2009/09/10

Location =  Albuquerque NM  
Distance =  13.51
Time =  1:18:48
Ave. Speed =  10.2
Max. Speed =  43.0
Monthly Dist. =    67.53
Yearly Dist. =  790.14

This ride started out perfectly normal, but it sure didn't finish up that way.

I came home from school, cooked up a nice lunch and then decided to take the road bike out for ride. I wanted to follow up the nice weekend I just had in Moab and start to get back into the habit of riding. I really feel a lot better when I'm riding two or three or four times a week, rather than two or three of four times a month. That's not getting the job done.

I rode down Tramway to the Casino and then made the turn at the light to begin the climb back up. I stopped for a couple of minutes near the bottom to look at the buffalo that were standing around in the corral, and then I started the ascent. I was putting out a lot of effort but not achieving much speed, and I slowly climbed up the road and then turned at Tierra Monte to finish the climb up to the La Luz Trailhead. I started suffering on this part of the climb, and I had to slow down and drink lots of water, but eventually I topped out at the parking area.

I looped around the parking lot and then started down. The descent began innocently enough with the rush of the wind cooling me off as my sweat began to evaporate. This descent is always a blast because it's so fast. It's easy to get up over 40 miles per hour and you just have to careful to slow down for all of the sharp curves. The top half of the descent has a bumpy road surface, it's quite a narrow road and there are several sharp curves that you must be careful to scrub speed on, in order to be safe. About halfway down is the turnoff to the Tierra Monte neighborhood and right there the road surface improves, the road gets wider, and the curves are not as sharp. From there to the bottom brakes are no longer necessary and you can let the bike fly.

I was descending fast, as usual, and I thought that I was at the curve that brings me by the Tierra Monte turnoff, so I let off of the brakes and leaned the bike through the corner. As I rounded the curve my momentum took me out of my lane and into the path of oncoming traffic, and a car was coming. I realized that I had not reached the curve that I thought I was at, and I needed to get rid of speed, and get rid of it fast. I grabbed the brakes to slow that bike and the rear wheel lost traction and began to fishtail. I knew I was doomed, and the only good news was going to be that it was better to crash and go flying off of the road than it would be to hit an oncoming car head on.

The next instant consisted of me crashing into the ground at 40 miles and hour with the left side of my body, and flying through the air and landing in the bushes. The crash must have been amazing to watch because several cars stopped to see if I was okay. After I came to a stop it was time to assess the damage. The first thing I noticed was that the index finger on my right hand appeared to be broken. It was crooked and bent and I couldn't move it at all. The skin on my left arm was scraped away and there was a lot of blood. The left side of my body had major road rash, from my forearm, through my shoulder and chest, and down to my knee. I was able to lift my arm and wave it around so at least I didn't have a broken collar bone, but it hurt like hell. The people who stopped were asking me if I was all right and offering their assistance. An older gentlemen handed me some antiseptic wipes, and everything was so bright that I couldn't see them. I think that my pupils must have been dilated. A young woman with three little girls had some kind of anti-shock spray in her first-aid kit, and she sprayed it in my mouth. It was all natural ingredients and I don't know that it helped, but in a couple of minutes I could see again and I was starting to feel better. The people wanted to get me an ambulance or take me to the hospital, but I wasn't having any part of that. I don't have insurance.

A brief examination of my bicycle didn't indicate any obvious major damage. The seat was knocked around but the wheels still seemed to be true. My bike shorts were torn on the left side, and my shirt was shredded and bloody. That was my most favorite bike shirt of all time. It was the first one that I ever bought, probably in 1991, and it had little bicycles on it mixed in with snowflakes. I'll bet that I rode more than 10,000 miles while wearing that shirt. Oh, well. I also noticed that my helmet was cracked in two places, so obviously I hit my head when I crashed. That helmet may have saved my life. It was a small miracle that when I landed in the bushes off of the road, somehow I managed to miss the prickly pear cactus which was growing everywhere.

The gal with the three daughters offered to give me a ride home but she didn't have enough room to get me and my bike into her car. The couple that was driving up as I was coming down and had the best view of the wreck, ended up giving me a ride. After they dropped me off I went straight into the shower and tried to wash as much dirt and blood and sweat off of me as I could. The water running down the drain was very colorful. After the shower I went in the kitchen and ate a can of pineapple. Pineapple is a natural anti-inflamatory and I give it a lot of credit in helping to speed my recovery.

In a few minutes my loving wife came home and when she looked at my arm she started gagging! I was more concerned with my finger and we looked in the phonebook for an Urgent Care facility that could see me right away. A half an hour later we were in the doctor's office and the first thing the doctor said when she saw my finger was, "That's dislocated." That immediately brought a smile to my face because it gave me hope that maybe my finger wasn't broken after all.

The doctor started her examination by cleaning my arm up a little bit and plucking dirt and plant material out of my skin with a tweezers. She bandaged me up and then we went in for an x-ray of my hand. This is a picture of the x-ray. There aren't any fractures but it's pretty easy to see that the bones are seriously out of whack. She offered to numb up my hand before attempting to put the bones back in place, but I just gave her my hand and told her to do it. Her first efforts weren't successful because her grip was slipping, so she got a towel to grab my finger with and yank it back into place. I let out a big sigh of relief when I felt the bone go back into the joint where it belonged.

Here is a picture of my roadrash as seen two days after the crash. It doesn't look too bad, but I can tell you that I'm a pretty sore guy. I couldn't lay on my left side at all for two nights. Trying to sleep was a painful ordeal. This whole situation was completely my fault and I have nobody to blame except for myself. I hope that I learned from this experience that maybe I need to slow down and be a bit more careful. I am such an idiot!



Return to Cool Dust Main Page