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  1. #1
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Clear, Protective Face Mask

    Hi,

    I have been diligently training and racing this summer to prepare myself for Masters Road Nationals in Bend, OR, starting at the very end of this month. A week ago this past Saturday I had a very stupid crash that result in "minimal displacement" fractures (three I think) in the base of my orbital (eye socket in lay terms).

    My doctor said no racing for six weeks, which is past nationals. My very supportive wife suggested that I do some research on those clear plastic face masks that basketball and other professional athletes wear. (BTW, my wife and I are not delusional about my athletic ability. ) After scouring the web, the only source of these masks that I could find was this place in Michigan:

    http://www.customfacemasks.com/index.cfm

    I called a couple of times today and left a message but I did not receive a return call.

    As I have very little lead time to get something like this, I was wondering if anyone any direct or indirect experience with getting something like this?

    I know it sounds kind of extreme, but I am already invested in $186 worth of entry fees and I've already been cleared for the vacation time. I can cancel my room rental as late as next Monday with no penalty but I figure even after I'm fully healed there may be racing opportunities where it would make sense to wear something like this for a month or so just in case.

    Of course I could just go and take my chances. This was my first crash of any kind on the road in over 20 years so I would like to think that the odds of me crashing again within a month are slim. But then again Jens crashed twice in that stage of this year's Tour.

    TIA.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
    "Real men wear pink."
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  2. #2
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Doesn't seem worth the risk of re-injury..
    cat 1.

    blog

  3. #3
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    show up in a downhill helmet. I've considered it, but ultimately decided against it as i can avoid of the problem by not participating in bunch sprints.

    That said, it's better to do a full healing than to risk it.

  4. #4
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Yes, I understand that there is inherent risk and I appreciate the somber assessment. However, it appears that these masks work very well and I am trying to understand how difficult it might be to get one at this time (the crit is on Sep 2nd) and how costly it might be as the web site says insurance companies generally won't pay for them. I may be pulling at straws and I should probably thank my lucky stars that it wasn't a lot worse but I will probably do a bunch of after-the-fact, what-if, second-guessing if I don't try to find out about this option.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Those masks are probably made to mitigate a stray hand or ball to the face. Seems to me a crash that involves a blow to the face won't be mitigated much by a mask like that. Kind of an all or nothing deal; there are really no "small" blows to the face to protect against in bike racing.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  6. #6
    SLJ 6/8/65-5/2/07 Walter's Avatar
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    I would guess they are custom-made or molded or something to that effect and that there's considerable lead time. I mean they'll do an over-night fitting for Kobe Bryant but I'd guess there's more than ~$200 involved.

    But this is just conjecture based on having had custom braces made for my arm in the past and I don't know for sure.
    Last edited by Walter; 08-15-11 at 08:11 PM. Reason: affect/effect thingy
    “Life is not one damned thing after another. Life is one damned thing over and over.”
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  7. #7
    Killing Rabbits
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    i can avoid of the problem by not participating in races.
    Fixed. You blame the sprints for the majority of the crashes but in reality crashes are unpredictable...

  8. #8
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    cleave,

    Your eye sight is worth more than all your entry fee, hotel deposit, and vacation time put together.

    It's hard to let go of a goal you've worked for, and the fact that you're trying every way to avoid doing so is what makes you a good bike racer.

    But, you need to let this go and focus on the next goal.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator
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    I vote to skip Nationals or, if you must, use something akin to the full face guard thing.

    Although Nationals is only one time a year, your eyesight is for life.

    btw that site triggered a malware alert when I clicked on a sample (top right "story" of different customers).

  10. #10
    going roundy round wanders's Avatar
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    Yeah Cleave, I'm with Merlin on this. It scares me to think how bad things could go even if the odds are on your side.

    edit - and cdr.
    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
    Damn.

  11. #11
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
    Fixed. You blame the sprints for the majority of the crashes but in reality crashes are unpredictable...
    +1, crashes happen in feed zones, long straights in a RR, in break aways....

    Hell I've seen crashes happen after a field sprint, complete with broken collarbones..
    cat 1.

    blog

  12. #12
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Did your doc explain why he recommends no racing? A chance of re-injury that may require surgery is one thing, a chance of a bone fragment that spears your eye like a toothpick through a martini olive is another. I'd take the former chance but not the latter.

