First, let me say thank you to the DeMaine Cycling Team for putting on a good race yesterday. The only problem with the day was that not more local riders took advantage of the event. There will be another one on June 19. So, make your plans to be there.
Unfortunately, I won’t be there… at least not on my bike. Even if I could be on a bike, it wouldn’t be the bike I raced yesterday. It has now seen better days.
Now I am attempting to write this blog during periods of consciousness. I’m sitting here in bed with my left hand in a cast and a brace on my neck. Seems that I have a fractured C1 vertebra and a matching fracture on the base of my skull. I also have two broken molars on the right side of my mouth. Other than a busted lip that is it for my head.
I have what is called Skiers Thumb and a fracture at the tip of my ring finger on my left hand. Skiers Thumb is when you chip the bone that connects the tendon that allows you to close your thumb. Right now, I can’t grab anything.
It was my first ever Category 3 race. About 20 of us lined up on the smooth nontechnical course. I wondered what would happen. I was a little perturbed because one of my teammates came down on me for riding the Cat. 3 race over the Masters 35+. “I was told to race the 3 race,” I told him. “By whom?” He asked. “By Jim (my coach),” I replied. He came back with, “Jim’s not on our team.”
Well, that made me angry, so I just closed my mouth and rode off. I carried a bit of that anger to the line and it made for some initial motivation when the racers rolled off. When they did, I knew right off that it was going to be a different ball game.
There were attacks right away. A couple of the teams had more than one rider. I was the only POA rider in the field. My strategy was to move from chase to chase. I wanted to stay of the front, but I did want to be in position to make it into any break that looked strong.
Barley’s Taproom and DeMaine had the numbers in the field. Barley’s was very active in the beginning with DeMaine chasing them down. Thankfully, that meant I didn’t have to do much chasing on my own.
I kept an eye mainly on Eric Peterson and Jon Nutting. Along with their other teammates they were rolling a pretty good race. They were trading off testing one attack after another. Of course, Adam Britton and Jake Strasser with the Metro Team were playing a similar game to mine and I figured they would factor into the finish.
Then came a call for a prime. It was a cash prime. Hmmmm, I could use an extra $20. As we came up to the sprint zone it was me and Eric. As I slowly pulled up beside him during the sprint, I thought to myself, “He is probably laughing at you because he knows you are wearing yourself out early.” Still, I got my $20.
Eric and one other rider that is only a fuzzy memory kept the pressure on after I let up a little to recover from my effort. We started down the hill that made up the sweeping turn on one side of the course. I had a decision to make… 1) go back into the field, or 2) go after them.
I don’t recall everything clearly from that point on. I think I realized that those guys could not stay out there for the entire time remaining. I should get in the field and live to fight another day. The last thing I remember from the race was moving to the right in order to be out of the way of the field.
The next thing I remember was looking up at an EMT. I’ve heard varying stories of what happened, but I think the most plausible one (based on my last recollections and witnesses) is… I moved right to make room. I probably dropped my head to relieve tension in my neck. At that point, the road straightened out back to the left which caused me to slip over the curb.
I believe what happened then was my bike hit a drainage hole cover — those solid concrete blocks with a manhole cover in the middle. Witnesses said I then extended up in the air from the handlebars. I came down on my head, neck, and back and then bounced into the air again to come to rest on my back.
That is it. The good news is that I know I can race Category 3. The bad news is that I don’t know when I’ll be able to do it again.
I am thankful to my God that He protected me. I was just a few movements away from being paralyzed. I was also way too close to having to wear one of those halos! The doctors were discussing the possibility, but decided to hold off.
Whatever the case, this is the one and only article about this crash. So, read this one because it is the last one. From here, I look ahead. I still have plans to finish my 2010 Ride For Mike. We’ll see what happens after that.