I like to think of myself as an “individual” – different from the rest of the pack. I do things my own way, and don’t follow the masses. That’s why I was sure the first bone I broke in a cycling accident would be something interesting. Maybe it would be my foot that got broke – as all the folks that were on my wheel accidentally ran over it. That would be cool. Or perhaps I’d blow up my patella. Sounds super-painful, but has something of the “never heard of that” going for it.
Or better yet, maybe I’d be that guy that had a front wheel buckle in the final turn of a crit, flying into a light pole at about 32 MPH, only to stand right up and start cursing the wheel manufacture in Italian. Oh yea – that’s be my signature crash.
Well, fate has a way of blowing your best ideas.
Instead, true to my JustAnotherCyclist roots, I was taken down by a stick, or a rut, or some such nonsense that I somehow lost in the early morning glare. I remember a car passing immediately on my left, and this is a narrow street. Something jerked my wheel hard enough to send me over the bars. Can’t recall for sure – maybe I saw it but couldn’t avoid it because of the car. That part is all kinda fuzzy. Regardless of exactly how it happened, I hit the pavement at around 20 MPH. The result was what is probably the most common cycling injury after road rash: a broken clavicle.
Adding insult to injury, spring and just arrived here in Sacramento, and this was one of my first spring training rides of the season. Beautiful weather. I’d ridden along with my daughter, dropping her off at her school and continuing out for my ride. I was maybe 5 miles from where I’d left her, heading up H street in Sacramento towards Sacramento State University.
I’ll probably never know exactly what brought me down. I recall the bars jerking in my hands like I’d run over something, and the next thing I remember is sliding on the pavement. I didn’t smack my head (as evidenced by my mostly unscathed helmet). First conscious thought I had was that I was laying in the middle of the lane and had to get out of the road. I proceeded to start dragging myself towards the curb.
But as soon as I started I felt a burning, stabbing pain in my right side. I could hardly breath, and every twist was agony. But getting run over by a car sounded a lot worse, so I continued to drag myself to the curb, convinced I’d damaged my ribs. It was when I first reached the curb that I noticed an odd grinding, popping feeling in my right shoulder. In my mind that could logically only be caused by one thing – broken collar bone.
Luckily a couple of folks had stopped in their cars are were checking to see if I was alright. One picked up my bike out of the road. I wasn’t really able (or inclined, frankly) to turn my head to where the bike was to inspect it, but at first glance it seemed OK. I started thinking of getting a hold of my wife and made a motion to grab my phone out of my back jersey pocket. The pain in my ribs stopped me.
The second guy there asked me “Are you OK?” I had to think about that for a minute. Even speaking took a lot of effort due to the pain in the ribs. I finally had to say “No. Can you call me an ambulance?”
From there t is pretty much your typical accident scene scenario. Fire Truck and Ambulance arrive. Strapped to a hard back board with a neck brace (just in case) and carted off to the hospital. According to the X-Rays, there was no detectable break in any of the ribs (good news!) but the clavicle is clearly broken. Looks like I’ll grudgingly be off of the bike for at least a few weeks.
I do need to mention my new favorite dentist – Fritz Harrold, D.M.D. His office was about a half block from where I crashed. He was nice enough to take my bike and store it in his office while the paramedics loaded me into the ambulance. I found his handwritten address, and a business card, in my wallet which I vaguely recall being placed there by a firefighter.
There you have it. That was last Wed, April 6. Yesterday was the first day when my ribs didn’t hurt, so I think I’m good there. Sea Otter and Tour de Cure participation is in limbo at the present – very very doubtful I’ll be able to ride TdC.
Of course, this is MY crash, so I think it is very cool and dramatic and interesting. Ultimately, though, it is pretty run-of-the-mill. Cyclist goes down. Cyclist breaks collar bone.
Guess I can check another item off of the “Cycling Career” checklist.