Diego Bandaid

The ride started out so well.  Danoh arrived at the usual time.  We rode our regular loop.  The sun was shining.  The wind was moderate, out of the NW. There were 15-20 guys on the ride.

I contested the first sprint and felt pretty good.  I was able to recover relatively quickly and by the time everyone had re-grouped I was ready to go.  My fitness seems to be improving so I was taking regular pulls at the front.  Riders were attacking but not getting much rope.  I didn’t contest the second sprint and opted to sit up with Dan.

The sprint for the third sprint began in the “keyhole” section.  The pace gradually quickened.  Riders were launching attacks and the group was yo-yoing behind whoever was off the front.  As we began to travel east again after our farthest point west we took a right hand turn.  This is where riders started to attack; right after the turn.  I was caught out in “no man’s land” with Gail F.  We were about 5 seconds behind the front group of about 5-6 and ahead of another group.  I pulled as hard as I could and could gain no ground.  It was a tailwind and Brock W. was at the head of the front group.  I pulled off to let Gail try and bridge the gap.  A few weeks ago I would have been toast and drifted back to second group.  However, this time I was able to jump on Gail’s wheel and we bridged the gap.

I then sat at the back for a few rotations trying to recover.  I was complimenting myself on my effort and feeling like I was finally getting some cycling fitness.  The group was in echelon formation and since I was recovering I was at the back, near the gutter.  In front of me was Robo and we were haulin’ booty.  Apparently the second group had just latched on.  Eric S. reported a 32 mph speed when they made contact.

As I was looking ahead I could see the road was turning a bit gravely.  Then all of a sudden I see Robo’s wheel stat to fishtail then………..I began to slide.  My front wheel washed out to the right and I went down HARD on my left.  I was helpless and could do nothing to control or prevent me from going down.  I didn’t even have time to brace my fall it happened so fast.  I remember covering my head while sliding to prevent other riders from running over my head.  I didn’t realize that Ben C. had run me over but I knew another rider went down.  While laying in the middle of the road I could hear riders yelling to stop.  I checked my left shoulder to see if I had dislocated it as it is unstable.  No dislocation but as I palpated along my clavicle I noticed a jagged edge that shouldn’t be there.  Damn, a broken collar bone.

The pain was latent, not occurring until I had walked over to the side of the road and sat in the ditch.  The adrenaline quickly wore off.  I was in pain, couldn’t find a comfortable position for my arm, and I was exhausted from effort.  My phone wasn’t working but I was able to use another rider’s phone to call for help.  I opted to forego the massive Ambulance bill and call my wife.

She arrived (after what felt like an eternity) with the 2 kids.  Campbell, my oldest, had brought me a Diego Bandaid for my cuts.  How thoughtful, but not enough to cover the blood, gravel, tar, broken bones, and sweat that covered my body.  It was pretty cute ,though, and made me smile.

We had to drop the kids off at my Mom’s house in expectation for a long ER visit.  The ride in was long and bumpy.  I arrived at Memorial’s ER after Ben so when I got there they said “You must be the second guy, we’ve been waiting for you”.  The lobby was full but I got in right away.

10 x-rays, 3 stitches, 2 braces, and a month’s worth of Vicodin later and I went home.  The night was, well, not restful.

The help, humor, and kindness that all the riders gave me and Ben was beyond words.  I couldn’t have survived without everyone’s help.  Everyone chipped in whether to give me water, help call Sandy, direct traffic, fix my bike, help me walk, or keep telling jokes to keep my mind off the pain.  I thank all you guys.  I know most of the riders only through cycling and not socially.  However, I was treated like a friend.  I guess we all share in the same bond of cycling camaraderie.