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Old 07-09-06, 07:09 PM   #1
jppe
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Horrible Crash

Our local club had it's annual Dog Days ride. We probably had 150 riders to participate. Weather was perfect for riding here in NC-hardly what you'd call Dog Days for July in the Piedmont of NC. It was low 70's with low humidity plus a really nice cloud cover for the entire time of the ride.

Unfortunately we had a really nasty crash just 8 miles into the ride. The group was still very large, in fact it was probably 3 across in one lane. We were going down a very fast hill-probably doing 40 mph. At the bottom of the hill is a really tight curve to the right.

Everything happened immediately in front of me. It looked to me like one fellow was very uncomfortable being in that tight of a group, going that fast and facing a curve. I'm guessing he was just in over his head. It looked to me like he oversteered, he hit his brakes and his rear wheel came out, he went down and he slid a pretty long ways towards the front of a pack of at least a hundred riders. I'm not sure the extent of his injuries.

Two of my cycling buddies were on my immediate left. Buddy No 1 tried going to the left of the downed cyclist and he almost made it by but his front wheel hit the downed bike. He did a complete somersault completely clipped in to this bike. He landed on his back and his bike flew off into the woods beside the road.

Buddy No 2 tried to go to the right with me. He almost made it as well by but the downed cyclist's leg flew out and hit him and he crashed extremely hard. He landed on his right shoulder, back and right side. He had some very bad road rash on his knee, elbows and shoulder. He was in really bad pain in his shoulder and rib cage area. He needed medical attention so he was taken to the local hospital to get checked out.

Buddy No 1 really wanted to ride so he got up and after about 10 mins of adjustments to his wheels, seat and handlebars he hopped back on and we did the remaining 60 miles. He is one tough fellow...Four of us who had stopped to lend a hand road the last 60 miles together and it was very, very nice. Since we were not in a "race" mode, we just took turns pulling and did a very comfortable ride. Interestingly we still averaged around 19+ mph and I didn't feel all worn out for a change.

Here are some pics including shots of the free, all you can eat pizza afterwards. The pic of the riders walking on the road in the distance is the curve/crash scene and we were escorting the injured cyclist to the car.

I rec'd an email from Buddy 2. Here is what he emailed me on his injuries:

I went to the ortho this afternoon. My clavicle is snapped, but not comminuted (misaligned) like last time. The scapula is broken, along with a couple of ribs in my upper chest. There may also be one or more fractures in my lower ribcage. I don't have nearly as much road rash as before, just one bad spot on my knee and some minor scrapes on my shoulder, arm, leg, and hand.

It's pretty painful when I move (or cough, sneeze, laugh, etc.), but the pain medication keeps it in check as long as I hold still.
Please keep him in your thoughts as he goes through the rehab!!
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Last edited by jppe; 07-10-06 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 07-09-06, 07:20 PM   #2
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Are the bikes OK?


Sorry, couldn't resist. Seriously it sounds like every one came out ok.... I hope so.
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Old 07-09-06, 07:23 PM   #3
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Jippe;
Scary. The silver lining on this big bad cloud is that you are OK. Dear God, this is my worst nightmare.
Now you know why some of us go trails and solo. But I know, life goes on. Be careful.
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Old 07-09-06, 08:03 PM   #4
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Rule #1 in a crash: always try to land on top of the guy who caused the crash in order to reduce your own injuries!

Road rash takes about two weeks to heal. The first four or five days you are constantly changing dressings and it's hard to take a shower. When I am doing serious masters racing, I can count on averaging two crashes per year. It's a tough sport.

On recreational rides, you always want to leave a bit more of a gap, particularly on the descents. Few recreational cyclists ride well, especially in pace lines. If you ever get the chance to ride behind a good racer (particularly a trackie), you will be absolutely amazed at how smooth he is, and how close you feel you can comfortably get to his rear wheel.

- L.
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Old 07-09-06, 09:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhbernhardt
On recreational rides, you always want to leave a bit more of a gap, particularly on the descents. Few recreational cyclists ride well, especially in pace lines.
This seems like a reason to
1) leave about 3 seconds between you and guy ahead, like a car and;
2) a reason not to ride in pace lines on recreational rides.
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Old 07-10-06, 09:44 PM   #6
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JPPE,

The thread title is misleading, fortunately. A "Horrible Crash" usually has a car involved.

So glad no one was permanently injured. Certainly a clavicle and scapula are "serious" under anyone's definition when it happens to them.

Thanks for the post. We should all be careful in pace lines. But, it is a great part of the sport and one I am willing to play the odds with. Bicycling IS a sport at some level and there are risks to the "competitors," even recreational competitors.

What we do is risky and those risks never entirely go away, even if we ride merely for pleasure around the housing addition at sedate speeds. (And I have noticed from your previous posts that your speeds are anything but "sedate!" )

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Old 07-10-06, 10:14 PM   #7
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Thanks for reminding me of why I hate pacelines, drafting, and tight formations so much.
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Old 07-10-06, 11:00 PM   #8
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While I like to draft behind friends on the flats and hug a wheel up a hill.....I'm not nervy enough (or foolhardy enough) to descend in a close group. Gimme room to maneuver.
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Old 07-10-06, 11:37 PM   #9
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I pretty much stay away from group rides (and bike paths) in general since over the years I've seen too many crashes and also since it's similar to being in a traffic jam (with bicycles). I would rather ride by myself or with a verysmall group of people whose skills I am familiar with....
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Old 07-11-06, 06:53 AM   #10
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Always a thought in my mind when riding group rides, but I enjoy the paceline so much I will keep doing it. Even the pros crash, so it just one of those things you have to hope to avoid. The bigger the group the more chance of new people and problems, that is why I generally will only ride group rides with the same 30-50 riders each week. Good luck to your buddies.
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