The Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic is this weekend. I won’t be riding this year, but the dates are significant to me because they mark the one-year anniversary of the fractures of my right sacrum and obturator ring and two pubic bones.
It would have been an outstanding ride for me but for the incident. I was in terrific riding shape — best in years — and I made a last-minute decision to do the double century with a couple of friends who were volunteering as medical-technical assistants.
We were just pulling into Napavine early Sunday morning, just 20 miles or so into our second day of riding. As we took a right from Second Avenue Northeast to East Washington Street, I noticed a worn pickup truck on our left side. It took the turn with us and slowed almost to a halt. The driver’s tentativeness caught my attention, then I watched in disbelief as he cut in front of us to pull into an angled on-street parking space in front of the Taste of Alaska Family Restaurant.
We were in a group of 10 or 12 riders, and we all scurried to react, reaching frantically for our brakes. My front wheel went into the bike in front of me, and I went down hard on my right side. My right forearm began to swell and bleed, and one of my friends, a medical doctor, doused the area with numbing antiseptic and bandaged it. I could feel some strange sensations in my pelvic area, and I figured the fall had strained it badly.
The driver of the pickup truck ignored the calamity he caused and went swiftly into the restaurant. I wrote a note with my finger in the dirty back window of his truck, something like: “You cut us off. Because of you, I crashed.” I signed it, “56-year-old woman.”
In all my years of riding, I’ve never experienced such a thoughtless, cruel act. The driver must have been aware of what he did. He slowed just enough to make a conscious decision that he would turn directly in front of us and ignore the consequences. That is my conclusion after mentally going over the scene again and again.
I want to send this message to the people of Lewis County to use caution and care this weekend. Please know that all kinds of good people ride in the STP. We’re trying to stay fit in our older years, and we like to explore the beautiful parts of our state. Although I won’t be part of the pack, I will pray for the riders that they will have a safe and pleasant journey.