As far as riding days go, it didn't get much better than the sunny and mid-60's weather of March in NC. Departing Charlotte toward Hanging Rock area in north-central NC, I stuck mostly to back roads and avoided Hwy 29 when possible. The GPS was set to bicycling mode which often takes shorter routes or those with less of an elevation change. It was this rerouting that let me down N. Yadkin Ave in the small town of Spencer, NC. The 20 mph residential street was busy with a car stopping to talk to the neighbor. Slowing, I was waved past the car and then continuing uphill at about 20mph. I see two women talking in the driveway ahead on the right. As I'm coming to the corner of the sidewalk in this shot, I see movement and notice two dogs running toward me out the opened gate of the driveway. In less than 15 feet, the larger of the two dogs, a stocky pitbul named Isis, ran perpendicular from the driveway toward my front wheel. The enlarged eyes, snarling jaws and deep barking grew ever larger as the vicious dog charged at my front wheel. Before I had any opportunity to veer left or slow down, for speeding up is not an option going uphill on a loaded Ruckus, a solid thud rocked the front of the bike. In a fraction of a second, my front wheel struggled to roll over the meat and bones and I can still hear the squeal and whine of the dog lodging between the front wheel and frame.
They helped me lift the bike up, something I quickly realized I could no longer do without the use of my right arm. Lifting the bags from the roadway brought intense pain so I unzipped my Aerostich jacket and felt my collarbone. Pointy and nearly sticking through the skin. Not good.
The pitbull I hit was nowhere to be found. When I questioned the home owner as to whose dog that was, she claimed she had never seen it before and didn't know where it belonged to. Maybe the neighbors up the hill? I noted the house number, took a picture of the sign and intersection but without the dog around, there wasn't much else for me to do here. I soon learned that riding with a broken collarbone is no walk in the park. Easier than riding with broken ribs but painful nonetheless. It was somewhere around the city line that I realized I should head back to get the name and phone number of the home owner just in case. Returning, I knocked a few times before a younger woman answered the door, the grand daughter of the home owner who had helped me back to my feet earlier. When asked about the pitbull, she seemed crestfallen and admitted that the dog was named Isis and it was her pitbull. It hadn't returned yet and we all feared for the worse. I handed her my journal full of travel stories and on a blank page she reluctantly wrote down her and her mother's name and number. With great difficulty I remounted La Tortuga, found a level of blissful paint tolerance and cranked out another 2.5 hours of riding 55 miles to my friend Jay's house.
The only text I had sent was to my buddy Matt to mention I had the wreck. I'd wait to alert the folks once I knew how bad it was. Pulling up at Jay's, he and his wife, Alli immedaitely came outside. It was clear Matt had texted them. Once I stood up, my slumped right shoulder was an easy tell that I had broken my collarbone. The bone nearly poking through the skin was the confirmation. I slumped into the bolstered bucket seats of Jay's BMW 328is for a twisty ride to the E.R. Alli's background in radiology meant I had another professional eye on the whole image but even a child could see that my clavicle was fractured.