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Old 05-26-12, 07:36 PM   #1
teacherlady
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The end of my tour

I got the fit nailed on the new bike I got for the tour, and took it out Friday evening for a spin. Yes, it really was perfect. I was really going to do this thing, the (half) cross-country ride I dreamed about all through my teens and twenties, but gave up on when I hit 30 23 years ago. I'd been getting packages delivered at school for a couple of weeks: new panniers, maps, street clothes for an east-coast summer evening.

Last Saturday I set out for one of the last "training" rides, a little 50+ mile, 4000+ foot ride that would probably be harder than any day of the planned trip. I took took the usual route out of town. I remember taking the left turn under the freeway that I take every day on the way to school.

I don't remember anything from the crash, the ambulance ride, or the emergency room. I remember the ICU. I remember the four days while they waited to make sure the cracked vertebral processes weren't going to fracture, before they let me go to the bathroom. I remember falling asleep mid-sentence, and waking up surprised that other people had gone on with the conversation.

I remember sitting in a chair for the first time, while across town my seniors graduated without me.

I came home last night, after 6 nights and seven days in two of the best hospitals in the area, (six nights and seven days ought to go with some different noun than hospital) and almost cried today when I came upstairs and faced the table where I was pre-packing for the trip that was supposed to start this morning.

6 broken ribs (3 in two places), bruised lung, bruised liver, broken clavicle (that's what really hurts), very minor bleeding in the brain (is a brain bleed ever minor?), and enough road rash to be glad I never got into racing. When I look at my helmet, I realize I am very lucky to be here, and that I shouldn't complain about the opportunity to learn about my limits. I'm trying to feel lucky.
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Old 05-26-12, 07:42 PM   #2
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Quick, buy a lottery ticket

What exactly happened? Car vs bike or bike vs road?
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Old 05-26-12, 08:12 PM   #3
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What exactly happened?
I remember reading about a guy who crashed in the hills west of Palo Alto, up around Skyline Drive. I think he had a GPS so from that he could go back and find where he crashed and tried to puzzle out what happened. Quite possible that teacherlady has no idea. Only if there were witnesses willing to tell the story.

My sweetheart and I were out for a little walk in the Shawangunks & saw police and ambulance pull up. We heard on the radio the next day that a lady died there in a climbing accident.

It's a nice mystery. The game isn't exactly to minimize risk, but to find some reasonable trade-off between risk and reward. Don't take foolish risks, or for that matter don't just waste hard-earned rewards. But even to understand the potential or likely risks & rewards of some activity, that is not easy.

Anyway, teacherlady, it sounds like a horrible experience. So glad you've pulled through! Do tell us whatever details you know about the accident: maybe you can help others avoid some danger or other. But even riding as safely as possible, sometimes the wrong card turns up.

Take it easy and heal up good and strong!
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Old 05-26-12, 08:21 PM   #4
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May you heal well, and soon.
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Old 05-26-12, 08:41 PM   #5
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Sigh. Sorry to read this, wishing you a good and speedy recovery.

Last edited by mev; 05-26-12 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 05-26-12, 08:45 PM   #6
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I hope you heal well and quickly.
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Old 05-26-12, 08:58 PM   #7
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Wounded, but alive, I hope you heal fully and find peace.
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Old 05-26-12, 09:53 PM   #8
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The tour's not ended, just postponed.

Heal up. Get back in the saddle.
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Old 05-26-12, 10:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by teacherlady View Post
I got the fit ...
Hope you heal fast. I don't understand the situation, but this advice may apply:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...MBERS-READ****

