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  1. #1
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    I raced, I crashed, I went to the E.R.

    I did the Wells Ave C race today. I was nervous because during my last race I had someone cross my front wheel, and it was only through some miracle of circumstance that I didn't go down. I did wreck my rear wheel, and that made enough of an impression to make me cautious today.

    I felt pretty good for most of the race. I was aware that I was being cautious, and I missed a couple of opportunities as a result, but towards the end of the race I felt that I still had matches to burn, and I moved towards the front of the pack.

    Going into the last corner, there was a rider ahead of me to my left. At the very apex of the corner, either I drifted outwards or he drifted inwards, or both. My front wheel crossed his rear, and I went down *hard*. I remember the crash and the aftermath only in hazy fragments.

    I skidded/tumbled to a stop, and sat up. Nothing felt broken, though I had blood everywhere. I vaguely remember talking to a spectator and another rider, but I can't recall what we spoke about. They must have walked me back to the line, because the next thing I remember I was sitting down behind the officials' table, and the traffic officer was asking if I was OK. I felt as though I had suddenly woken up from a nightmare, and could barely remember any of it. That feeling repeated a number of times, as whatever I had just been doing was suddenly unfamiliar.

    I vaguely remember someone showing me a crack in my helmet, though I could easily have fabricated that - I honestly do not remember, my head was so muddled.

    I do remember dialing 911, and having paramedics arrive and put me on a back-board with a collar. I didn't have any head or neck pain, but I was in no condition to protest. I was able to carry on a coherent (I think) conversation with the paramedic on the way to the E.R. At this point I was feeling better - my short-term memory seemed to be OK again, and my abrasions had not yet begun to sting.

    I saw nothing but hospital ceilings for the next half hour or so, while they examined me for brokenness. Finding none, they gradually freed me from the back-board and collar. I tallied up the wounds as they cleaned and dressed them:
    - Large abrasion on my left wrist and palm, and smaller ones on the fingers.
    - Deep abrasions on both knees.
    - Abrasions on the heel of my right hand, and on the thumb and a few fingers.
    - (the worst of them) A deep abrasion on my right forearm near the elbow, continuing on to my upper arm most of the way up.
    - A very broad, but not-very-deep abrasion on my right hip.
    - Minor abrasions on my chin, right ankle, chest, and left shoulder.

    All bandaged up, I looked like a mummy ready for Halloween. They discharged me soon afterward, and now I'm home resting, and dreading having to change my dressings later tonight.

    As for my bike, I vaguely remember seeing that the right brifter was knocked way out of place and deeply scratched. I don't know what other damage was done, because both the bike and helmet were taken by the Newton police, and I have yet to go retrieve them. My bike shorts have a huge tear at the right hip, and are going in the trash. The lenses of my sunglasses are scratched beyond hope, and presumably the helmet is also a loss.

    I do have my speedometer, which was knocked clear by the impact and retrieved by somebody, though I cannot remember who. I found it in my jersey pocket at the hospital, and it records the speed with which I hit the pavement: 29 mph.

    Psychologically, I'm not sure how OK I am. I was so numbed by the impact that I didn't really think about what had happened until I was safely home. Since then, I've had a number of flashbacks of the crash, and it's a real possibility that my two recent wrecks will spook me out of racing for quite some time. I'll just have to see how I feel in a couple of weeks. I do commute to work by bike, so at least I'll have those exposures to hopefully build up my confidence again.

  2. #2
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    OH you'll be spooked all right. You WILL want to quit.

    Then you'll feel better and do it again.

    Get better man, road rash is the worst.

  3. #3
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Man, we're so close to disaster, but everything feels fine before it happens. Glad you don't have any major medical issues. Heal up fast and go get that bike!

  4. #4
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    Heal up fast man. Glad it wasn't worse.

  5. #5
    Senior Member eskimo85's Avatar
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    sh1tty, heel up and give er another try.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bantam's Avatar
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    I pulled out of a pedal at 37mph about 6 weeks ago.
    I'm a good deal more cautious now than I was before. Get back on your bike as soon as possible and go race when you are healed up. It's the only way to work through it.
    2009 Paralympic Fast-O-Meter: 3/8

  7. #7
    Burning Matches. ElJamoquio's Avatar
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    Look at the bright side: now you can use the quote "It went earth, sky, earth, sky, ambulance."

    My prediction: a few weeks and you'll be feeling much better. Take it easy until then.
    Reacting is mind candy; it requires no thought. Thinking is tedious.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member John Wilke's Avatar
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    The upside:

    - You know that you can crash at speed and still talk about it afterwards.
    - Your first aid skills will skyrocket after all those dressing changes.
    - You've got a great story to tell.

