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Getting back on after a crash

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Getting back on after a crash

Old 11-21-04, 12:54 PM
  #1  
Alis
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Getting back on after a crash

I知 looking to hear perspectives on this business of getting back on the bike after a hard crash.

Today, I sat in a wheelchair looking out on a pond while my riding partner did our regular Sunday morning trail ride (the trail ride that happens when the road ride isn稚 happening, that is). I sat there with my dog and cyclists rode by. They spoke, I spoke.

In between, I wondered if I知 supposed to get on again? Maybe my last crash, where I broke my pelvis and a vertebra, maybe I知 not supposed to do this. I know my body will heal. I was healthy and reasonably young. I will get better. Nobody痴 said 土ou値l never ride again, much less 土ou値l never walk again.

For some of you, I know there痴 no question. But I think most everyone has a breaking point. A point where the road hit back so hard you knew it won. When that happens to motorcyclists and cyclists, what do we do?

Maybe it痴 just an issue of 土ou can稚 see that far from here. Like I can稚 see that far today, and maybe I shouldn稚 try to. Like I致e adjusted to this accident as I致e gone along, first knowing I壇 use most of my accumulated sick leave, then knowing I壇 use every drop of my sick leave, then knowing I値l have to use every hour of my whole year痴 vacation leave, watching my colleagues jet off to New Hampshire and Italy and who knows where while I sit at my desk and sweat it out for another fall (and school year痴 supply of vacation days) to roll around. It痴 all a matter of adjustment. Right?
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Old 11-21-04, 04:16 PM
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Sounds like you are a little down. That's understandable. Just take it easy and one day at a time and never say never. Work on your recovery and when you're better you can decide then what you want to do with the rest of your life.

I hope you have a speedy recovery and hope that you don't get too down. Try to stay positive because half the battle is keeping the right attitude.
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Old 11-21-04, 05:16 PM
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It depends on the type of crash and, the extent of 'shock', that you may have suffered as a result. Back on 09-30-04, I was about to cross a railroad track. This particular track was not 'hugged', by the asphalt. There were gaps on both sides of each rail, wide enough for my tire to slip into. I, stupidly, got my wheel parallel, instead of perpendicular to the track. It sent me over the handlebars. I bruised a muscle in my chest and, it didn't stop hurting till last week. I still rode my bike.
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Old 11-21-04, 05:23 PM
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You sound really down. Since you can't ride now, I'd say just leave it for a while and take up some other hobbies or activities that'll entertain you. Don't even dwell on cycling for now. Then when the time comes you can see about the bike.
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Old 11-21-04, 05:33 PM
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As a veteran of a couple of crashes, both requiring medical attention, albeit no hospitalization, you need to assess if the accident was avoidable and what steps you can reasonably take to prevent a future recurrence. I would also start back to biking slowly, to regain your confidence. Despite the perils of cycling, the benefits still outweigh the risks.

Just remember the immortal words from the Roughrider himself:

Far better to dare mighty things
To win glorious trimuphs, even though checkered by failure
Than to take rank with the poor spirits
Who never enjoy much or suffer much
Because they live in the gray twilight, that knows not victory, nor defeat
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Old 11-21-04, 06:31 PM
  #6  
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I have never had a significant wreck on the road, but BMX racing nearly killed me. It's still a bicylce though, so it relates. I couldn't ride for a year while my internal organs healed. Wehn I was cleared, I raced another year and at 33 I finished second in the state in my class. However I never really rode all -out that year, and yet I still had a couple of crashes. I knew that I would never be competitive, so that was my last year of racing. I came back but that was enough. Now I'm on a road bike, and it "fits" me much better than BMX racing ever did. I love it, and I take every precaution possible and keep one eye on the mirror so I can at least see what's coming from behind.

