there was some consideration to join DCMTB in West Virginia for a weekend of cross country skiing
but alas no... instead I hung back
the invite was not for dogs... what would I do with Didg?
I had two bicycle advocacy events to attend

the MORE Winter Party and a Fort Dupont Trail Development meeting\ride
the Fort Dupont meeting was rescheduled due to soggy trails
but the More Winter Party Went on as planned

the More Winter Party is usually in some far off place
Northern Virginia or Frederick or some other non-bike-able location
but not this year
this year the party location was someplace quasi local
heck.. not quasi... just local!
not DC... but pretty darn close

so... after a quick 20 some mile road spin with Hound Dog I took the actual dog for a quick loop in the woods at Fort Slocum then showered and got back on the bike and pedaled off to the party
it was all quite a cluster making all that happen in the late afternoon
once showered and cleaned up I mounted up and pedaled north to a location just off Grub Road to attend the More Winter Party

having grown up in Bethesda I had a pretty good idea where I was going
the party was on Lyttonsville Road off Grub Road
down the road from the Parkway Deli
right near Rosmary Hills 
not far from where my buddy Jimmy grew up
pretty much where I played soccer with Alex and his adult soccer teams the Pan-Olympics and the Pan-Helenics

out the door and on the bike
red lights flashing on my pack
white lights shinning on the road from the handlebars in the front
through the neighborhood of Manor Park and onto Georgia Avenue headed north

on Georgia I got a pretty good flow going...
pedaling at a decent pace
catching the lights and dodging the obstacles
the road was strangely vacant

just moving along watching the street names move from three syllable names to trees
Aspen... Butternut... waiting for Kalmia... Dahlia...

then it happened...

my light was green
an oncoming car was approaching at speed taking a left
but their left hand turn was not a standard arching right angle in the intersection
instead it was a sloppy looping curve of a turn turn starting very early

I saw the car coming and tried to adjust
there was not much time
I altered my trajectory 
took a measure of things

it seemed clear that I could not accelerate out of the point of intersection
rather than have this oncoming turning vehicle clip my rear wheel I opted to brake hard and take the hit rather than get clipped and run over or dragged down the street

yes... it happened...


all my bikes... one by one in a flash...

as I pulled the levers hard I resigned myself to my fate
what was going to happen... this was not clear...
 how hard was I going to be hit? how badly was I going to be hurt?
broken leg? broken legs?
worse? damage to my bike?
head injury... there really was not that much time to think even that far

I was certain it was not going to be good

I braked hard and then let my body fall limp
I was the point of intersection... that exact moment was the point of intersection
anticipating the impact I wanted to be relaxed
with the brakes pulled the bike stopped
the car coming my way had me in the crosshairs

yes... I was clearly the point of intersection...
then it happened
that car magically stopped in time
I had stopped and the driver had stopped

having resigned myself to the impact with my body was limp I fell slowly onto the hood of the stopped car
the bumper had stopped just inches from my body
not more than a second on the hood I was on my feet

not yelling... not screaming... not cussing

but smiling and almost crying


I walked my bike to the driver's side of the car and glanced down Georgia Ave to see that there was not a car coming to hit this car now parked in the middle of the road blocking oncoming traffic

at the driver;s side window I saw an elderly woman
she was clearly as scared as I was
she was also as releaved as I was 
neither of us wanted that accident to happen

I thanked her for stopping in time
I thanked her for not hitting me
we held hands as I thanked her
I asked her to be more careful
again I asked her to be more careful
then I thanked her again for not hitting me
it was a near religious moment
I was definitely happy to be alive

back on the bike I pedaled the final miles to the More Winter Party
there I saw so many wonderful people get acknowledged for the work they put into opening trails, building trails, and keeping trails open
it was a great night

good times with good people
that night almost went quite differently
that ride almost changed my life

be careful out there... ride defensively... never assume that you are safe
it is a jungle out there

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