    If you race will you be too cautious? It'd suck to take the chance but not feel confident to race to your physical ability.

  13. #13
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Wow, I thought you guys were a bunch of hardcore racers. I guess not.

    OK, my doctor did not warn of dire, potential eyesight loss if I crashed again with a compromised orbital. I guess I will ask him about that tomorrow. He basically said, "Forget about nationals."

    He told me no strenuous training for two weeks and no racing for six weeks. As I mentioned above, if I got one of these masks, I'd probably continue to use it for late season races.

    Of course this crash happened right at the very start of a club ride when my bike slid out from under me after riding through some water. Just me, all by myself, though others said it was unusually slippery. (That intersection often has water in it and I've ridden through it thousands of times.) So not racing won't necessarily reduce my chance of crashing before this heals.

    The interesting thing is the last time I crashed on the road, during a race, I missed the Mammoth Mountain Stage Race back in the 1980s. Maybe I shouldn't ride for a few weeks before really big target races.

    I guess I'll be well-rested for the fall SoCal TT series. (As if that will help me place better. )

    BTW, no one actually answered my question. (OK, Walter sort of answered my question -- thanks Walter.)
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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  14. #14
    Does Not Exist
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    I thought the suggestion of using a downhill full-face helmet was a good one. It might be bearable with enough vents.

    One guy I know had a bad cut below his eye, and he wore ski goggles to protect it while riding.

  15. #15
    Blissketeer HokuLoa's Avatar
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    Sorry about the news. Not sure about the masks but I'm a +1 on "just let it go." From what little I do know about facial fractures I'd have to imagine that one of your doc's concerns is about the pressure involved w/ race pace exertions. If you have orbital fractures and then increase pressure in your head and eyes it can't be a good thing. There are always other races but not necessarily another eye...

    Best of luck.

  16. #16
    Senior Member graphs's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your accident, Cleave.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
    Last edited by graphs; 08-16-11 at 09:09 AM. Reason: misguided attempt at humour + bad advice

  17. #17
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Modern full face bicycle helmets are surprisingly light, but expensive. You could probably wear one of those masks the bull riders wear, or something from a hockey goalie.
    Good luck with whatever you decide, Cleave.

  18. #18
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    OK John, your response made me LOL. The first image that popped into my mind was the Jason character from the Halloween movies (which I've never see). I could just imagine showing up to the start line wearing a goalie mask like that.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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  19. #19
    Super Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
    OK John, your response made me LOL. The first image that popped into my mind was the Jason character from the Halloween movies (which I've never see). I could just imagine showing up to the start line wearing a goalie mask like that.
    That was the first image that popped into my head when reading your original post. If it can fend off a hockey puck it's probably pretty strong.

  20. #20
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Casco Warp:


    http://casco-helme.de/en/produkte.ht...category_id=18

    good enough for some trackies...
    "have fun and be kind"
    - an internet post

  21. #21
    Senior Member graphs's Avatar
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    Hell, I'd wear that and I don't even have a facial injury.

  22. #22
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    This one seems like a good deal, even comes with a machete.


  23. #23
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Quick update for anyone who cares. My doctor said that at 4 weeks the bones will be "healed, but still soft." He thought that the clear face mask would work fine. The mask cost $500 and insurance won't cover it and I could get one in time. The Casco helmet in the photo covers the part of my face that hit the ground. The one available in the US that is USAC legal, Warp Carbon ($310), does not have that feature but it may still provide better protection than my road helmet, Lazer Helium. My TT helmet, Lazer Tardiz, covers the part of my face that hit the road. I'm thinking that my Karma is not good at this point and that I will probably skip nationals. I will decide after my follow-up with my doctor on Friday.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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  24. #24
    Blissketeer HokuLoa's Avatar
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    Best of luck and speedy recovery!

  25. #25
    Fast for a sloth miwoodar's Avatar
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    People will remember you if you go this route...

    http://forum.slowtwitch.com/cgi-bin/...i?post=3099362;

    http://www2.dailyprogress.com/sports...gain-ar-81760/

    The guy survived a near death accident. He rides full faced now.

    Last edited by miwoodar; 08-18-11 at 11:15 AM.

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