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I completely forgot..
So distracted was I by the telling of the crash-that-never-happened tale, that I forgot completely to mention that near the start of the outbound leg, I RAN OVER A SNAKE!!!! A LIVE ONE!!!!! It was near the crest of a hill, shaded by trees. At first, I thought it was just a shadow on the ground. By the time I realised it was a) moving, and b) a snake, I was pretty much on top of it.
The only thing I could do was try to avoid running over it, but the bloody thing was so long it stretched pretty much across the entire path. In desperation, I swerved left and ended up running over its tail. I was so panicked at that point that I almost lost control of the bike. I ended up leaving the path, and let me tell you, going cross-country on skinny racing tyres is not a lot of fun. My biggest fear at that point was that the wheel would get caught and that I'd get thrown over the bars, leaving me bruised and within striking distance of an angry, injured snake.
I somehow managed to get the bike back onto the path and pedalled like a crazy woman. Come to think of it, it's entirely possible that's where the 175RPM cadence came from. I stopped about 100m down the path, irrationally looking over my shoulder to make sure the snake wasn't chasing me down. I pulled my phone out of my jersey pocket to send MaxBabe a message. My hands were shaking so badly I couldn't operate the bloody thing! I ended up standing there for a minute or so until finally the adrenalin subsided and I could send her a text, all the while looking over my shoulder.
The snake, of course, did not chase me down. It wasn't there on the way back, so I can only assume it was only moderately injured, if at all. For some reason, this incident with the snake freaked me out much more than the crash-that-never-happened, and also more than the incident with the red-bellied black snake that lives out near the airport. I think the fact that I made actual contact with it is what freaked me out. I'm just very glad that it didn't get mad about being run over, and also that it seems it was not badly hurt.