Slumped low in the tribars, a position that reduces wind resistance at the expense of control and reduces visibility to about five yards directly in front, I glanced up for a moment to do a long distance scan and when I returned to my tuck noticed the black pavement below replaced by green grass.
Looking back up confirmed I had drifted to my right off the road onto a narrow swatch of grass leading to a solid wall of tall weeds that instantly parted for me and my flying machine.
Luckily the farmer had overturned the field the previous day so I landed in relatively soft black earth. Not so lucky, however, was the location of the field: a good six or eight foot vertical drop from the road above.
As I took flight my body turned horizontally and disconnected from my bike and I landed fully on my right shoulder, tumbling two or three times and ending up flat on my back, hyperventilating.
For most of my bike accidents I have someone else to blame--the homeowner who careened out of his driveway, the woman 5 miles up Mt. Washington who traversed directly in my path, or Mother Nature for providing a swath of black ice on Bay Road late one March.
But on Sunday, at the Greenfield Triathlon, under a picture perfect blue sky at perhaps the easiest part of the course a moments inattention brought disastrous results.
Last year my team came in first and I covered the 30 mile bike route at an average of 19 mph. This year I had a slightly stronger swimmer and runner so I didn't feel pressured but wanted to at least match last years performance.
The course is 7.5 miles and you do it four times. I planned to take the first lap slightly easy at 18 mph and then ratchet up to 19 mph for the next two. And the last one with adrenaline flowing you simply hammer.
With less than a half mile to go in lap one I switched my computer from distance to average speed and was pleasantly surprised to read 20.4 mph. So I decided to shoot for 21, since the remainder of the course was one third-level and two-thirds downhill.
The last thing I saw on my computer, as the road turned to grass, was a current speed of 25 mph. About the only thing more battered than my upper body at the moment is my ego.