You have to decide for yourself of course. You may need to get on the bike and force yourself to ride at first, then decide whether or not you love it enough to overcome your fear. You may have to analyze what happened to cause your accident, and consider whether or not you can avoid those circumstances in the future. You may find that you simply don't have enough desire to continue, but riding a bike is such a simple pleasure that I can hardly imagine that being the final conclusion. In any case, hope you heal quickly and ffind the path that is right for you.
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Old 11-21-04, 07:40 PM
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Almost everyone that has a bad crash and ends up for a stay in Hospital will go through a period of self doubt. It's like a mourning period and is based mostly on anxiety about the future. It can be excacerbated by opiates (eg. morphine), boredom, lack of sleep, and general gloominess within the hospital confines.

It is helpful if you have visits from friends and relatives to perk you up a bit, and it certainly helps if you are able to get out of the hospital and into the fresh air an sunshine each day. Keep you mind active, and don't dwell on things too much.

Each person recovers differently, both physically and mentally. There may be psychological factors involved if the injuries were the result of a violent accident. These can be quite debilitating, but are most certainly treatable if picked up.

After leaving hospital I had the support and drive from my wife and daughter, as well as my extended family. They provided the motivation to return to a normal life, and within 3 months I was back at work. Over the years my body has been feeling better and better, and now I'm back on the bike pretty much as if I had never been off it.

One of the biggest hurdles was overcoming post-traumatic stress. I had trouble dealing with noise coming from behind me, which is not good for a cyclist. I self-treated by getting into the city where loud noises were the norm, and after a short period I was no longer startled. Nowdays I don't flich if someone yells at me or honks as their car passes by, and I even comfortable with trucks and buses passing at speed within touching distance.

I hope you get better soon and get back the road with your old cycling buddies
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Old 11-21-04, 08:09 PM
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I have had two bad incidents, both involving cars. As soon as I could ride again I did. Accidents are most often freak occurences, sometimes there is something you could have avoided, but often it just happens. There is no reason to not ride as long as you can do it with out harming your healing body(Right now I am waiting for a badly sprained ankle, missed a step on a ladder) because I don't want to injure it further, already spent a week in a cast. But as soon as you feel OK and your doctor is cool with it you shoud start doing easy rides. It is the best thing for your body and mind. Your body to get it back into limber shape and your mind to get the confidence to go out and pedal again.
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Old 11-21-04, 08:12 PM
  #9  
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well I've broken my jaw and fractured my growth plate in the past, as well as several others accidents and still ride. It was unnerving getting back on but I got over it.
now if you had your accident doing bmx or some stunt, I probably would not suggest attempting it again. of course many who fail and try again and succeed feel a great level of accomplishment and it really removes the doubt from your head.
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Old 11-22-04, 03:19 AM
  #10  
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I have had two bad crashes. On one, I broke my collar bone, shoulder blade, ulna (elbow) in 2 places and 2 ribs. I was back on the trainer in 2 weeks and on the road in 6. It did take 2 years before I could go over a small bump without real pain in my elbow. That negative feedback conditioned me to really avoid road blemishes part of it without noticing that it happened.

The other crash was a concussion and I was knocked cold and I wasn't "right" for about a month (I ran out of steam and had to nap during the day and I had trouble concentrating). That one was worse emotionally because it was like being killed in that I lost consciousness.

Both of my crashes happened in fast pacelines and both were caused by "squirrels". The rational thing to do would be to avoid fast pacelines with suspected squirrels in them, however, I find that I just get so uncomfortable in any fast paceline now that I can not ride in them. Maybe it will wear off and maybe it won't, but fast paceline riding was never a real big thing in my cycling anyway. I enjoyed doing it but it was not the center of my cycling motivation like it is for some people.

In my case, my injuries really did not affect my activity level. I think for any active person to be confined to a wheel chair would be enough to drive them around the bend. It would drive me nuts.

