Saturday, September 09, 2006

2nd Race Report: OUCH!

My third and final criterium race of the year was last night (September 8, 2006). Things were going nicely for the first couple of minutes but as I tried to move up in position on the field I took a corner a bit too wide and hit a curb at over 28mph. At least I think that's what happened... I have no memory of the crash, but my helmet is, um, going to need to be replaced.

Next thing I knew there were several medics standing over me asking me things like "who do you work for?" (I could not answer that question) and "do you know where you are?" (Hmmm, a bike race, right?) and next thing I knew I was being strapped onto a gourney and loaded into an ambulance. It was surreal. I've never lost consciousness before but it's like having a dream and when you wake up you can't tell which is the dream and which is reality.

I spent several hours in the ER getting a CT scan and some x-rays which came back fine--but my Bell road helmet had clearly been rung. Fortunately, I have no broken bones and no need for stitches--but I have some significant road rash on the left side of my body. I was not entirely "with it" for some of the time but I do know that when the attendants tried to cut me out of my cycling jersey, bib shorts, and Sidi shoes I yelled "please don't cut these clothes, they cost a fortune!" and managed to save them.

Since my wife and kids were nearly 2 hours away and it was late in the evening (the race started at about 6:30 so imagine my confusion when I looked up at the clock in the hospital after seemingly only having been a few minutes removed from the crash to see that it was 9:00--where did the time go??), I didn't really want her to have to get someone to watch the kids and come get me because it would mean having to come back the next day to get my car. I have a friend in a nearby city but I don't know his phone number from memory even when my memory is clear and my cell phone was in the car. The folks at the hospital would not let me leave on my own, but I finally convinced them sometime after 10:00pm to let me take a taxi to my car where I promised I would call my friend.

I managed to get the bike into the trunk of the taxi (come on now, did you really think I would get in an ambulance and drive off without my bike?!?) and we made it back to the car. BTW, the bike is going to be fine, as far as I can tell, but the rear brake calipers need some adjustment. At the car, I still was unable to reach my friend so I decided to just drive home. Yeah, I know, I know, not smart. But, I was feeling pretty good and REALLY didn't want my wife to have to come get me. Convincing her that I should race again will be hard enough as it is.

Two friends of mine from home called me while I was on the way home. Apparently they had found out about my crash from my wife and wanted to make sure I would be OK. They even offered to drop everything and come get me but I felt good enough that talking to them on the phone off and on as I drove back was plenty. Thanks, guys!

Anyway, I made it home without incident and scrubbed the road rash before going to bed. Well, there was one incident, I guess... I stopped to get some food on the way home (I hadn't eaten a full meal since 11:00am since I seem to be able to ride harder when I have light food like granola bars). In the bathroom, I noticed that my left cheekbone and eyebrow were pretty cut up and there was still quite a bit of residual blood staining down the side of my face. For whatever reason, all of the knuckles on both hands were cut up as well.As I was standing there at the Wendy's counter placing my order (Big Bacon Classic, Large Frosty, thank you very much) I noticed that the guy kept looking down at my knuckles and then up at my face and then back down at my knuckles.

I realized at that moment that he must have thought I'd been in a fight so as I took my food and turned to leave I nonchalantly said without any smile whatsoever on my face "you should have seen the other guy." I still have some residual cob webs this morning, but I'll try to get on the bike tomorrow. The Bridge-to-Bridge ride is next Sunday and it's going to take more than a little road rash to keep me out of it.


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