We interrupt the standard programming to bring you this news.
Operation Massive Feet, a series of thus far emotionally intense dramas, riveting cliffhangers but with, so far, endearing and positive happy endings (not that sort Sir), has been temporarily suspended due to circumstances that were out of control.
As you know, if you have read any of the series so far, Bryntin had been exercising, and therefore burning the fat he had previously and amply stored about his person, by cycling. This generally took the form of either a static bike trainer session of around a hour and a half or a ride out in the countryside (balance permitting) of about two hours or so, three or four times a week.
So it was that this Wednesday, he set off for one of his outdoor runs, with a route of around 50km’s planned (What, wizened old person? Yes dear, that’s about 30 miles, yes, further than Bodmin… It’s alright, it was Wednesday, the bus will still come on pension day. Yes, tomorrow, that’s right, pension day on Thursday… Oh dear, these poor old people who don’t ‘do’ metric…)
So as usual, the route around here takes in lanes (which, for anyone reading in the USA, are roads that, in summertime in the UK, are about half the width of a Ford F150 pick-up truck). Also usually around here, hills. Lots.
Everything was going fine, the sun was out, the bike and legs were working well enough and the glow of perspiration (and the heart rate figure on the screen of the bike computer) indicated some fairly hard work was being done.
Then something changed in the atmosphere, the light fell away a little, the breeze picked up and then he had to briefly stop to attach his lights and put his rain jacket on. The forecast was for ‘sporadic showers’ that morning, but it was all under control and Bryntin was, almost unbelievably, prepared for this eventuality.
The rain didn’t last long but that proved to be his downfall. Literally.
When it has been dry for a few days and then only a light rain spatters down, the roads glisten with a sheen in the post-shower sunlight. Continuous rain is better. Continuous rain quickly breaks down the dust and the dry crusts as it washes them across and off the surface. A short and light shower just sits there until the sun lifts it back into the atmosphere, not enough for puddles, just shimmering like a thin and slick film of lubricant to all the organic muck.
As Bryntin was descending a lane, 15km in to the route and on the north eastern edge of Bodmin Moor – and not fast because windy narrow descents don’t allow fast – a right hand bend had to be steered around. Keeping an ear out for any oncoming motor traffic (they actually can’t hear around, or see around, corners like this but generally drive around them as if, probably, everything will be fine even though they have no means of deducing this by any logical or sensory means) he felt something unexpected was happening and looked down in surprise to see that the front wheel of his bike was actually not going around the corner as planned.
Bryntin remembers having time to see this happening and know that it was happening and also knowing that there was bugger all he could possibly do about it now. The front wheel was in fact sliding off to the left and his feet, still attached to pedals, were more or less heading that way too. Unfortunately his top half was going straight down as there was now nothing underneath it. Gravity claimed him.
Bryntin came to a stop having involuntarily used his right knee, right elbow and right shoulder as road surface friction braking devices.
“Bugger.” he said. Well, to be 100% accurate, it was “Oof…owfuckbugger!”
At this point he was lying in the road with a bike still attached to his feet. He remembers thinking, as he was falling ‘I must try to stop my head from hitting the ground too’ and he was successful at this. He dared to look downwards and found, looking over his body, that there didn’t appear to be any bones visible, which was good. However there was a fair amount of mud spread up his right side and some red stuff was oozing out of the grazes recently artistically created by the pure friction method on his exposed knee and elbow.
“Are you alright, I heard that…” said a voice that wasn’t his. An old chap had just parked up in his 4WD in a driveway to go in to the adjacent farmhouse and came over.
“Let’s get you out of the road boy…” he said, which as a mere 51 year old, Bryntin was, compared to the farmer.
Bryntin extricated his legs from under the bike and tried to lift it off himself, had to stop and then try again with more gumption and determination in the necessary muscles. Some stinging became apparent in his knee but he managed, with the farmers help, to get himself and his bike upright again and wondered off to the safety of the driveway. The farmer then invited him indoors, where Bryntin was afforded a bowl of warm water with a disinfectant of some sort (probably eye of newt and a handful of nettles, judging by the decor) diluted in it and a few hundred cotton pads to clean up his loudly singing wounds.
Bryntin put a brave face on and smiled a lot as he cleaned up the wounds. More a sort of wincesmile really as he applied the unidentified liquid and gently wiped the mud out of the red stuff.
“Do you want to phone someone? Have a cup of tea?” he was asked.
“No, I think I’ll just get back on and get going again.” he said, bravely (stupidly). “Get back on the horse straight away, as it were.”
Bryntin was full of adrenaline, it was probably running around his system anaesthetising him but he stood up, flexed his leg and arm as if reassuring the farmer and himself that he was actually in one piece and they were still attached to him, didn’t have too many leaks and he was in fact a viable prospect to perform more cyclist-type exertions again now.
Having thanked the farmer for his care, (seriously grateful, could have been one of those ‘irrational and for no discernible reason’ cyclist haters and ended up dead in the blokes’ freezer) Bryntin got outside to his bike which was leaned safely against the garden wall, and looked at the skies, which were darkening again. He put on his gloves, cap and glasses. He straightened his brake levers back out on the bike, struggled to get his sore right leg slung over it and had one brief moment of thought about what to do next.
He could phone home for help from the team support staff. Or it was just 15k to get home, shaken, bruised and bloodied from here. Or another 35k with some stiff climbs to carry on the ride as planned if he didn’t feel too bad. It began to rain again.
Bryntin is a cyclist. It was 35km home. As he set off it was lightly raining again, so his initial progress across the narrow moorland road epitomised the word ‘gingerly’. He actually got off and walked his bike across a small ford rather than riding it, with its threat of more unseen slipperiness. Later he cut it short and lopped off a part of the planned route because the leg was actually getting really sore by the time a shorter way home was viable.
Bryntin is of course – and if you have read anything he has written before, you already know – a bloody idiot. And, as it turns out, literally pretty bloody after this ride.
These pics are taken, post clean up, on the day. Two days later some bruising and swelling has been added to the mix and he is walking as if his leg no longer has a bendy bit called a knee in the middle of it. However it remains the case that no bones have either become visible or made themselves otherwise painfully apparent.
All that remains really is soreness and discomfort, which is not too bad but has had Mrs Bryntin looking funny at him this morning – as if to say ‘I should bloody well think not’ when he announced that he would probably not go for his scheduled Friday morning ride today – and was also probably the point at which any sympathy for his plight was rescinded.
So progress on the mass reduction of Bryntin’s feet will probably halt for a bit while some new skin is grown and the imminent danger of fresh blood leakage due to accidental scab removal is avoided. However, the maintenance of the less eating part of the equation will be continuing so he expects there will probably only be tea, no biscuits and no sympathy at all.