In cycling, one can control the risk level to a pretty large extent. You can probably figure out how you crashed and avoid doing something similar to it again. However, you can not reduce your risk to very near zero like you can for some other forms of exercise like walking and running.
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Old 11-22-04, 08:42 AM
  #11  
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Self doubt, yeah. That痴 it. Anxiety, mourning. All that.

My accident happened on an organized ride. Some lowlife used black spray paint to obliterate the words 鉄TOP AHEAD, which the ride organizers had put in a blind curve at the end of several miles of uphill-downhill through the mountains. It happened at about the 23-mile point. At the 20-mile point, a banana and bathroom break, a rumor was going around that the course had been vandalized. But there was no formal announcement, no specifics, and no one saying anything in any sort of 登fficial capacity.

I wasn稚 the first one to cross the area, but I was the first to crash. I don稚 live in the mountains, but I致e ridden the road there a good amount and had just completed a metric century about a month prior, also in the mountains. Anyway, I came around the curve and saw that the road was ending, and the intersecting road had major traffic. I hit the rear brake, somewhere around 20 mph, I壇 say. At first I thought I might be able to keep my balance, but then the next second was different. I landed on my helmet (cracked in half) and my right hip (also cracked in half).

I am thankful to be alive, thankful I didn稚 use the front brake, thankful I didn稚 break my neck or my back, thankful the multiple pelvic fractures didn稚 rupture internal organs, which I now know causes death 20% of the time.

I知 learning a lot about the pelvis, about what it cradles (sex, peeing), what it gives (balance, movement), what it won稚 give (did you know that human bone can withstand more compression stress than steel-reinforced concrete?). Martha Graham referred to the 塗ouse of pelvic truth. Perhaps this evolving relationship with my reforming pelvis will bring me new truths. One thing is for sure. I respect its job and the whole miracle of the human body with a new and tender awe.
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Old 11-22-04, 09:23 AM
  #12  
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Years ago, I was going down a steep hill on the way to class, when somebody made an illegal left turn right in front of me. The front half of the bike was crumpled and I flew over the car and landed on my unhelmeted head, knocking me out for about twenty minutes and multiple contusions on my left leg.

For the next month or so, I walked with a cane at about half a mile per hour. I could neither push in the clutch pedal of my car nor ride a bike, so my world became very large. The trip to my office or class required nearly an hour, and was very difficult.

Once I was able to ride and drive again, I had no issues, simply because I was so happy to be mobile again. Any anxiety I might have had about road travel was overwhelmed by the feeling of liberation.

Paul
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Old 11-22-04, 09:31 AM
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Everyone reacts differently to a crash. I had been riding horses for over 20 years. I had just lost my favorite horse and purchased a new one against my better instints (I actually wanted to purchase a different horse, but got talked into this one). When I climbed on I had forgotten to adjust a very important part of the bridle. The horse began moving faster then I wanted and when I pulled back, there was nothing. I got scared and bailed off. I was hurt bad enough (head wise) to be taken to the hospital. When I got back on the horse again for the second time the horse spooked, that was the final straw. That really scared me. I knew in my gut that I would never climb on a horse again. I knew if I did I would die. The feeling in my gut was so strong I gave up horses entirely that very day and never looked back and never regretted it. I have taken crashes on my bike too and been hurt worse then on the horse but knew that I was the one that was at fault and figured out exactly what had gone wrong. It took me some time but I always got my confidence back (slowly). It will happen for you too, just take your time and don't rush anything. Don't get back on until you are sure you really want too. Let your mind and body both heal.
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Old 11-22-04, 06:12 PM
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I have been in the "recovery" mode where you are twice in my life. Both times I viewed getting back to the activity as my motivation to rehab and return to it. I did not have nearly the physical injuries that you have but I did experience the anxiety and self doubt. Talking to others really helped me make peace. Eventually I stopped beating my self up about it and I "got back on the horse". I was a little tentative at first but it passed. It also helped that both activites (racing my car and biking) are activities that I truly love and are very important to my mental health. I wish you the best with your injuries and hope that you find peace with your decision.
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Old 11-22-04, 06:56 PM
  #15  
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After my crash with a motor vehicle. Which I do not remember! In fact my first recollections came back about 8 days after my crash! I also recommend that you start slow! I rode my trainer alot and did spinning! My 1st ride back on the road was 105 mile charity ride with about 200 other cyclist! Felt funny but was very nive to know that there was 200 other cyclist there! This year I rode the most miles that I have ever done! Mostly road miles but some off road too! Keep the rubber side down!