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  9. #9
    Cat3.*....Cat2 asmallsol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElJamoquio View Post
    My prediction: a few weeks and you'll be feeling much better. Take it easy until then.
    yep.

    Go to walgreens or CVS and pick up some tegaderm. Clean wounds, apply directly to the area, and over lap if needed to make about a 1/2 inch of non effected skin is covered on all sides. Keep on for many days in a row. On some areas, you may want to lightly wrap some gauze around the area just to keep the area from peeling up when you flex. For area's like your hand, use nexcare's liquid skin/bandage spray.

    Good luck, and heel up quick. I had a similar crash at 31mph earlier this season. Took about a week and a half off the bike, and even a little over a month (maybe 5 weeks?) after the crash I still have some visual reminders of the crash on my hip and elbow, and from the sounds of it, your's sounds worse.
    Last edited by asmallsol; 07-14-08 at 06:00 AM.

  10. #10
    Burning Matches. ElJamoquio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Wilke View Post
    The upside:

    - You know that you can crash at speed and still talk about it afterwards.
    - Your first aid skills will skyrocket after all those dressing changes.
    - You've got a great story to tell.
    You forgot the best part: chicks dig scars.
    Reacting is mind candy; it requires no thought. Thinking is tedious.

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    "The only good race pace is suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die."
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  11. #11
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    heal up, crashing sucks and the psychological scars are often more difficult to recover from than the ones on your elbows. when you're feeling better, bump this thread so that 1) you can let the forum know that you're on the mend, and 2) you can let the forum point out some of the things in your post that can be improved upon and help to reduce risks that one exposes themselves to when racing or riding in large fast groups.

  12. #12
    Love that dirty water JoesInBoston's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about the crash! You'll be back up and running (err, riding) in no time! I must have missed it by about 20 minutes. I went down to Wells Ave to take pictures of the B race. I kinda wish I had taken pictures of the C race instead now.....

  13. #13
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    WOW, sorry to hear G, that's really crappy news.

    I'm glad it wasnt worse, but it sounds pretty bad.

    Good luck on healing quickly.... I crashed Saturday, too and have done about 4 dressing changes. Not fun.

    Take care and keep us posted.

    -L
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  14. #14
    Senior Member flaco's Avatar
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    I can relate. I am currently recovering from a crash as well. I went down hard in a crit and broke my collarbone, scapula and three ribs, plus got lots of road rash. I am looking at three more weeks off the bike, at least. I definitely plan on continuing racing, but it won't be easy to shake the fear of a repeat. (Is it good or bad that the crash was mostly my fault? I can't decide.)

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

    I'm feeling better today than I had expected. I'm stiff and sore, but otherwise not too bad.

    I did go through a dressing change last night. It wasn't painful, but it took some interesting acrobatics to get everything properly wrapped and taped with both of my hands partially out of commission. Lessons learned: I need wider tape, more gauze, better scissors, and two or three more hands. Or better yet, I need to not crash my bike

  16. #16
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Were you wearing gloves when you hit the deck?

  17. #17
    Mr. Dopolina Bob Dopolina's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your crash. Welcome to the club.

    Heal up.

    Hope your bike's not broken up too badly.
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  18. #18
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRedner View Post
    I did the Wells Ave C race today. I was nervous....
    There's your problem It's hard to get over crash jitters but they often times do more harm then good.

    It's weird how you get those flash memories too isn't it?

  19. #19
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Best wishes and heal fast.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    Were you wearing gloves when you hit the deck?
    No gloves (I know, stupid, stupid, stupid).

    I went today to get the bike back from the Newton police. It's in better shape than I expected. Both wheels need truing, but neither was really damaged. The handlebar tape is shredded and needs replacement, and the derailleur hanger is bent. I should be rolling again by later this week!

  21. #21
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    Sending you healing vibes!

    Bob
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  22. #22
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    A long time ago I also crashed and went to ER.

    +1 on asmallsol's advice on tegaderm. Use 2nd skin as well. There's a new competitor in a shiny pack. DON'T get it, it sucks, waste of money. I don't remember what it was except it had a familiar brand name on it.

    Note: Tegaderm looks like Saran Wrap. 2nd Skin looks like 2 layers of Saran Wrap with a layer of clear gelatin 2mm thick between the two layers of the Saran Wrap. I think 2nd Skin is more soothing for fresh wounds because it feels cool, I think Tegaderm is better for smooth or healing wounds because it's smoother.

