A question of luck?

I think I’ve just about warmed back up, although my feet still feel cold. Last night I subjected them to the an outdoor ice bath, or as we triathletes like to call it open water swimming.

I thought as it was pouring down, blowing a gale and generally the sort of weather that you’d think twice about cycling or running in that it would be quiet. Boy was I wrong, 60 odd nutters turned up and for the first time in 5 years I was actually parked in an overflow car park. There is no indoor changing, no showers, just the overhanging lip of gym roof to shelter under, however last night the restaurant had left the gazebo up on the patio for us to shelter under. “Let’s do the safety briefing under the gazebo to stop everyone getting wet” the organizer announced without a hint of sarcasm. I couldn’t hear, I already had my ear plugs in and was wearing two swim hats in a futile attempt to keep the heat in.

Within seconds of hitting the water I couldn’t feel my hands and feet, I dived under the water to get my face wet and after the initial shock it didn’t feel too bad. I’d agreed to swim with my mate Chris who is doing his first Ironman this summer in Bolton. Chris has an even greater fear of open water than me, we are talking panic attacks. Strangely though he’s a strong swimmer and his completed swims in places like Liverpool’s Albert Dock and Derwent Water. We spent a few minutes treading water watching the main bunch swim away, just talking, you know calming the nerves. Gently we swam out to the start bouy, about 50m off shore. Stopping, we talked some more and then I just shadowed Chris for a couple of laps. Staying on his left hand side at all times, I was there just to help if he panicked. I wasn’t needed and Chris swam great. I struggled a bit with my breathing ( I guess I’m not over the virus I’ve had recently ) especially swimming the longest part of the course int a headwind. I’ve never seen waves like that on a lake before.

Funnily enough standing on the side of the lake, peeling off the wetsuit, I suddenly didn’t feel the cold anymore yet I was shivering. Chris was just grinning like a Cheshire cat.

Thankfully my right shoulder felt ok when I was swimming, I was a little worried as it still felt a bit stiff after I was hit by a car on Thursday night. Yeah you read that right.

I was out cycling after work in the Trough of Bowland, a stunning part of the world. I was on a deserted country road, wearing bright red. Trust me, I didn’t blend in. The road is wide enough for two cars to pass if they breathe in so I wasn’t concerned when I heard a car approaching from behind. They had plenty of space to pass me. Even so I was riding close to the verge.


The next thing I know I’m in a crumpled heap on the grass with my bike next to me. It takes a few seconds to register where I am. Memory comes back and instinctively reach for my shoulder which is stinging. Turning around I can make out a black people carrier speeding away, unfortunately given their generic shape I can’t make out the make and model, and have no chance with the registration.

Picking myself up, my shoulder feels stiff but I can move it without pain ( no break ) the rest of me seems fine and apart from my chain being off the bike is in one piece also. I’m guessing that the wing mirror hit me as the car sped past, I was lucky that it didn’t hit me in the back of the head.

What got to me the most was that the bastard didn’t stop, they just left me there on a deserted road in a heap. I could have been seriously injured or worse. Thankfully I wasn’t. I reported the incident to the police, who were very good, but as I already thought they don’t hold out much hope of finding the person.

Don’t let this put any of you off, think off how many miles we all ride each year, and how rare these accidents are. Each time we get on a bike on the road we are at risk, but statistics show you are at greater risk in a car.

Some have said how unlucky I was to be hit, I think how lucky I was that I wasn’t worse.Just be careful out there.


One response to “A question of luck?

  1. Unfortunately this seems to be a world wide phenomonon. I recently got hit by a full bottle of coke thrown from a car, by someone who obviously thought it would be a good laugh. At the time I would have appreciated the drink, but certainly not in that way.
    You may be interested to have a look at http://www.amygillett.org.au/ It is a foundation setup on behalf of Amy Gillett an outstanding cyclist who was killed by a motorist. Whilst they won’t be able to help you here without being able to identify the car. They are VERY active in supporting cyclists and I hear they have had some great results in assisting cyclists who have come to grief.

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