It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.
I’m sure you’ve heard the outcome, but I’ll continue the report as usual…
I had a lot of rest last week so I expected the first race to open up the legs so I would go faster on Day 2. The course had dried out with a hardpack clay line beaten in around the course and some soft edges. I didn’t have any pre race hiccups and picked a low number. I had a cool head starting 38th.
My mom was keeping tabs and early in the race I had held steady in 42nd. The course was straighter than yesterday and there was tons of traction. The only exception were a few bumpy spots and a couple super hardpacked corners. In fact there were black skidmarks in places where people had actually laid down rubber.
The course had reasonable sections for passing, but they were obvious, so everyone was sprinting their guts out to hold their spot. I slowly made my way to a good group representing 25-30th place. My plan was to ride with them and pick riders off the back end and maybe attack later if I could.
I had a small bobble when I missed my pedal after the run up and found myself chasing a small gap for most of a lap. I was rounding the last bend before the straight to the finish and set about closing the last second so I could sit on for the headwind on the finish straight.
I had been drifting outside on the corner and killing my exit speed so I came in fast and slightly on the inside of the hardpack. My bike slid out very quickly as I was leaned into the left hand turn. CRACK! My left shoulder went right to the ground and I heard a snap. I came to rest sitting along the course tape with my bike just off the racing line. I instantly took mt right hand to feel my left collarbone and I could feel it was broken.
Next, I assumed the position. If you’ve watched enough bike racing it is instantly recognizable: sitting slumped to the effected side with legs crossed and the elbow cupped on the thigh, possibly also supported by the opposing arm.
A rider passed and asked if I was OK. I said “Yeah, collarbone”, and he called for a medic. I was on the furthest western extent of the course and there wasn’t anyone particularly close by. Not that I could see anyone, since I was facing away from the venue. The first bystanders arrived and moved my bike, then asked what they could do. I told the guy that although it sounded strange, if he could sit back-to-back with me I could sit more comfortably.
The medics arrived and the Paramedic was quite good. (That is my day job, so I should know). He didn’t take too much time and was no-nonsense about getting a sling on and walking me to the ambulance for some quick paperwork (documenting my refusal of care). My family had noticed my absence in the race, and persistence of my spare bike in the pit, so they knew I was likely hurt and found me at the ambulance.
My wife hopped in the ambulance with the baby strapped to her chest and in a combination of worry and stern motherly tone said, “You didn’t break your fucking collarbone, did you!?”
My family gathered my things and I made the walk of shame through the crowded venue. There were a lot of kind words, and understandably many looks of surprise, empathy, and curiosity.
For the pretty uncomfortable hour drive to the hospital, I taught my Mom ambulance driving 101: Drive 5 under in the left lane (it is smoother from less truck traffic), straddle the wheel ruts (also smoother), and hit speedbumps and driveways perpendicularly to avoid rocking the car.
The ER was only an informal stop for a good sling. The ER doesn’t do anything for a clavicle except an X-ray to confirm it, a sling, a prescription for pain, and a referral to an Orthopedist. I figure I can probably save a bit of money if the Orthopod does the X-ray and the sling and some old pain meds can get me through the night.
I am bummed out most for my family. They put up with a lot for this sport and now I feel like I’ll be an additional burden. But so far they’ve been extremely upbeat and supportive. In fact, my wife’s view is: “At least you wont be spending any time riding or racing for a while…”
That is all I can type one handed for now. Thanks for reading and especially for the kind words I’ve already received by Twitter, etc.