didn't know how to get up on one leg, and it wasn't like anyone was helping me up. When I finally did get up, I had to get back on my bike no matter how severe the injury... I had to pedal, and that was almost impossible. I gave my left leg all the work and my right leg just was there for the ride, but I was seeing stars as I was riding... so slowly.
I want to ride the PCH, but I keep hearing about cyclists being killed on it, even though cyclists ride it all the time. But I have a panic when a big city bus goes by me, so how will I ever fair with traffic at 55+ mph?