Sunday, April 1st, 2012 at 6:30 pm
Sunday morning, March 18th, I started a ride with a few friends, in celebration of my friend Rich’s 68th birthday. Typical for one of Rich’s routes, it would be 100 miles with a good amount of climbing (I want to be Rich when I grow up)
My description of the rest of that day is second hand. I have no memory of the night before the ride, breakfast that morning, getting to the start, the 30 miles I actually rode, the crash or the helicopter ride to the trauma center. So, what I know is what I’ve been told.
I was the first rider down the hill on Middlefork Rd. I’ve done that descent many, many times. It’s not difficult and not all that fast. There is an easy left bend at the bottom before a flat run out to the intersection with Buena Vista Rd. My friend Frank was behind me and the other riders were a bit behind him. Apparently, as I got to the left bend at the bottom, at approximately 40 mph, my front wheel caught a crack in the road and turned 90 degrees. I went down on my left side with the bike going off the side of the road while I slid down the road to the other side of the small bridge there. I was, at that point, unconscious.
A local resident who lives at the bottom of the hill called 911 and there was a first responder, followed by EMTs from Laurelville, on site very quickly. They made the decision to call for a helicopter and I was on my way to Grant Medical Center in Columbus. My friends called my wife and she arrived at the hospital about the same time I did. I’ve been told I was talking, and even cracking a few jokes, when I came off the helicopter, but I have no memory of that. I didn’t recognize my wife and had a small seizure at one point.
But, I was very lucky. I had a serious concussion, I’d broken my cheekbone and an eye socket and cracked a bone in my thumb. I had some road rash and a few cuts that required stitches but, considering what could have happened, I came out of it in pretty descent shape.
The following morning, a trauma plastic surgeon installed 2 titanium pieces to stabilize the bones in my face and I went home the day after that. My equipment was not so lucky. The frame of my Torelli Montefalco was broken in two and my helmet was broken in 8 places (see the pictures). The EMT cut my clothes off of me, including a pair of Assos bib shorts (I know, that really hurt. Almost as much as when they gave the pieces back to me in a plastic bag).
I had started the season with plans to try another brevet series, but the crash happened right before the 200k and I never did catch up on the training necessary to do the longer rides. But, I’m happy to be riding and to have minimal side effects. I’m happy to have survived.