He was hit the day after Thanksgiving last year while riding solo. A car turning into a driveway on a 2 lane rural road slammed into my buddy resulting in devastating damage to his left leg, hip and knee.
I can still recall how I felt when I got the phone call while out town-flushed, shocked, speechless, confused and emotional. He and I had shared lots of roads and miles together helping to push each other to be better riders. We talked about a lot of different things out on the rides-I certainly learned the things he was passionate about.
The memories of the many hospital visits-the good days and the bad days-moving him to rehab-comforting his diabled wife-and taking him for doctors visits are still very fresh-too fresh. I recall the various surgeries, and repeated surgeries but lost count of all those.
Seeing his emotions after the local bike club built a ramp in his garage so he could get in and out of his house in his wheelchar was priceless. Hearing and seeing his conviction to get healed and to get back on the bike was inspiring. However there were many, many days where I wondered if he would even walk again.
He continued to revise and push out his goal to ride again as his progress was no faster than a snail's pace-and a snail that might back up before it moved forward again at that.
After a year at least he's walking again, but only with the assistance of a cane. He has a terrible limp that will probably always be his trademark until he can't walk anymore. He's come to grips that he's probably not going to be doing any more time trials, hilly century rides, etc. The only riding he's done has been on the trainer in his house and some spinning classes.
His lawyer and he are still trying to figure out how he can be compensated for thousands of dollars of out of pocket expenses-not to mention all the things he now has to hire someone to do for him. The driver does not have a lot of assets nor much insurance.
He's talked about at least getting out and doing a ride for a few miles the day after Thanksgiving-maybe even just in the neighborhood where he lives, if nothing more than an act of defiance against his misfortune. I know he's changing his focus and preparation the next few years away from cycling to other interests and needs.
I sure wish and would hope with all I could hope for that this would be a story of an injured cyclist recovered and finishing a challenging ride to cheers from a joyful and appreciative crowd. Unfortunately that doesn't look to be the script for my cycling buddy-not this year nor probably the next. However he's alive, his mind is just as sharp as ever, he still can be passionate and he has a caring community supporting him.
For that we can be very thankful!!