I was really tired so I decided to go home.
I had fallen asleep, so my contacts were dry, but luckily I had some eye drops.
Riding up the newly re-paved New Hampshire Ave., I noted how good it felt to ride on smooth, even pavement. The weather was about perfect for a ride and the darkness of the street had a calming effect on the whole neighborhood. Before I got to U St. I remembered that if I took T, I wouldn't have to worry about oncoming traffic. I used to ride from 16th all the way to 11th, but after a few nights out I realized it would only be a matter of time before some drunk guy decided to I wasn't moving fast enough and that'd be the last rev of an engine I'd ever hear.
I noticed, as I started up the gradual incline of 11th street, that another biker was about two cars ahead of me and kind of slowing them down. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to speed up and ride side-by-side just to piss off the drivers. Luckily, I'm not into that kind of protest, especially at midnight on the eve of a holiday in a part of the district known for its nightclubs.
After the cars passed the other cyclist, I couldn't deny the urge to race past him. I passed him slowly, so I wouldn't seem like the dick I was actually being. After I passed him, I rolled through a red light and took the opportunity to use up the whole road until the cars were set loose by the traffic light behind me.
I pumped inappropriately fast. I flew up the hill faster than I had gone on any other part of the trip. Once I finally reached the plateau, I noticed another cyclist. I picked up the pace again.
I hit a rock.
Maybe it wasn't a rock. I don't know. Whatever it was, it wound up right under my front tire at an odd angle. The front of my frame shifted a little to the left and the object shot out to the right making a loud noise against a parked car.
I finally reached Columbia Road and I was ready to turn onto my street. I timed my turn perfectly. The light had just turned green, the SUV had left a bunch of space in between it and the car ahead, so I decided to swerve between the two and head into oncoming traffic. There was a bike lane, and this way I didn't have to worry about making a turn in front of someone trying to go straight.
It was like a tree falling over. Suddenly my base didn't have the strength I had been expecting and I had pushed too far to the left. My front wheel had been punctured by the rock a few blocks back and I hadn't noticed.
I sort of fell and I sort of threw my bike down. I was laying on the ground in front of the SUV, but well away from the oncoming lane. I quickly got up and tried to figure out how I could have fallen. I wasn't going fast. I'd been almost idling, waiting for the light to change color.
I'm writing this because I'm pretty shook.
This isn't the worst fall I've had. Injury wise, I've just got a scrape on my ankle. My right hand brake is really bent and my tire is flat, but everything else seems fine.
I need to calm down. I felt really strange afterwards. The twenty minute ride elicited almost every possible emotion. Joy, fear, pain and plenty of others. After all that I just need to get my focus away from the accident. I'm pretty lucky I fell when I did. I'm also pretty lucky that I didn't make it a couple more feet into the oncoming lane. Hopefully my streak of luck will continue and a bike shop will be open in the morning.