Monday, April 9, 2012

Crash Like a Pro

Anyone having played contact sports knows the feeling of a blind side tackle.  Prior to Saturday the last time I got 'blind sided' was more than 20 years ago playing football.  It's a peculiar feeling and one you never really forget, even if it's happened to you just once.   This weekend during a group ride I got blind sided by one of the riders misjudging his trajectory while reacting to riders in front of him fanning out to avoid someones' speedometer skidding along the road.  He lost all control and collided into my left hip at four o'clock  and was going full gas.  I wasn't mad at him though.  These things can happen. However, the collision was a complete surprise to me.  As it was happening I wasn't able to grip the fact that I was being taken down.  I tried to regain control but there was too much velocity and it was a certainty I was going down.  That having been said, a speedometer skipping across the road is an innocuous incident and this should never have caused a crash.  But this is the way most crashes are.  They happen quickly and in unexpected places. They hardly ever happen in high risk scenarios because these situations are acute and force riders to measure their vigilance.  This is especially true for Professional Racers.  In fact, Cobbled Spring Classics aside, it is fair to say that crashes in the Professional ranks are usually caused by innocuous circumstances. Take Fabian Cancellara, for example.  He crashed out of Flanders this year.  He was in the feed zone going at a snails pace, overlapped a wheel (?) and hit the deck braking his collarbone in four places.

Regardless of this, crashing on any level is never easy and I've had my share of them over the years.  One might think I would be accustomed to the risk of crashing or to crashing itself but this is not the case.  Every crash, every single one of them, has left me with an Ah-Hah paradigm, a reminder of just how dangerous this sport can be & how fragile our bodies are out there.  I didn't crash all last year but this year I have already had two painful diggers.  Neither one of them were my fault but this makes it no easier.  I don't know if there is such a thing as a critical threshold for crashing but I am certain I'm getting closer to it.
This crash really had me bummed.  Upon impact I was immediately careening through the air for what seemed like a pretty long time.  I don't know exactly how long but 'time is not linear.' -DASL, and all I can say is that I had enough time before hitting the deck to not only recall the ominously familiar feeling of being blind sided but also enough time to wonder who hit me, exactly, and why they hit me and also to construct how neatly I might be able to manage the impact of the ground my face was about to smash into. 

This was, of course, before the impact...which when it happened, felt like 3 mules kicked me in the face at the same time.  And then, everything went white, like lighting white and I went out for moment.  I'll spare you the all the details but it wasn't pretty.  There was a lot of facial blood that I'm pretty sure scared the crap out of everyone standing around  (Monster Cycling) watching as I rocked slowly on the ground moaning 'OOH-FUUUCK' like a defeated and mortally wounded Walrus.

It wasn't too long before an ambulance came, (thanks Dan Holin) but by then I was on my feet and had assessed my own condition.  Smashed & cut up, I knew I was okay.  Nothing was broken and my bleeding had rapidly slowed down.  The EMT's patched me up anyway & and recommended I go to the hospital for stitches but I could tell the blood was already coagulating and I wanted to ride home before things swelled up too much, so that's what I did.   I actually rode as hard as I could, pretty much, for the remaining 10 miles.

Once off the bike I iced my face and also applied a special dough made with flour and olive oil instead of water.  I alternated this treatment all afternoon and into the evening  as it was recommended to me by Husam at Ata Cycles.  Husam said this was an ancient recipe in Turkey for treating open wounds to accelerate healing and to prevent scarring.  This was an amazing thing too because I could see the healing effects of this treatment working within a just few hours and I highly recommend this for anyone with similar cuts and bruising in the future.

Peace and roll strong


  1. Well that just plain sucks.....

    Disappointed there are no photos to wince at.
    Hope your feeling better soon.

  2. Nice write up Skip. You had us scared, then relieved with the post adreneline surge. Always good to get back in the saddle.

  3. Thanks John.
    Yes I definitely had some adrenaline going there for a bit.

  4. Almighty One,
    Are you telling me I made the right move in leaving the ride to coach U9 Girls Soccer?
    Seriously, glad you are OK and it was truly spiritual holding your wheel on that 38MPH+ sprint down Bare Hill Road. Never could have done that solo.
    Heal Fast Almighty One!

  5. Yeah, you probably made the right move Peter. Lol.
    Glad you liked to trip down BH Rd. We'll do it again soon.