Altitude Sickness, Column

Altitude Sickness: Road rash

It’s funny what happens when you run on autopilot. More on that later, though. A couple of weeks ago I was out riding my road bike, and my ride took a bit longer than I had hoped (my plan was to go up Killington Road, down to Route 4, up to the pass, and back, but I ran out of time by the Woods), and so I was turning around to head back home to shower and change for work, and I hit some gravel and went down.
I wasn’t going particularly fast at all, but just like when I broke my chain three weeks ago, everything happened too fast to be able to get my feet out of my clips to stop myself, and I ended up dropping onto my left side and sliding five or six feet.
Needless to say, the level of road rashitude was bad. By the time I made it the mile up the hill to get home, I had blood in my shoe. I had about a square foot of rash between my ankle, shin, knee, hip, and forearm. One part of my leg was so deeply shredded that I taped that part of my leg back onto my leg. And it stayed and healed back on. These injuries bled for five days, bleeding through bandages, shirts, and pants. When they stopped bleeding, they started itching. Oh boy, that itch.
I made it back out a few days later and got in a short ride, scared out of my mind. But I didn’t hit the pavement, so I went out a few days later, making a loop of Killington Road, down East Mountain, up Route 4 to the pass, and back home. Nice ride with a few thousand vertical, about an hour and 20 minutes.
I did a few nice run/hikes, once up from Sherburne to the Pico spur to the peak, down the lift line, back up, and down the way I came. It was about nine miles, and my only mistake was not bringing some water, as after about seven miles, I get powerfully thirsty, and as I start to crest nine miles, I begin to get crampy.
My plan today was to go to Pico and hit the lifeline twice, as it is one of the best straight steep climbs in Vermont. What happened, though, was something different. I wasn’t paying attention when I started out this morning, and I went up the wrong trail, accidentally heading up lookers left to the lower peak, despite attempts to find trails that would take me back toward the lift line.
The real drag about it, though, is that by the time I was 100 yards up it I was eyeball deep in tigglyweed and puckerbrush. Raspberries, blackberries, and poison parsnip (oh my). I am not exaggerating about the depth of the weeds. If my ex-wife (four-foot-eleven when standing up straight) had been with me, she could have doubled as a horror movie creature, like that thing that moved around in the fields in “Children of the Corn.” You would have seen nothing but the rustling of tall plants moving about. She would have been completely lost (as I pretty much was).
Soaking wet, with squishy shoes, seeds in my socks, scratches and rash all over my legs and torso, I made it back to the lift line in about 40 minutes, and finished out one lap before I had to go to work.
But I will say this: raspberry and blackberry bushes are aces at removing road rash scars. They don’t itch so much anymore, that’s for sure.

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