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4th Street Crit Report -- OUCH!

Old 09-09-06, 07:08 AM
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zimbo
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4th Street Crit Report -- OUCH!

My third and final criterium race of the year was last night. Things were going nicely for the first couple of minutes but as I tried to move up in position on the field I took a corner a bit too wide and hit a curb at over 28mph. At least I think that's what happened... I have no memory of the crash, but my helmet is, um, going to need to be replaced.

Next thing I knew there were several medics standing over me asking me things like "who do you work for?" (I could not answer that question) and "do you know where you are?" (Hmmm, a bike race, right?) and next thing I knew I was being strapped onto a gourney and loaded into an ambulance. It was surreal. I've never lost consciousness before but it's like having a dream and when you wake up you can't tell which is the dream and which is reality.

I spent several hours in the ER getting a CT scan and some x-rays which came back fine--but my Bell road helmet had clearly been rung. Fortunately, I have no broken bones and no need for stitches--but I have some significant road rash on the left side of my body. I was not entirely "with it" for some of the time but I do know that when the attendants tried to cut me out of my cycling jersey, bib shorts, and Sidi shoes I yelled "please don't cut these clothes, they cost a fortune!" and managed to save them.

Since my wife and kids were nearly 2 hours away and it was late in the evening (the race started at about 6:30 so imagine my confusion when I looked up at the clock in the hospital after seemingly only having been a few minutes removed from the crash to see that it was 9:00--where did the time go??), I didn't really want her to have to get someone to watch the kids and come get me because it would mean having to come back the next day to get my car.

I have a friend in a nearby city but I don't know his phone number from memory even when my memory is clear and my cell phone was in the car. The folks at the hospital would not let me leave on my own, but I finally convinced them sometime after 10:00pm to let me take a taxi to my car where I promised I would call my friend. I managed to get the bike into the trunk of the taxi (come on now, did you really think I would get in an ambulance and drive off without my bike?!?) and we made it back to the car. BTW, the bike is going to be fine, as far as I can tell, but the rear brake calipers need some adjustment.

At the car, I still was unable to reach my friend so I decided to just drive home. Yeah, I know, I know, not smart. But, I was feeling pretty good and REALLY didn't want my wife to have to come get me. Convincing her that I should race again will be hard enough as it is. Fortunately, I made it home without incident and scrubbed the road rash before going to bed.

Well, there was one incident, I guess... I stopped to get some food on the way home (I hadn't eaten a full meal since 11:00am since I seem to be able to ride harder when I have light food like granola bars). In the bathroom, I noticed that my left cheekbone and eyebrow were pretty cut up and there was still quite a bit of residual blood staining down the side of my face. For whatever reason, all of the knuckles on both hands were cut up as well.

As I was standing there at the Wendy's counter placing my order (Big Bacon Classic, Large Frosty, thank you very much) I noticed that the guy kept looking down at my knuckles and then up at my face and then back down at my knuckles. I realized at that moment that he must have thought I'd been in a fight so as I took my food and turned to leave I nonchalantly said without any smile whatsoever on my face "you should have seen the other guy."

I still have some residual cob webs this morning, but I'll try to get on the bike tomorrow. The Bridge-to-Bridge ride is next Sunday and it's going to take more than a little road rash and a concussion to keep me out of it.

--Steve
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Old 09-09-06, 07:36 AM
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Ouch....

How's your head today? I crashed back in May and whacked my head at over 20 mph onto the pavement, but didn't get knocked out....did get a nice concussion though. I was out of it for several days, and felt sick to my stomach for nearly a week. I would be VERY careful riding for the next week or two, as another good blow to the head, and it'll be game over. Instead of an ambulance, you'll be catching a ride in a hearse. I ended up riding the trainer for a few rides after I felt well enough to start pedaling again.

Rest as much as possible the next few days or so. Head injuries can be very weird.
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Old 09-09-06, 07:38 AM
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Yeesh. Glad you're OK. The hospital/X ray/CT route was definitely the way to go.

