Bike crash update: much better

In the eight days since my bike crash, I think every injury has taken a turn hurting the most. One day it was my face; the next, my left knuckles, which have huge gouges out of them; the next, my right calf; etc. 

But through it all, one area has hurt the most consistently: my jaw. When I hit the ground with my face, something happened to my jaw, and since then opening and closing it has hurt excruciatingly. Chewing anything proved nigh impossible for the first few days after the crash; even opening my mouth at all involved excruciating jaw pain. Continue Reading >>

Crash update: my hideous face, and other improvements

I thought it would be fun, in the sense of “oh my gosh that’s a little horrifying,” to track the evolution of my face as I recover from my crash.

Before we get there, a quick update: I feel decent. Different areas hurt at different times, but with nothing worse than a lot of scrapes, I expect to be able to get back to normal activity fairly soon. Sleeping is difficult because I normally sleep with my face in a pillow. (Also, it’s smoky and hot; our house is about 85 degrees inside.) Continue Reading >>

Choices and consequences

Yesterday dad and I had a lovely ride around Mercer Island. After we split up, I thought I’d do a few extra miles, so I headed east down 124th towards the Sammamish River Trail. But for some reason when I got to the bottom of the hill at the intersection with Willows Road, I thought a red light was green and I proceeded at speed into the intersection. I realized my mistake too late to stop, although I locked up my brakes and did the best I could to steer away from the pickup truck that loomed enormously ahead of me like a vast wall. Continue Reading >>

The Wrist of It

Just a little wrist pun humor to start off this post, in which I’m posting a delightful photo timeline of my wrist recovery. The color changing my injuries went through was just so darn interesting.

Mistakes were made
Day 1: Injury inflicted.
Mistakes Were Made - 4 Days Later
Day 3: After painting; with Tegaderm bandage
Day 4: Bandage-free!
Day 5: Colorful knuckles
Day 6: Slowly fading colors and less swelling
Day 8: Bruise draining down my forearm. Gross.
Day 10: After a 100-mile bike ride. Held up well.

From here on out I think it’s just taking ibuprofen occasionally and not doing anything stupid.

I don’t think I mentioned it, but my left leg seems to have gotten some kind injury during the crash, too. Every ride I’ve done since then, my leg has output a little less power, has felt a little weaker and more sore, and has occasionally been accompanied by foot tingling or soreness. I’ve asked a few friends if they think I should be worried, and universally they’ve said it was almost certainly some internal swelling, pull, or other injury caused by the crash, and that time would take care of it. So I’m trying not to let the fact it’s my surgery leg freak me out and instead just wait patiently. Time will tell. Continue Reading >>

Mistakes Were Made

On Wednesday I went out for my usual longer hill ride, happily appreciating that the morning rain had cleared early enough for roads to dry so I could ride my S-Works.

Long story short: Waiting at a small intersection to go south across a busy, high-speed road, I miscalculated the speed of traffic and rode my bike into a car.

It wasn’t exactly T-boning the car, although at higher speeds that’s what would have happened. Instead I had been stopped and just started rolling at a speed I thought would let the vehicle pass, but somehow the vehicle didn’t pass — it was right there when I got into the road. I slammed on my brakes and swerved, but the side of the vehicle (a black Toyota SUV) loomed really large ahead of me. I thought my front tire brushed the side of the car and the next thing I knew I was on the ground behind the vehicle. Continue Reading >>

Slippery Cycling

Yesterday we enjoyed one of the few genuinely dry days in a month of endlessly drippy skies. In the evening heavy rain fell, but overnight the skies briefly cleared, temperatures dropped, and all that wetness started freezing.

As I mentioned earlier, Saturday I spent with the family at MoPOP, a day very well spent. To get in my biking, I’d arranged to skip church on Sunday and join a Cascade ride led by a friend of mine. I knew I couldn’t keep up with the pace for long — the first hill would likely eliminate me — but that’s the pace I used to ride, and my goal is to get back there for this summer. There’s nothing like riding with faster people to get faster. Continue Reading >>

On Mercer Island, Bike Crashes are Ticketable Offenses, Apparently

Day’s Verse:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.