Pedal On,

Bob Light
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Old 11-25-04, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Alis
Self doubt, yeah. That痴 it. Anxiety, mourning. All that.
Don't forget that that stuff will go away if you let it go away

The only one who can guide your destiny is you, regardless of what anyone else might say. Use external support to your benefit on the road to recovery, but don't fall into the trap of making it an emotional crutch. American TV programming would have us believe that an angel will come if we are in trouble. The trouble is that whilst it makes good TV viewing it's a bloody long way from the truth.

In a short time you will learn how to use the tiny little wins to your benefit. They will help you to identify the positive things in life that will help you get back on you feet. As you gather up more and more little wins you will be able to guage your progress on the road to recovery.

And don't be afraid to take on stuff that you think is difficult once you are capable of moving around safely. Getting active will help with physical recovery, even if it is a bit uncomfortable/painful.

It's been a couple of days: don't forget to write, especially if you need a little boost while you're waiting to get mobile again.
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Old 11-25-04, 07:20 AM
  #17  
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My dad had an CD R600 with 10,000 miles on it,he road alot at 75. Had open heart done. A little scared to get back on so he got a hybrid with wider tires and used it for a few months before he said the hell with that and went back to the R600. Ease back into it,it will come.
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Old 11-25-04, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by rockmuncher
Don't forget that that stuff will go away if you let it go away
Indeed. Did you ever hear the one "everything I let go of has claw marks all over it"? Yes, I got down in there for awhile.

I'm an academic librarian, I help students do research for a living. Doing research about a problem in my life is second nature. Of course, two weeks in the hospital kept me away from the net, and then I basically stayed away from the issue for awhile, having some deeper instinct that what I needed was healing, not "information." At the six week point I had a doctor's appointment, and before the appointment I set about to get information about my injuries. That's when I got into the "20% of people die" and "Martha Graham's house of pelvic truth" and all that and my psyche was like a pond being assaulted by a sudden hale storm.

The other night I heard a "60 Minutes" interview with Jim Carey, the actor. He said we never learn anything until we're completely desperate. It's interesting to me to see that I posted this thread to this list on the 21st. My doctor's appointment was on the 22nd. Desperation does push us into new ways of being. Like asking for help from total strangers. Who become not total strangers in the process.


Originally Posted by rockmuncher
The only one who can guide your destiny is you, regardless of what anyone else might say. ... In a short time you will learn how to use the tiny little wins to your benefit. They will help you to identify the positive things in life that will help you get back on you feet. As you gather up more and more little wins you will be able to guage your progress on the road to recovery.
The doc released me to begin to put a bit of weight on the right leg, with crutches. And get active, at least with my upper body. In the past couple of days I've gone to the therapy pool, where I spend 30 minutes with a styrofoam noodle doing of all things ... cycling! The irony is almost more than I can bear, but in a good way. Today I expect the hurt to set in, but from lifting weights and re-establishing a relationship with my body. It's a little scary to see how droopy and lifeless my right leg looks, only after 7 weeks of not using it. But I know if it can go there in seven weeks, it can also go in the other direction (well, more slowly, for now). Little wins.

Thank you all so much for your messages. I'm having one of those remarkable Internet moments, where its greater public good, community, is so much more powerful than any combination of a million annoying spams and popups for products I never asked to need.

Be well. Ride. Ride one for me! For now.
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