Last edited by seeker333; 05-26-12 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 05-27-12, 12:35 AM   #10
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I'm trying to feel lucky.
Unlucky to crash, lucky to survive it. The trip will still be there next year, and so will you.
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Old 05-27-12, 06:51 AM   #11
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Teacherlady, I´m so, so sorry to read your story and hope you´ll heal quickly. You ARE lucky. You´re here and your trip has only been postponed. It´s not remotely the same, but my dream trip ended due to a minor injury to my left arm. I cried my eyes out because I wasn´t able to finish, but you know...it isn´t over, just postponed. So please allow yourself to heal and don´t worry. You have the gear, you have the willpower, you´ll be back in the saddle very, very soon. Thank you for sharing your story.
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Old 05-27-12, 07:26 AM   #12
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how horrible. Hope you heal completely and can go on to do whatever (touring or otherwise) you feel like doing.
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Old 05-27-12, 07:47 AM   #13
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I leave on an extended tour in 36 days. I will be more careful!

Hope you heal well and get back on the bike!

z
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Old 05-27-12, 10:48 AM   #14
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"teacherlady", sorry to hear that you had a nasty incident, and that your long dreamed of adventure had to be postponed for now. Everyone's mental makeup when facing major trauma or difficulties in their life is different, but I most earnestly urge you to embrace the fact that you survived, your body wasn't permanently impaired, and your dream can still be achieved. Your biggest challenge when healing will be overcoming self pity and the dreaded 'procrastination'. I give you my situation as an example. In 1999 a friend and I rode from Fairbanks, Alaska to Watson Lake in Canada before having to return to work. We were to finish the second half of the Alaskan Hwy, as well touring through northern British Columbia the next year. Unfortunately, I had a bad fall which broke my left hip badly as well as shattering my left elbow into pieces. The specialist that did a fantastic job of bolting and wiring me back together strongly urged me not to give up, not to feel sorry for myself, not to procrastinate, and religiously follow the re-habituation programs offered me. He impressed me so much that I not only followed his advice, but I carefully pushed hard to exceed it as well. Six months after that devastating fall, I successfully shot 2 deer with my 70# hunting bow and 14 months after the accident I rode my loaded touring bike on the second half of the Alaskan Hwy as well as through northern British Columbia. As a comparison, there was a Lady with a broken leg in re-hab while I was there that had basically given up. She would only do the minimum while at the clinic, nothing between visits or at home, and consequently wasn't making any progress. That Surgeon had told me the sooner I exercised (safely) the less muscle mass I would lose and the easier it would be to get back to the great shape I was before the accident....he was right. Hope you heal quickly and get to ride that dream.
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Old 05-28-12, 03:13 PM   #15
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Hope you heal fast. I don't understand the situation, but this advice may apply:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...MBERS-READ****
+1

Anything you say in public about the incident can be potentially traced back to you, and used against you in the event of legal proceedings.

You may want to talk to the admins about deleting this thread, or heavily edit it. Including deleting my post which recommends you delete the public comments.

Otherwise, good luck recovering.
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Old 05-28-12, 06:51 PM   #16
skilsaw
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Don't feel bad, "it could be worse" they said.
Yes, it got worse.

A little gallows humor.

Get well soon.
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Old 05-29-12, 01:22 AM   #17
Rowan
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+1

Anything you say in public about the incident can be potentially traced back to you, and used against you in the event of legal proceedings.

You may want to talk to the admins about deleting this thread, or heavily edit it. Including deleting my post which recommends you delete the public comments.

Otherwise, good luck recovering.
Oddly enough, I don't see any reference to another party nor vehicle involved in the accident. People shouldn't jump to conclusions until they have evidence to do so.

I remember one of the early journal writers on CGOAB, Denise, had a major crash on her Bike Friday... no other party was evidently involved, but the cause remained a complete mystery. She overcame her injuries (not as bad as teacherlady's, but serious enough anyway) and continued her touring activities.
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Old 05-29-12, 04:36 AM   #18
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Wow, OP get well soon.

I hope here in the UK we do not become as litigious as the USA, unfortunately we seem to be going that way slowly. I would hypothecise that when a society becomes too litigious common sense suffers?

Example the case of a child under 10 in the UK referred to another child oh your xxxx race comment and from XXX continent. Child told mother who went into school, accused racism, hit the national headlines. Don't know if their suing. Common sense dictates they are children!!!!! and just need to be taught correctly.

