Outdoor Report

Looking for Heather

Posted 7/30/20

Get on your bike,” they said. “It’ll improve your health,” they said.

I’m not new to cycling. I used to race mountain bikes and have done some long distance road …

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Outdoor Report

Looking for Heather


Get on your bike,” they said. “It’ll improve your health,” they said.

I’m not new to cycling. I used to race mountain bikes and have done some long distance road rides. But that was decades ago. I traded in my racing team jersey for cheeseburgers, onion rings and chocolate shakes in the late ’90s. Many pounds later, my doctor told me it might be wise to improve my conditioning. So I decided to do what I knew best: run and ride.

I’d been riding alone since spring. It was exciting to finally get a partner, even if it was just for the day. We were about 1.5 miles into our ride, chatting and enjoying the early evening on a beautiful July day. I must have been a little too exuberant; while following my riding partner, I looked up to see his back tire within inches of my front tire.

Fearing I would cause him to wreck, I must have panicked and squeezed my front brake a bit too hard. The rest is a little fuzzy. The only thing I remember about the fall was seeing the pavement sliding by. The next thing I knew, I was struggling to get up and my arms and knees were stinging.

The first person I saw was a stranger, a passing motorist who witnessed the fall and had stopped to offer help. I think her name was Heather.

I remember telling her I was OK and planned on continuing my ride. Adrenaline was coursing through my veins and I was embarrassed to have caused such a spectacle. Blood dripped down my face and I was having a hard time picking up my bike. She looked very concerned, offering me a ride or to call for help.

I tried to convince her I was OK. “I’ve been in worse bike wrecks,” I told her.

That was a lie.

I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about until after I arrived home and saw my face in a mirror. At that point I understood why everyone was looking at me with such concern. Although my face looked pretty gnarly, my main issue was my right arm and hand. As the adrenaline wore off, it started to throb. X-rays revealed the damage; 4-6 weeks recovery time.

Honestly, after working from home for several weeks in an effort to be socially distant, I was depressed about the thought of more time isolated and watching Price is Right reruns.

As time went on with nothing more to do but to analyze and regret, I started to look for the silver lining:

I was wearing a helmet. Had I not been wearing one, my elbow may have been the least of my concerns. I haven’t always been a fan of helmets. I’ve argued against them in the past. After the accident, I’m now a huge fan and will never ride without one in the future. I hope everyone can get past the dopey look of helmet hair and opt for safety.

I had help at home. My wife, Diana, has had years of experience assisting folks in need and never fails to be there when needed. It’s hard to go about a daily routine without the use of your dominant hand and arm. It’s near impossible to tie shoes and put on your pants with one hand. Worse yet, try to get your pants off in an emergency situation. Needless to say, Diana saved me from further embarrassment several times and never made me feel bad about being useless.

My riding partner hasn’t given up and has gone on many walks with me since. I refuse to give up my attempt to get in shape. James is always great company, but I wonder if he enjoys the walks or simply goes to ensure I don’t end up out cold on the pavement or in a ditch.

I fell on our first walk after the accident, jamming my thumb on my left hand. I started to think I should have someone following me with a video camera and cash in on viral video money.

After landing on the pavement, yet another passing motorist had stopped to see if I was OK. This time I didn’t break anything, but the jolt to my already injured elbow just about made me leak from the eyes. I thanked Powell Officer David Ferguson for stopping and ensured him I was OK to make it home. But I never got the opportunity to properly thank Heather.

It’s comforting to know, should you need assistance, the wonderful folks of Powell are willing to help in your worst moments. Thank you, Heather (if that is your name).

The bruises, lacerations and broken bones are healing quickly, but I won’t soon forget the generosity and kindness of strangers in our little slice of heaven.

Outdoor Report