    Also there is a tegaderm with a mountain bike shoe on the packaging (I think it's water proof). I think the regular stuff works better.

    +1 on putting gauze on top of the clear stuff (tegaderm/2nd skin) to keep the clear stuff in place. Put huge swaths of gauze on and then lots of tape to keep it in place. For large swaths the fishnet stuff (check out Valverde's leg in this year's Tour) or ACE type bandage/wraps work well too. You have to cover the clear stuff, otherwise your very expensive tegaderm/2nd skin gets peeled off when you put your shirt or pants on.

    Shave anywhere the tape will go. It'll be hairless anyway, but if you shave it first, it hurts less

    +1 on keeping the clear stuff on for a while, i.e. days - take it off only when it gets gross underneath (you'll know it when you see it - yellow, green, brown, anything except pink/red/white). When your wound is close to healed you might leave it on for a week or two - that's my experience. 2nd skin, because it has so much water in it, gets a bit mushy after a week. Tegaderm is better for the long haul (2 weeks, at which point you're probably good to go).

    Use a numbing antiseptic liquid to clean the wounds. I got this translucent blue bottle with a squirt top. First spray down the wound. Wait about 30-60-90-120 seconds to let the numbing part get going, otherwise there is no numbing. Spray a lot to get more of that numbing stuff on. Then, after a few test touches with a gauze pad (the wound will feel swollen but it won't hurt), go to it and scrub out the wound. Rinse generously with the numbing antiseptic stuff, you want things clean. Then put your new tegaderm/2nd skin on. This cleaning step is critical since it keeps everything nice and clean and fresh.

    Check your head/scalp for bruising. You will be surprised. It'll also give you an idea of where you hit your head because you obviously did. Then you can re-examine your helmet and be even more amazed at how much shock it absorbed. Days after my biggest ever helmet impact, someone pointed out the side of my head was purple, a huge area, basically ear to top, all the way from front to back, but all in my hair line. I checked and it was. I then looked at my helmet and saw that not only did it crack in a couple spots (which were obvious), the whole side was compressed about 1/2". Insane. I didn't realize the shell wasn't supposed to be loose and squishy. And right after I hit the ground I claimed to be totally fine. Luckily the EMT there disagreed with me.

    Once your head is okay the rest follows quickly.

    It won't be cheap buying all this stuff, but it really, really helps. Figure 2-3-4 boxes of the clear stuff per round, twice that much gauze, and appropriate tape/ACE/whatever to hold the gauze. I'd use almost a full bottle of that spray stuff per round too. Figure 3-5 rounds of clean/redress before the wounds are nice and pink and have virgin skin on them. My first aid box has maybe 15 ACE bandage rolls (washed and re-rolled), about 4-6 left over "sticks to itself" wrinkly white faux-ACE bandage disposable stuff, about 10-20 boxes of mostly used gauze pads of varying sizes, and maybe 10 mostly used rolls of first aid tape (I like 1/2" to 1" tape, the skinny stuff is useless). I use up all the antiseptic wash I buy, and I have a couple half used antiseptic goo stuff.

    Oh, finally, don't skip the little spots. You'll pay a lot of attention to the big scrapes everywhere and ignore the tiny dime-sized road rash. In a week that dime sized road rash will be stinging and swollen and hurt like a mofo while all the big stuff is almost healed. Take care of EVERY SINGLE wound. Bandages with lots of antiseptic goo for the little ones (cover with first aid tape if it's in a "high traffic" area), 1/2 pieces of tegaderm covered in first aid tape for the coin-sized bits. The little tegaderms you'll leave for a while, just make sure they're ALL cleaned out before you dress them up.

    Learned the hard way,
    cdr

  23. #23
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    The hip and the knees are what kill me. Its the two places you just can't keep out of the water and that prevent a good nights sleep. At least for me. +1 Bozillion on the tegaderm. Like cdr says, it will look very nasty but it works sooooo good at stopping pain.

  24. #24
    Cat3.*....Cat2 asmallsol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    Shave anywhere the tape will go. It'll be hairless anyway, but if you shave it first, it hurts less
    I would avoid shaving the area if you haven't been regularly shaving. I have kinda hairy arms and the tegaderm wasn't sticking very well/peeling easily there. I thought it would be a good idea to shave around the wound to make the area. Well for the next 2 weeks I had enough ingrown hairs on my arm to make me look like I had leporcy. A pair of clippers is a much better move if that area isn't shaved.

  25. #25
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    I think we need to be very careful here. This thread is bordering on thoughtful and informative. We don't want to start a trend and risk the hard-won reputation for being petty and snobbish.

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