Sorry to go off topic. America just amazes me. Thats why I find the country fascinating.
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Old 05-29-12, 06:07 AM   #19
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Oddly enough, I don't see any reference to another party nor vehicle involved in the accident. People shouldn't jump to conclusions until they have evidence to do so.
It's unclear what happened to the OP, or any legal proceedings that could result.

As such, statements like "I don't remember what happened" are, generally speaking, inadvisable when one is trying to curry sympathy from strangers on the Internets. I don't think it hurts to remind people of that.
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Old 05-29-12, 07:34 AM   #20
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Get better, heal well, and keep dreaming.
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Old 05-29-12, 08:03 AM   #21
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Horrible. I was in a similar, though much less severe, accident last summer. Broken collarbone in three (four?) places, 1 rib, didn't come to until the hospital ride, etc. In my case I *think* I was going downhill at about 20mph, got distracted, and hit a speedbump about a half mile from my house. I've biked > 15000 miles over the last few years, so....

Good things:
- collarbone healed pretty rapidly (I'm 48). Major pain for a few days, but by the end of the first week it was the rib that caused me the most problems.
- the single rib crack healed more slowly, but I think I was back on the bike in three weeks. Doctor told me no, and then winked.
- the road rash was very nasty. My wife patiently changed dressings on my shoulders for quite some time.

I thought I might end up gunshy, but in fact once I got back on the bike there seemed to be no lasting effects, mental or physical. I haven't had any other crashes, and going up and down that fateful street doesn't cause me problems (maybe because I don't remember it :-)). I've since put another few thousand miles on the bike, including a tour from Bar Harbor Maine down to DC.

I sincerely hope you get through this as well. Your injuries are obviously worse than mine are, but biking (and especially touring) is great on so many levels that you must get back on. By the way, this has nothing to do with your limits. Crap like this just happens some times, we accept that when we get on 25lbs of nothing and go out on a road.

It was a freak accident and nothing more.
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Old 05-29-12, 04:22 PM   #22
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...I hope here in the UK we do not become as litigious as the USA.
Eliminate the UK's NHS, and see how many ads spring up for attorneys on your billboards.
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Old 05-29-12, 04:29 PM   #23
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they get sued anytime anything goes wrong. there's many a lawyer who will do no win no fee. no need to eliminate it, already happens
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Old 05-29-12, 05:05 PM   #24
lucille
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Sorry about your accident. Get well soon and don't give up our dream.
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Old 05-30-12, 01:29 AM   #25
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Horrible. I was in a similar, though much less severe, accident last summer. Broken collarbone in three (four?) places, 1 rib, didn't come to until the hospital ride, etc. In my case I *think* I was going downhill at about 20mph, got distracted, and hit a speedbump about a half mile from my house. I've biked > 15000 miles over the last few years, so....

Good things:
- collarbone healed pretty rapidly (I'm 48). Major pain for a few days, but by the end of the first week it was the rib that caused me the most problems.
- the single rib crack healed more slowly, but I think I was back on the bike in three weeks. Doctor told me no, and then winked.
- the road rash was very nasty. My wife patiently changed dressings on my shoulders for quite some time.

I thought I might end up gunshy, but in fact once I got back on the bike there seemed to be no lasting effects, mental or physical. I haven't had any other crashes, and going up and down that fateful street doesn't cause me problems (maybe because I don't remember it :-)). I've since put another few thousand miles on the bike, including a tour from Bar Harbor Maine down to DC.

I sincerely hope you get through this as well. Your injuries are obviously worse than mine are, but biking (and especially touring) is great on so many levels that you must get back on. By the way, this has nothing to do with your limits. Crap like this just happens some times, we accept that when we get on 25lbs of nothing and go out on a road.

It was a freak accident and nothing more.
Nice post. Very reassuring that there is touring after crashing. Well done.
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