Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Yesterday I crashed on my bike. The weather was nice even though it had been raining the past week, and I decided to go a 30 mile ride before the next storm hit. I had ridden the day before and avoided Pinehurst road, which is always shady, wet and full of debris this time of year. But yesterday I thought I might give it a try. Although it looked wet at the top it had been two days since the last rain and I felt it should be no problem going down the steep descent.

As I was coasting along, taking it easy and daydreaming, I suddenly lost control in a turn and went down. I clearly remember the whole sequence and I remember thinking, "wow this will be a lot of road rash." But I did not slide very far and quickly came to rest near the side of the road. I banged my shoulder and hip and had some difficulty getting up, but eventually I managed to get off the roadway. I also remember my face being very close to the roadway and what a strange perspective that was.

When I got up I walked a few steps and was able to get on my bike and ride some more. My bike was undamaged. Although the crash was similar to the one Alistair had that broke his frame, mine was unscathed. I was able to continue riding for eight more miles with very little problems but then decided to get home as my shoulder felt awkward and I could not put any weight on it or use the front brake effectively.
Very little damage to the jersey. It isn't even torn

I was able to undress and take a shower although I got very cold in the process. My clothes were black but Ok and I did not suffer much road rash (just the elbow), although I did get an imprint (tatoo-like) of the rough asphalt on my hip. After dressing my wounds I went to bed and lay there for a while. The pain in my shoulder, hip and chest became more intense and so I took some painkillers.

At night the pain got worse and I decided to call the doctor who sent me to the emergency room. I got X-rayed, got a brace and was sent home with a prescription for vicodin. They asked me about a head injury repeatedly but I could not remember hitting my head, nor did I feel any pain or show any other symptoms of a concussion. I was able to read and concentrate well in the afternoon and so I was not worried.

When we came home, my wife wanted to see my helmet and when she touched it she yelled out because  two large pieces came off that were loose. The helmet is an older helmet I have had for years, and one I wear in winter because it does not have large vents and is warmer than the newer versions. As far as I know it was without issues before the ride.
Some rather serious damage

My old Bell helmet with missing pieces
I had a rough night, despite the pain killers.

This morning when I woke up I felt better. My hip was a lot better and I was able to walk well. But my rib cage felt a lot worse. I had an appointment and went to see the orthopedist at Kaiser. There I was told I had a cracked rib and a grade I/II AC joint separation in my shoulder. Nothing much can be done about either of these and I was sent home with pain medication, instructions on how to cough with a pillow bracing (and keep coughing to clear my lungs) and an appointment for early January.

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