1 Cor 13:4-ish

It was bound to happen sometime: On a group ride yesterday, there was a crash. Three riders went down, but fortunately I was not among them. I just started to write a detailed description of what happened, but I’ll just summarize, since the details aren’t that important:

We were riding in a loose paceline with a good amount of space between us, because we were on a very curvy stretch of road. I was towards the back. Riders 1, 2, and 3 were just ahead of me, with the ride leader ahead of them. As we went around a corner, Rider 1 (two bikes ahead of me) slipped and fell; we still don’t know why he went down. Rider 2 (one bike ahead of me) promptly ran into him and went flying over his handlebars. Rider 3 (directly ahead of me) slammed on his brakes and crashed, but didn’t hit anybody. I had time to see the crash happen and react safely — I honestly don’t remember what I did, but it was some combination of steering and stopping. I just remember tossing my bike on the side of the road and running to check the damage to my buddies.

Rider 2 got up fairly quickly, but Riders 1 and 3 stayed on the ground for a while. We established that Rider 3 hadn’t hit anybody, and he seemed okay, but he took a little while to recover and get up. Rider 1 we kept on the ground, because he reported head and neck pain in addition to stomach pain from where Rider 2’s front wheel had run into his stomach — ouch! We called 911.

Then we waited, the ride leader taking care of the guys who’d crashed, while me and the other uninjured rider (who was behind me) directed traffic around the blind curve. This was actually fairly important, as Rider 1 remained in the road, and cars couldn’t see anything until they were right on top of us. We used the familiar “car up” and “clear” to communicate and it worked very well.

The Medic One aid car arrived after a few minutes. They checked everybody out, talked to Rider 1, and started the process of putting him on a backboard preparatory to moving him. They patched up Riders 2 and 3, too, and then waited around for an ambulance to move Rider 1 to the hospital. Rider 2 called his wife, who picked him up and took him to the hospital, too. Rider 3 suffered bruising and some road rash, but he and his bike were okay to go.

A Mercer Island police officer arrived after a while and he started asking what we’d seen. He took my information, as I was the only one who’d actually seen the whole thing firsthand. Then he warned us that Riders 1 and 2 could both receive moving violations for their bike handling failures, because they were operating as vehicles on the roadway. That’s right: In addition to paying craploads of money for medical care and bike/gear repair & replacement, and having weeks of agonizing bruises (if not worse injuries), Riders 1 and 2 could actually be ticketed, too. The cop said that Rider 1 was “driving” too fast for the conditions, if he couldn’t control his bike at that speed; and Rider 2 was following too close if he wasn’t able to stop without a collision. The cop seemed irritated that we’d had this crash on his road, and mentioned all the paperwork for such a minor collision. He also mentioned, almost wistfully, that if this had happened on the I-90 bike trail, it would be a whole different story. Well, too bad, buddy. We were on the road, and you get paperwork.

Eventually we split up. The Medic One aid car took Rider 1 off to some ER. Rider 2 and the ride leader waited for Rider 2’s wife. Rider 3 and I headed back home. I kept an eye on him the whole time, and he seemed okay. Later we found out that Rider 1 “only” suffered from bangs and scrapes. Rider 2 — the guy who went over his handlebars — came off the worst: He fractured his collarbone. He has a one-week-old baby at home, too, which I imagine will add to the fun of recovery.

So that was the first significant crash I’ve witnessed on the road. It shook me up. I wasn’t immediately involved, thank goodness, but it wouldn’t have been difficult for me to be Rider 1 or 2. A different ride order, is all it would’ve taken. As the cop pointed out: Everything has risk. Riding in a paceline on a curvy, damp road is risky. We accept that, and usually it’s fine. I’m grateful I wasn’t in the crash, but if I had been, I’ve accepted that as part of riding — the benefits of riding outweigh those dangers. Even so, I’m feeling a little twitchy about group riding.