Tuesday, July 19, 2011

19 July 2011

Yes, I hate the fact that I crashed; if I could go back and re-live that day, I'd roll over and go back to sleep. But, it happened, move on. The one major silver lining of that black cloud is this: it happened two days before the start of this year's Tour de France. Now if you get handed lemons, that's some pretty good lemonade! I have been able to watch every minute of the most epic race ever and then some. It has been full of mayhem, pain, and surprise, every step of the way. Every time a rider went down, and that's happened quite often, I would get a twinge in my own broken collar bone. Fortunately, or not, I will be returning to work on Thursday, three stages away from Paris; pray my DVR functions properly.
Even with the Tour on, it has still been a long three weeks. The first week I had to sleep (or try to) semi-reclined on my sofa, unable to lay flat and breathe at the same time. I felt like breathing may have been the priority here. Every little move would jostle my shoulder and feel like I was being run through with a sword. The second week went better, with decreasing pain and a trip to the ortho doc. I went in to ask him for surgery and he showed me my x-ray which said surgery was not an option. Imagine if you will, the clavicle divided into thirds; now imagine the middle third shattered into four or five pieces. Add to that, unable to comfirm by x-ray but based on my symptoms, one or more cracked/broken ribs. I am breathing normally now, but still unable to complete a sneeze. Time heals all wounds, back for follow-up films in a couple of weeks to ensure everything is healing properly.
So what does one do with all this down-time, other than study the Tour? Work on the weight loss goal for next year's Assault on Mt. Mitchell. I have not been exerting myself so there's no good reason to continue to eat as normal. Based on needs for basic metabolism, that is, what the body needs calorie-wise just to sit still, I have been taking in around 100 calories about every hour. That has shown some success, I have dropped 5 pounds in the last two weeks and I am feeling full with smaller amounts. The one fear I have is that the weight lost may be muscle rather than fat, so today I start easing back into exercising with some time on the treadmill. My plan, with the doc's approval of course, is to get back on the trainer August 1st, and back on the road two weeks later. I think I'll go ride with the folks in Cayce, I have missed them.
If I am to get back on the road soon, I'll be needing to get my gear in order. I have already bought a new helmet, a Bell Volt. I need to order new nose-pieces for my glasses as one of them became dislodged in the scuffle. And of course, my bike; a trip to Harrell's for a tip-to-tail once-over and I'll be good to go. Mentally, I know it may be sketchy once I get out there, but I am anxiously looking forward to riding again. Soon. You can bet I'll be more cautious in the turns.
Be blessed, be safe.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Value of a Good Helmet

Things have been going pretty well lately; finding my groove in the new job, making improvements in my riding, and just spent a couple of great days at the beach. Got back home Tuesday afternoon knowing I couldn't ride Wednesday, but planned to head out at sunup on Thursday.
Only really had one goal for Thursday, that was to ride 37 miles; that would give me 500 for the month and over 150 for the week. Simple, right? Left my house just after 0600 to meet my friend Rob at the dam at 0645 where we would do our usual route. I enjoy riding with Rob and his wife April, both are a pleasure to talk with as we ride and are great sources of encouragement for me.
Rob and I rolled out and headed toward Irmo, couple of good hills to climb just before getting into town. We turned around at the Wendy's on Lake Murray Blvd. and went back down the hill we'd just climbed, intent on taking a left on Weed Rd. and riding out to Pine Island.
We came down the hill hot, Rob in front and me behind tapping my brakes at 29mph. Just before Weed, I hit something in the bike lane that didn't pop my tire, but did puncture it. Without time to process this, I laid into the turn at about 25mph; halfway through the turn it became painfully obvious something was wrong. My front tire was soft and the front end of the bike was coming out from under me. I hit the road hard, landed on my right shoulder, bounced my head off the pavement, and finally rolled/slid to a stop. Rob said he heard me behind him and knew what had happened before he ever turned around.
If you've ever had your breath knocked out of you, you know what an alarming feeling that is. I knew no matter what, I needed to get out of the road so I crawled off to the side while Rob cleaned up the mess I left in the street. Before I stood up I knew I was injured, my right shoulder was on fire and I could hardly breathe. A state trooper took Rob to get his truck and Rob got me and my bike home so my wife could get me to the ER.
I don't like going to the ER, but I think this qualified. And if I must go to an ER, I'm going to my ER at Palmetto Health Richland. They are like family to me, and treated me like royalty. Some fluids, pain meds, and a couple of x-rays, and a couple of hours later I was on my way home; diagnosis: broken collar bone.
I was overdue. I have been riding for several years, was even hit by a car two years ago, but I had never hit the ground. I try to be safety-conscious and always wear a helmet. Had I not been wearing a helmet yesterday, I know without a doubt I would not be at my home today. I vividly remember my head hitting the road and for a split second thinking how glad I am that I have on my helmet. Things are going to happen, not everything can be prevented; but with preparation, the damage can be minimized.
I am especially glad that I was riding with someone yesterday, and wonder now if I'll ever ride solo again. Rob was a great source of comfort and assurance for me and was willing to do whatever he had to do to help. I thank God for friends like that.
So, it looks like I am off the bike for several weeks while I heal up. What does this mean for me? I really have to cut way back on the eating so I don't come back 20 pounds heavier. I dropped 14 pounds after Mt. Mitchell with the goal of being under 200 by next year's AOMM; I have plateaued since then and need to get back to dropping. (Thanks for asking Kathryn, hold me accountable!) I will follow with the ortho doc in two weeks to see what my future looks like. Hopefully I can at least be back on the trainer in few weeks, we'll see.
Be blessed, be safe.