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.