A good friend of mine rode the Tour de Palm Springs earlier this month. She sent me this delightful latest installment from her “soap opera.”
“One Woman Copes, wherein Pearl Rides the Tour de Palm Springs”
It is some time since we heard from Pearl which means that she is due for a disaster. Here is the latest installment of “One Woman Copes”.
Pearl and Elbert, as usual, signed up for the annual Palm Springs bike ride, the Tour de Palm Springs. Unlike last year, temperatures were pleasant for riding and there were no gale force winds. There are several rides ranging from 5 miles to 100 miles and they are staggered so that 10,000 riders aren’t starting at once. Pearl and Elbert elected to do the 25 mile ride; so did a couple of thousand of others. At the start of their ride, cyclists stretched along the street for 6 blocks. The band played and they were off. Elbert likes to be at the front; Pearl prefers the social group at the back so they don’t ride together, but meet and compare notes after the ride.
Pearl was having a good ride. She made all of the hills with no problems and didn’t even run out of gears, she passed a few people even. She stopped at both sag stops for a drink, PowerBar, and potty. By the time Pearl was coming down to the last few miles, the 55 and 100 milers were also finishing. Clubs riding in pace lines of 10-15 people who don’t grasp that this isn’t a race scream by. Police officers yell at the hot shots not to blow through intersections on yellow lights, a Post Office van stopping at mail boxes pulls in front of cars and bikes. A pace line cuts in front of a driver who is trying to be courteous. Things are a little hairy.
A few blocks from the finish the 55 and 100 milers are shunted onto a different street, but some of the 25 milers also think they are Lance on steroids. Pearl stays far right as slower riders are asked to do. 1 ½ block from the finish and Pearl thinks she has it made. She looks to her left and sees a rider rather close so she plans to move farther right to give him room. At that point, she realizes that a @#$%!!! idiot is coming up on her right to pass her. Pearl has time only to say “look out” and goes down. Two riders ask if she’s OK and help her up. She walks across the finish line, collects a T-shirt and souvenir key chain and limps to the LBS kiosk where they give her water and a chair and she waits for Elbert to meet her.
But wait! There’s more! Given Pearl’s advanced age, that she has landed on her right hip and has a bum back on a good day, she decides to get checked over. The local Kaiser clinic is closed on Saturday, of course, so she decides to go to the ER in Joshua Tree. She reasons that given the number of climbers who fall from rock climbs in the National Park, they know bones.
Elbert decides to change out of bike gear into civvies before driving to the ER so he climbs in the back seat. Shoves his leg through his jeans and hits the metal part of the seat. He now has a broken toe.
At the ER, Pearl takes much teasing about her fall–many assume she was on a dirt bike or quad ATV, but gets some respect when they learn that the old gal just did 25 miles on a pedal bike. X-rays are taken, a co-pay forked over and the Doctor calls Pearl and Elbert to look at the X-rays. He says you have spondilythesis (tell Pearl something she doesn’t know), you should be doing yoga, and says her back is sprained. He writes a prescription for a drug that has 8 pages of warnings and side effects. Pearl goes home and takes heavy duty asprin. Elbert tapes his toes and tries Advil.
Next day, Pearl and Elbert must drive 2 hours to Long Beach. She is grateful that they paid the big bucks and have heated seats in the SUV.
Pearl rests, ices, heats and takes aspirin, but decides to visit own doctor. After lengthy discussion he prescribes a short course of low dose steroids. You too can ride like Lance.
It is now 10 days since the crash. Pearl is still limping, bitching, taking aspirin and bored out of her skull, but improving. Elbert’s toe is no longer multi-colored and he is back to his morning walks.
Pearl has decided she probably won’t sell her bikes, but the Tour de Borrego in 2 weeks looks iffy.