Just take it easy this week... +1 for GW's recommendation to rest for a couple days.
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Old 09-09-06, 08:18 AM
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daym...glad to hear you are pretty much ok. See you need to upgrade to get away from all of those fools that take corners too fast...oh wait. j/k
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Old 09-09-06, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper
daym...glad to hear you are pretty much ok. See you need to upgrade to get away from all of those fools that take corners too fast...oh wait. j/k
Yeah, I deserved that. In my defense, I had been trying various lines on that corner for the previous 40 minutes without incident. Oh, well, live and learn.

--Steve
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Old 09-09-06, 09:14 AM
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Well...did you save the bike?

"you should have seen the other guy" Nice. Heres to making your injury work for you
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Old 09-09-06, 09:41 AM
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Glad you're OK, I would have done the same thing, drive home myself and not inconvience my wife a little girl.
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Old 09-09-06, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by zimbo
I still have some residual cob webs this morning, but I'll try to get on the bike tomorrow. The Bridge-to-Bridge ride is next Sunday and it's going to take more than a little road rash and a concussion to keep me out of it.
Hello Steve,

Two weeks ago today and exactly one week before my 49th birthday, I was in a head-on crash in my car. It's a long story but it was on a two-lane mountain road and the other driver came into my lane leaving me no where to go. I came out of it with a broken sternum but no head injuries. I was racing better than I have in several years (despite my terrible showing at the district chamionship road race). I am now off of the bike for a month.

The reason that I am relating this story to you is that you look like a fairly young guy with a long cycling career ahead of you. Riding with the remnants of a concussion is NOT a good idea. Also, missing a particular ride will not ruin your cycling life or set you too far back. I suggest, as others have said, that you take it easy until you get over the concussion fully. Also, depending where your road rash extends, you may be setting yourself up for other infections if you do a long ride before the road rash has healed.

Last story (I promise) -- I crashed during a mid-week race just before a big stage race back in the 1980s. I ended up damaging my ribs and couldn't breathe properly. Since all of the stages were at 5,000+ feet of altitude I ended up skipping the race. I still went up to cheer on my teammates as I had already paid for my share of the condo. It turns out that it was the last time that I ever went up to that race which they stopped running a couple of years later. Am I sorry that I didn't try racing? Not really. If you stick with this sport you will do hundreds of races and rides and most of them will be fond memories that start to blur together anyway.

Heal up soon so that you can train again in earnest.
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Old 09-09-06, 02:34 PM
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This story sounds very similiar to my first race that I posted in cyclingforums.com let me just paste it in here....

Ugh...

Well I finally attempted my first race today. A catV road race in Zoar OH. It was pretty short (2 laps at 10 miles a lap) but hilly and a lots of cyclists were there. Im doing pretty well hanging with the group got dropped a bit on a steep climb but manage to catch up (I was holding over 400 watts for over 2 minutes) Maybe its because I weigh 80 kilos Well anyway the second time up this steep hill I get dropped some more and this is like less then 2 miles from the finish. So I try to catch up and then I find myself laying in an ambulance!? It looks like I touched tires with another straggler going down hill. According to my powertap I hit the deck at just over 30MPH! Nothing broken, had to have a CAT scan since I had a mild concusion but it turned out OK. Some major road rash on my back and one of my shoulder blades is really sore ouch. One of my eyes is black and blue but my Rudy's look OK. The bike ...... well the brifters are off but that fine, the top tube has a nice dent in it I am going to take it to the bike shop tommorow and get it looked at. The wheels look true and the tire are still inflated. So all in all not too bad I guess, too bad my girlfriend went with me so of course she was crying/screaming. She tells me no more racing, I agree for now but I will see how I feel about it next week.

Oh yeah normalized power for the race was 293 and this was catV?! Damn!

