So I set off from Berea on Sunday morning, heading towards the transamerica trail despite google maps telling me that there was a shorter way with less hills to Harrodsburg which was my destination for the day. But I had decided to follow the official route, so off I went. I was feeling pretty good, but the hills were pretty brutal and I had to stop and walk up some of them. I hadn’t had one of those days since the middle of North Carolina, it felt like the roads were constantly going up or down, never a flat surface in sight.
As I was taking a break after an uphill, I heard a “hey there” from behind me, and I met my first other transam tourers. They were three men who had all started cycling by themselves but were now traveling together. They were doing much longer days than me though, so after trying to keep up with them for a little while I let them go and pedaled on in my own pace again.
That turned out to be both a good and bad decision. Good because I could stop and help a turtle to cross the road. It got a bit scared when I grabbed a hold of it, but then wandered away again. Bad because if I had kept on cycling with them, I might not have missed a turn, and had to make a huge detour.
I also cycled past some Texas longhorns, and had to stop and take a picture. As I was doing that, a woman came out from the house and asked me about my trip. When I told her what I was doing, she ran back in the house and came out with some beef jerky made from her grass fed longhorns. That is what we call a trail angel.
But as I cycled on, I soon realized that I had missed a turn earlier on, so I had to make a very steep detour. It was getting pretty hot by then, but as always, it’s just to keep on cycling.
It was pretty slow going, especially with all the hills and the heat, so when I got to Burgin less than 10 km from Harrodsburg I decided to stop at a small restaurant and have lunch. After a hamburger and some cold drinks I headed on towards Harrodsburg, eager to be done with the day. And that’s when it happened. I had been thinking all day that I felt that the cars weren’t as respectful here, and that they were driving much closer to me. I wonder if it’s because they see so many cyclists coming past, that they get tired off it?
As I was slowly heading up a hill, a car was trying to drive past me while a car was coming by in the other lane, and she came too close to me. BAM! From that moment my memory is a bit fuzzy, because I went into instant shock. I realized that she had hit my hand and my handlebar, because my bike glove was ripped open and my hand was very rapidly swelling. My handlebar was also bent out of shape. I saw the car pull over further ahead, but then I got so dizzy I had to lean forward. I remember that I was cycling again, but then I woke up and realized that I must have fainted and dreamt that I was cycling. I was suddenly surrounded by people holding me and my bike upright, and I had no idea what was happening. I fainted once more, and the people surrounding me had to lift me up to get me off the bike. I was going into shock, but there were so many nice people taking care of me, getting me sweet tea and keeping me focused. After a short while I was able to respond to questions, and by then the police and sheriff had arrived.
Where the red dot is, is where I was hit. SO CLOSE! I was almost in Harrodsburg…
Someone kept my neck locked into position, and a very sweet man named John told me he would keep my bike and trailer safe in his garage. After a while an ambulance arrived and I was strapped to a board while being poked and prodded. They wanted to make sure it was only my hand that was hurt, which luckily it was. I was taken to a hospital in Daneville a bit south of Harrodsburg, and I was so happy that I had sense enough to remember to bring my computer bag where I keep my insurance papers. At the hospital they x-rayed my hand, but luckily nothing was broken. I can’t believe how to be honest, because her entire mirror broke and flew off the car when it hit my hand. But I was obviously under some type of protection that day.
I was hurting pretty bad though, so after a lot of waiting around and trying to figure out everything with my insurance, they helped me get my painkillers at a pharmacy and then called Sharon’s car service to drive me to my hotel in Harrodsburg. I was a complete mess the entire day. I was crying on and off and just felt very small, and very much alone.
But I was picked up by a lovely woman called Sissy and she was so nice that I cried some more. Before she let me go she prayed for me, and we cried together. I got into the hotel, still a sobbing mess, and managed to tell the man working there that I had a reservation. He then helped me call John to ask him if he could drive my things to the hotel, which he could. There are some amazing people in this country, that’s for sure. Despite the horrific day I had, I felt so well taken care off. John has also called me today, just to make sure I’m doing alright. Yes, I’m meeting some amazing people on this trip, that’s for certain. And the police were amazing, and the paramedics who rode with me in the ambulance. They kept asking me ridiculous questions to make sure I was doing alright, and joking with me to keep my mind off the pain.
When I got to the hotel, it was 17:40, and I knew my mother would be worried sick. I had not been able to get a hold of her the entire time while I was in the hospital. I had a message telling me to call her as soon as I saw that, so I did. Having to call your mother in the middle of the night to tell her you’ve been hit by a car is not a fun thing to do, that’s for sure. I hope I never have to do that in my life again.
I kept icing my hand all night and the swelling went down a bit, and I even managed to get some sleep. I was feeling very, very sad though, and thought several times about what my next move would be. I did consider quitting, I considered getting a car instead, and even going home. But I will not let this bring me down. It was a slight bump in the road, but it was just my hand! It could have been so much worse, and I’m very grateful that it wasn’t. But one thing is for sure, from now on this trip will be by my rules! No more doing things because it’s what I’m “supposed” to do, I decide!
And I’ve decided that I want to have fun. As much fun as I possibly can. This is not just about cycling, this is about adventure! So watch out America’s amusement parks, water parks, adventure parks and anything else that might sound interesting, I’m coming for you! This trip is taking a sharp turn, but I hope you’ll still be along for the ride. I can’t wait to get back in the saddle, and head out on this new and improved adventure. As far as I’m concerned, it can only get better from here.