Sympathy post Not actually, but thought there might be a lesson here for others to take home.
I crashed 2 weeks ago, ending a beautiful fall riding season way too early. I was on my way home, on my daily commute from work when I hit a pothole on a downhill (30-35 mph). This is a road I ride every day and know where all the potholes are, yet I managed to hit a (well known to me) one. I was just starting to brake, which made matters worse, and I flipped the bike.
I was air lifted to the closest trauma center and spent a couple of days in icu, and one in a regular room. Injuries include 3 fractured cervical vertabrae, some possible ligament damage to my neck, a fractured jaw, some missing teeth, and a host of stitches to put my face back together. FWIW, I had a helmet on, broke it's edge, but the damage to my face stopped where the helmet started. I was in a world of hurt, but never lost consciousness, and never had as much as a headache from concussion. No one can tell me that a helmet isn't required cycling gear. I'm recouperating at home and am doing pretty well, all things considered, testiment to staying in decent shape from riding a lot. Hope to be back to work wiithin the next week or 2. I will have to wear a full head brace for the next 11 weeks or so, so riding is out untill I can stuff my head back into a helmet again and hold my neck up ok.
So, as much as I like going down hills fast, this will probably slow me down some in the future. I think we tend to (at least I do) get complacent, riding the same roads day after day, taking risks that seem minimal at the time. The road in question is a mess, and I always took the same line through the minefield of pot holes near the bottom of the hill. We drove over there the other day. With police investigation marks still on the road, I looked at the spot close up, and thought, I'm out of my mind. I should have wiped out there years ago.
I think I can say you don't quite bounce back at 54 like you did at 24.
Wear your helmets, folks...that's the most important one. I'm a very happy guy all banged up right now, though it's a ***** of a way to get extra vacation from work.