Splat – Can’t Seem to Stay Upright

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Yesterday I fell again. I told my orthopedic surgeon friend, Stacie, that I didn’t ever fall training and now I’ve fallen 3 times since March. It is crazy. None of the falls have be consistent with normal bike riding accidents. But I guess that is how it always is.

I’m wondering now if I just didn’t used to pay attention to these little falls each year because they were just part of the deal. And when they happened, it wasn’t much of anything. Now, with mending parts, each one seems to always be a potential setback.

Yesterday was just another I didn’t see it coming thing. It had been raining all day and was supposed to rain through mid-day today. About 1 pm, there looked like there was going to be a couple hours window to get some miles in, so I called Bill and we went out. We were just planning on riding to the end of 2nd street, a 30 mile ride round trip.

On the way back, it started raining again. It wasn’t down pouring or anything and it wasn’t super cold, so it was sort of enjoyable. It started raining a little harder and we decided to come back the most direct way. That way involved a bike path.

We were riding on the road, parallel to the bike path and had to ride across 10 feet of grass to get onto it. We had a tailwind, so we weren’t going that slowly, maybe a little over 20 mph. Anyway, the wet grass wasn’t the issue, it was the dry pavement about 10 meters later, under a bridge.

The bike path went under a bridge right after the grass and it turned just ever so slightly there. When I got there, leaning just a bit, my front went completely out from under me and I landed chest first on the pavement. I hit the ground hard,as you always do when you’re not expecting to fall. That wasn’t all that bad though. What was bad was Bill pegging me full speed in the center of my chest, which obviously didn’t work very well for him either. (Sorry Bill.)

I saw him coming, plus heard him say “Steve”, but it was way out of my control and his. When he hit me, I saw him go over and heard a loud gasp and thud. I was pretty sure that he had landed head first and broke something like a collarbone. I couldn’t get a breath and was sort of curled up on the path, as was Bill. After a few seconds, we started talking and asking each other if they were okay.

I was surprised when Bill sounded alright. Nearly the first thing he said to me was I broke your ribs for sure. I told him no, my chest was okay, just my knees and hip. But, that was premature. I’m not sure what your body does to control pain right after a trauma, but I like it. It lets you come back to some sense of reality, before slowly allowing you to feel the extend of the issues.

Anyway, both Bill and I had pretty skinned up knees. The little amount of road rash was a nice thing. But, my chest got sorer riding back. And slowly, but surely, last night, while trying to sleep, it got the all-to-familiar, stabbing pain, can’t take a deep breath, no coughing, laughing or general movement for a while pain. I don’t quite understand how come when you get a rib injury in the front, then it also hurts on your back. I know that it’s connected, but it doesn’t seem right.

I hate rib injuries. The nag all day, even not riding, and they take forever to go away. Shit.

We thought about the crash all they way home and decided that under the bridge, where it was dry, there was dirt on the bike path from the built up bank on the side. Kids and homeless people(not together) hang there, so they track the dirt onto the pavement. We figured that our tires were wet and when we hit the layer of dust/dirt, it turned to mud and thus like ice. We could see Bill’s tire prints where he was trying to avoid me and the skid marks was about 3 inches wide, front and rear. I think he turned completely sideways before his tires caught and straightened him out, directly into my chest.

Bill’s seat was toast, but he said he was going to try to straighten the rails. I haven’t really looked at my bike. I doubt much is wrong, it wasn’t one of those type of crashes.

Anyway, just another blip on the shitty season screen.

7 thoughts on “Splat – Can’t Seem to Stay Upright

  1. john

    I hope you heal in a hurry – there is a lot of breathing to do in the Leadville 100.

  2. Andrew

    I’m curious if you’d take the time to reflect, for us, on past “shitty” seasons. Certainly with a career as long as yours you’ve had your share? As you age is it tougher to take knowing that there are limited years left to race at a high level?

    I know you are frustrated now, but curious about the perspective.



  3. Terry

    You are lucky that spot was not covered in broken glass like that spot usually is. The broken glass on that part of the trail is really getting out of hand. The groups you mentioned like to break as many beer and liquor bottles as they can particularly about 1/2 mile closer in than your accident. Our new combined parks department has a rotary brush they use on the trail but only about once a week.

  4. devin

    I had a rainy day crash back in May on the way to work.. Ended up colliding with a maintenance van for UWL,,, Hit the brakes so I would not get T-Boned and ended up hitting the front quarter panel and the the windshield to the ground… You are lying about Pain right after the incident,, I thought I was good after but a few hours later I was worked,, Now I have no Cross Bike, a urgent care bill and the University/state say tough Luck,,,, Get HEALED UP STEVE<<<<<<

  5. DJracer`

    man… you have turned into the most accident prone person I know. Seriously… between the bike wrecks and chainsaw incident and everything else! I need to make sure your at least 500 feet from me or else I’ll need better insurance.

  6. Barry

    When I had concurrent shoulder and rib injuries, my PT told me to ease up on the shoulder exercises when I felt pain. The ribs were a different story. With the ribs, he told me no amount of pain should prevent me from doing my exercises. Man, that sucked.

    I think I’d prefer to rub my knees raw with 80 grit and kneel in rubbing alcohol than to do more rib exercises. The good news for you, Steve, is that you can do that now without the hassle of finding a sheet of sandpaper.


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