Anyway that was about a month ago and I am still riding like crazy. This was my first crash (not counting clipless lessons) I ever suffered on the bike. The bike is fine and sometimes I think its better not remembering the accident because I have no qualms about riding.
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Old 09-09-06, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Cleave
The reason that I am relating this story to you is that you look like a fairly young guy with a long cycling career ahead of you. Riding with the remnants of a concussion is NOT a good idea. Also, missing a particular ride will not ruin your cycling life or set you too far back.
I really appreciate your comments. I'm turning 38 next month and have a wife and three kids--so that does put a certain perspective on things. Trust me, I won't ride in next Sunday's Bridge-to-Bridge if I'm still feeling any of the effects of the crash. At the same time, however, I've been targeting this event as the most important event for my cycling year and a little road rash won't keep me out. Lingering head injuries: out. Bandaids on the knees: in.

--Steve
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Old 09-09-06, 04:17 PM
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Post a pic of your helmet and your injuries. It would be interesting to see.
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Old 09-10-06, 12:14 PM
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Glad you're ok. Head injuries are no fun, huh? I crashed in a motorcycle race at about 80-100 mph, guy got inside of me on a corner and ran me off the road at the corner exit, and thats all I remember. Next thing I remember, I'm in a golf cart, I look up at a blue sky and the corner worker is looking at me gravely and says, "do you want to go see the nice men in the ambulance?"

I know I was up and about after the crash, because if you are unconscious, they just strap you to the back board, helmet on and everything, and call the helicopter. My helmet and gloves were off and my leathers were peeled off to the waist, so I had to have done that, but I have absolutely no memory of it!

Broken ribs but otherwise none the worse for wear.
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Old 09-10-06, 01:04 PM
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UPDATE: Well, my road rash is healing and I'm working my way through a second box of oversized bandaids. Call me an OCP, but I'm feeling pretty good about having shaved my legs and arms the morning of the race.

As far as the head goes, I'm still feeling a bit of dizziness when I stand up or lie down too fast. I'm committed to staying off the bike until that goes away completely. I really want to get out for an easy spin on the bike to make sure she's OK but it will have to wait until there are no residual effects of the header.

--Steve
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Old 09-10-06, 01:13 PM
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Believe it or not, your brain is just like another muscle. When you get punched in the arm really hard, you have a huge bruise and you'd want to lay off that for a while. The same for the brain, its still physically sore from smacking into your skull.
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Old 09-10-06, 05:13 PM
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I was one of the App. State guys in that race and I heard you crash behind me. Glad your OK because it sounded aweful.
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Old 09-10-06, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by AppStateEvan
I was one of the App. State guys in that race and I heard you crash behind me. Glad your OK because it sounded aweful.
I didn't hear a thing! I really should have been patient and just followed the group around that corner. I was sitting in about 10th place with--obviously--plenty of time to make ground.

How'd you do? Did the pack stay together or break apart due to the rolling hills?

--Steve
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Old 09-10-06, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by zimbo
UPDATE: Well, my road rash is healing and I'm working my way through a second box of oversized bandaids. Call me an OCP, but I'm feeling pretty good about having shaved my legs and arms the morning of the race.

As far as the head goes, I'm still feeling a bit of dizziness when I stand up or lie down too fast. I'm committed to staying off the bike until that goes away completely. I really want to get out for an easy spin on the bike to make sure she's OK but it will have to wait until there are no residual effects of the header.

--Steve
Yep.....I had the same thing. Your head will feel out of it for several days. Mine was to the point that, for the first few days, thinking actually took effort. I had the dizziness and nausea for a good week or so.

I started riding the trainer at an easy pace about a week later, and did that for about a week. I crashed on May 7th, and was back riding outside full-time on the 25th....although I did sneak in an outside ride on the 17th.
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Old 09-11-06, 09:01 AM
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Today was my first day back on the bike. I went about 90 minutes--taking it easy at first to make sure I was OK and that the bike was OK--and then did a few AWC hill intervals.

I need to take care of my road rash, get plenty of rest, and--fingers crossed--I think I'll be OK for this weekend's Bridge-to-Bridge ride.

--Steve
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