Saturday, April 10, 2010

Crash, plus one week.

I got my stitches out yesterday. Yay.

So everyone wants to know what happened. I have a hard time telling the story knowing how stupid it is and how dramatically the outcome has changed everything.

I was on my lunch time training ride, rolling solo because Allison was dealing with her foot injury, and was planning on doing hill repeats on Rainbow. The plan was two sets of three repeats with one loop up top in between the sets. I was going to put some serious hurt on myself, making sure my effort doesn't fade with my brand new Cycleops power tap hub.

I was approaching the hill riding across the flats near the bottom and wasn't feeling so motivated. I took a couple deep breaths, and then looked down to collect myself.

I never looked back up despite the fact that the times that I have done this before an interval it only lasts 2 seconds or so.

Upon looking down I must have veered slightly to the right. I was traveling at 17.1mph according to my Garmin GPS file. The impact was wholly unexpected, probably a good thing. My hands had been on top of the bars, the angle of my upper body worked out in my favor.

I don't think I reacted in the split second between my front wheel impacting and my head impacting. The front tire blew on impact. My brand new 2009 Sworks Tarmac SL2 was next to go and snapped in several places (TT/HT junction, middle of the TT, middle of the DT).

As the frame was snapping my head impacted. As I said before the angle of my body was perfect for me. My Sworks helmet did an incredible job absorbing an incredible amount of energy. My head then rotated backward (very forutunate!) exposing my face for the rest of the impact to be absorbed. At some point my right knee also impacted before me and the bike crumpled to the left and rear of the trailer where my left elbow impacted the ground hard.

My reaction was one of complete shock. I jumped off the ground and looked at the back of the trailer shouting obscenities at my own stupidity. I looked down at what was left of my bike and shouted some more. It was at this time that I started to become aware of my injuries. Blood was streaming from my face. My mind started racing and I instantly started wondering how long I would be off the bike. My neck started to spasm, so I laid down in the road next to my bike, took off my helmet, got my cell phone from my jersey pocket, and called Allison.

"Allison I'm hurt, you have to come get me, I am really hurt."

Allison: "Where are you? What happened? Were you hit by a car?"

"Just come get me. At the bottom of Rainbow. I'm hurt!" :hang up:

A Marine stopped his motorcycle and insisted I get out of the road, he helped a little as I walked to the curb and then grabbed my bike. A lady and her daughter also stopped and the lady was kind enough to elevate my leg for me. They wanted to call 911 but I wanted to wait for Allison to arrive so that is what happened. Allison called 911 about 20 minutes or so after the accident.

I rode in an ambulance for the first time. Spent 8 or 9 hours strapped to a backboard. Got my first CT scan. Rode in another ambulance to get an MRI. It was a bad day...

The final tally? Teardrop fracture of C3 (hangman's break), fractures to both C6 and C7. Fractured Patella, and the top of my knee was removed including the bursa that is over top the Patella. Possible fracture to left elbow (closed and non-displaced). Severe facial laceration to upper lip and chin.

The real impact? In just one moment of inattention I have destroyed both my racing season and Allison's. Allison was on a break-out year, but without support she cannot continue making podiums at national caliber events. I joked at races that it was all me getting her there, I never really calculated the impact to her if I couldn't help or worse, became a huge hindrance.

I constantly battle with feelings of depression knowing how hard she worked this winter, knowing that she was still getting faster, knowing that her A priority race is not going to happen for her now.

I am lucky. I didn't get hurt worse. I didn't die. I have a great wife who has thrown her dream aside to help me recover. That doesn't help much though. I am a man, and men shouldn't cry like this, or so my dad taught me.

Allison I am so very sorry. I let you down. Please forgive me.


Luke said...

an unfortunate and tragic event bro! but in almost all of the darkest situations comes a period of regrowth and strengthening of the mind and body! no doubt will both of you return to do great matter what they may be. believe or not a great deal of good can come of this...things like serious unrelenting motivation!

just keep working a little bit every day! you'll see!

Ryan Weeger said...

Its one season of racing, and no matter who's it is, nothing matters more than a persons health and well being. Just be thankful things arent worse, and for the things you have, and focus on getting better and returning stronger for the both of you guys! I am glad to hear youre ok and I know everything will work out too, stay postive Mann!

Ellen said...

Hey Justin, don't blame yourself--bad stuff happens. Put your energy towards recovery--besides you deserve positive thoughts,they go a lot further than the negative ones. We met up at Mt. Snow at that crazy bed and breakfast out in the country. I have been following you and Allison since. I enjoy your blog and watching you and Allison compete. I was really sorry to read about your accident!

Ellen Ollett

Ellen said...

Hey Justin, I was really sorry to read about your accident--but put your energy into recovery-it was an accident-you sure didn't plan on running into a trailer--let yourself heal and return to cycling.

We met last summer at Mt.Snow at that crazy bed and breakfast out in the country. I have followed your and Allison since and have enjoyed your blogs.

Stay focused on the positive and you will be back on the bike in no time!
Ellen Ollett

Vu said...

While daunting and tragic of what has happen, I know you can comeback from this.
With the amount of dedication you have with your training, I know you will come back stronger and faster.

You have been at her side for support and I know she'll be there for you.

Go out and rent DiRT 2, nothing like some rally racing to cope with lack of riding on the dirt.

SoCal Endurance said...

Justin you are tough as nails and I know your mental fortitude is going to carry you right through this scary section of your life. All this bike stuff is fantastic. But in the end its only bike stuff. Allison will be a force over the next few years, and a major player in the ladies arena, and you will always be a huge part of her success. The home team is what its all about. My family and I have the 2 of you in our thoughts and prayers. Chin up!

Zippy said...

I know how to fix bikes and still get shop privledges from my old job if you guys need abything. Seriously, hit me and Holly up if you guys need ANYTHING.

I'm co-dependent like that ;)

allison said...

Just looking back... keep trucking and see that it turned out "ok".