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> We run on a very fine edge
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> The Old Elm Tree
> I recognized the look in his face
> One Foot in Front of The Other - year end musing
> Wham BAM Thank You #33...
> Slant Six Mind, Super Charged Heart
> The Hill
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> Tracks
> Marc's Story
> Ouch!
> The Damage Done

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The Damage Done

Thinking back on the event, I realize that much of what happened is not clear.  I crashed, that I know.  I fought the crash hard – that I believe.  I broke my collar bone, that I know.  How I bruised my right hamstring – from hip to knee – is a mystery.  I broke a few ribs, that I know.  How I damaged my right quad is also a mystery.  It’s numb from hip to knee, sort of like when your foot “falls asleep” from sitting on it wrong.

I blew out the front tube – pulled the tire off the rim and the tube popped.  The rear wheel is way out of true.  The front wheel is slightly out of true.  The right brake lever is twisted towards the center of the bike.

I have bruises all over my right shoulder and rib cage and the back of my right leg.  The inside of my right upper arm hurts and has that numb feeling.

My helmet is cracked in three places.  I don’t have a headache, haven’t since the crash.

I have 13 staples closing the incision on my shoulder.  There is a surgical steel plate holding my collar bone together.  It broke across and lengthwise.  A piece of muscle was caught between two pieces of the bone.  I have seven screws holding the plate and my collar bone together. 

I’ve been through three pain killers and an antibacterial regime.  If I take a little too much or wait 20 minutes too long to take the next dose, I get light headed and break out in a cold sweat.  I really don’t feel pain.  Until I lean on my ribs, turn the wrong way or sit on my right hamstring wrong.  Funny (?) the collar bone doesn’t hurt.  The area around the bandage itches.

I wanted Titanium and Carbon Fiber, but I got surgical steel.  I can’t have any an MRI and will need a letter from the surgeon about the plate in my shoulder in order to get through security check points.  Do you think it will interfere with my timing chip?

The staples come out on Thursday – one week and one day after the surgery.  I’ll find out about riding, running and swimming again, and about Physical Therapy.

Here’s what I learned:

I. Wear a helmet.  Did you hear that, wear a helmet.  Just in case you don’t get the message – WEAR A HELMET!  My head hit the road so hard that the helmet cracked in three places:

II. Keep your eyes on the road.  No matter how many times you’ve cycled on that road, keep alert and keep your eyes on the road.  I was looking at the road – Julie and I commented on the pot holes that still are in the middle of the road at the bottom of the first hill.  I never saw the piece of wood that I hit, someone apparently threw it out just before I hit it.

III. Expect the unexpected and know what to do.  Have a plan for emergencies – crashes, obstacles, cars, bikes, pedestrians.  Plan how you will react.  Know what you will do when you crash.  I knew not to put my hand out to break my fall – that’s a sure way to break your collar bone.  But, if you land hard enough on your shoulder, it will break any way.

IV. Practice your evasive actions.  Practice swerving around and bunny hopping over obstacles.  These actions should become instinctive.  There’s no time to think about what to do. 

V. Roll!  If I made a mistake it was probably trying to keep my bike up right too long and not just going with the fall and rolling.  By fighting the fall I set myself up for a hard, very hard impact with the road. 


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Neil L. Cook, 212-472-9281 or 917-575-1901 or Coach@SLB-Coaching.com or Neil.L.Cook@mindspring.com
"Sweet Lightning Bolt" used by permission.