Have you felt death up close?
Three days ago, a few minutes before midnight, I will never forget it.
Here's the story.
I started the day of Tuesday, April 26, knowing that a tough test awaited me that day. I was going to cross Acapulco from end to end and from there to the diamond zone, leaving Mozimba to the La Isla shopping center. The distance was not a challenge, something like 25 kilometers one way, but there is a segment that had me worried, The Scenic.
This segment of only 8 kilometers would make me climb an elevation of 280 meters in only 4 kilometers and descend the same height in the other 4, putting my legs to the test on the way up and my brakes going down, at a temperature of 33C (91F) .
As if this were not enough, and most worrying of all, this section lacks a shoulder, cyclists have to ride in the right lane, along with traffic.
As I do every day, I spoke to the Lord, did my morning prayers and entrusted myself to Him.
I left for my destination.
In 30 minutes I arrived at the Icacos naval base without any problem and there I began the ascent, difficult, exhaustive, demanding. I immediately began to sweat profusely, the rest of the journey I did drenched in sweat and my clothing was no longer dry at all.
I was happy. My legs were responding well, at no time did I feel like throwing in the towel. But I kept thinking that this part of Acapulco has claimed the lives of cyclists because cars and trucks travel fast just a few centimeters from anyone who dares to venture in its lanes.
On the way up I was able to take some photos.
The Acapulco bay, considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
To the left, the island of La Roqueta, in the middle, Caleta beach and the Old Acapulco, to the right, the Golden Acapulco.
As a young man, I used to swim the sunlit strait between La Roqueta and Caleta almost daily.
I reached the summit, and on the other side, I could see a panoramic view of the bay of Puerto Marquez and at the top left, the Diamante Zone where I was heading.
Going down it was very nice to feel the wind cooling me off and drying my sweat. The rest of the way was more relaxed, tranquil and with enough space between me and the vehicles, I arrived at the shopping mall La Isla, where the Cycle Store is at, probably the best cycling store in Acapulco where Victor Castañeda and his partner took great care of me. I changed my chain, they gave me the 5% discount and they made adjustments beyond what was necessary at no cost.
From there I went to have dinner close by and then to say goodbye to my friend Juan Galarza from Ika Tako Diamante.
It was already past 10 at night when I started my way back. This time the ascent cost me more work, I don't know if it was because I was already tired or because the return itself is more difficult. It took me an hour to ascend. Fortunately there was less traffic.
I noticed that on this direction La Escénica is more dangerous. The coming lanes are on the bay side but the return lanes are on the mountain side. Here there is no shoulder but not only that, there is a somewhat deep rainwater channel that makes it very dangerous, as if this were not enough, the curves to the right make it almost impossible to see the cyclists until they are very close.
Fortunately I reached the top and finished La Escénica without any problem. I covered the rest of the bay at a leisurely pace.
I was about to get home when, with less than a kilometer and a half to go, I was pedaling alone along Calzada Pie de la Cuesta without traffic, silently, when suddenly I heard behind me a deafening noise that startled me, very loud. What was that? I asked myself immediately.
Imagine my surprise when I looked back and saw a minivan that was coming in the same direction and in the same lane as me, had just hit a parked trailer right behind me.
I stopped, and I saw the driver stunned, apparently he hit his head on the windshield because I couls see it shattered, I think the model was old because I didn't see any air bags deployed. I first thought of going home, but. what if this person needs help? I thought. I looked at the time, it was a few minutes before midnight. I made a U-turn and saw the guy who started reacting.
I pulled up on the opposite sidewalk in front of him just as more vehicles began to arrive. I watched him open the door and from his movements I deduced that he was under the influence of something, most likely drunk. More people approached him and by then I thought that if he needed help there were already enough people to help him. I left.
On the way home, I was reviewing the event, that's when I realized what had just happened.
I have 2 mirrors, one on each end of my handlebar precisely to keep upcoming rear traffic in check. All night I was checking my mirrors as is my habit. Most likely he didn't have his lights on because I didn't see him coming. We were going on the same direction, on the same lane, me in front of him, judging by the crash he was driving at high speed, apparently drunk.
If that man hadn't crashed into the parked trailer, he would have hit me. His front bumper stopped just 2 steps behind me.
Did he fall asleep?
Did he missed the way because his lights were off?
Did he see me and avoided me?
Or did God or my guardian angel turn the steering wheel to save my life?
There is no doubt in my mind, if I had been hit, I would surely have died or been left paralyzed.
I began to thank God for having avoided that accident, it would have been a huge tragedy not only for me, but also for him and both our families.
I consider this, one more miracle of God in my life, and for sure in the life of the unfortunate driver.
More than ever I know I'm not alone, for He is always with me.