The Altamont Crash

I’m sitting here at 11 PM on Sunday night typing this while waiting for my medication to kick in.  It could take me a while since I am typing with one hand.  My left hand is elevated and bandaged because I have an unset broken finger.

My broken finger.

My broken finger.

This afternoon my brother-in-law, David, went up to the top of Paris Mountain to help me record going down the Furman side.  He would be piloting his BMW R-1100.  I would be riding my 2006 Specialized Allez with a compact crank.

The first pass went off without a hitch.  I’ll be putting up that video later.  However, just to make sure we had enough footage to work with, we decided to make another run.

We started down and soon came upon a truck.  I knew that would blow our opportunity so I slowed up and started coasting behind the truck.  Because I was going slow, I didn’t take my normal line.  Looking at the video I see I drifted toward the outside of the road where I would typically go near the yellow line.

You guessed it.  When starting to turn, the rear wheel caught the sandy asphalt on the side and started to go out beneath me.  I went into a slide and my hand and arm rolled under my body.  My first thought was that I had dislocated my pinkie, but it didn’t take long to realize it was broken.

I didn’t want to walk back to the car so I hopped back on my bike and started riding with one hand to the top.  As I started up who should ride up beside me other than Craig Lewis!  I’m reminded that it seems I’m always doing something embarrassing when I end up riding with Craig or George Hincapie.

Craig was super nice and we talked about his camp and the weather at the Tour of California.  I appreciated his offer of further help, but with my car at the top and David on his motorcycle I was set.  Good luck this year, Craig.  Hope to come across you again out there in better circumstances.

I got in my car and drove to the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital on Patewood.  By the time I got off Paris I was finally starting to feel the pain.  By the time we pulled up at the ER, my hand was beginning to shake.

I hid my finger when I walked in because I didn’t want to freak out people in the waiting room.  The nurse at the counter asked me if she could help me and was I there with someone in need.  I unveiled my finger and her expression changed.  “Wait just a moment,” she said “and the triage nurse will see you.”

Soon I was in a small room with one door opening to the waiting room and another to the ER.  As I sat there giving information and getting a blood pressure reading, I could see the technicians in their work area.  Different ones kept finding an angle to see my hand.  I could see it was a matter of great interest.

St. Francis was awesome.  They had me in to get my X-rays before the paperwork had even cleared.  The technicians were a hoot and made me laugh.  One called me “hardcore” for being able to laugh when my finger was in that state.  My “hardcoreness” started to fade when they had to put my hand in different positions.

I then lay down in a room to wait for the doctor.  That is when I started Twitting.  I didn’t have anything else to do and it seemed like a good story.  I realize now that it might have come across as seeking sympathy — and I am very thankful for the messages that came in.  However, my thoughts were, “Hey, it happened and now that it has it really is a pretty cool story for Low Cadence!”

I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say that the angle of the break and the pressure from my tendon pulling on it, made it so that the doctor could not set it.  “Will you have to go into it?” I asked.  ” I won’t,” she replied.  It was pretty obvious she thought someone would have to.  So, I am sitting here with a splint holding the pinkie in place against its neighbor until tomorrow when I go to a hand specialist.

At home I climbed into the shower with great fear and trembling.  The road rash was pretty bad.  It was worse than I thought it was going to be.  In the interest of keeping this site G rated, I will not be showing the rash.  I stifled my screams as I started cleaning out the asphalt and dirt.  Later, the lovely redhead did a masterful job of bandaging me.

Nearly an hour has passed since I started typing this.  The localized shots they gave me are fading.  The dull ache is coming back, but it is being masked by the pain killers.  I’m starting to feel really goooood.  Still, I don’t want to sleep because I know I am going to wake up with pain.

Enjoy the video.  Sorry it isn’t spectacular.

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