February 6, 2016
|Carlton van Leuven gives the rider brief|
Like the 200km Brevet last month, many of the usual suspects attended. It was especially exciting to see Stephen Kinney, without his merry band of fast men, and Paul and Jennifer Danhaus all the way from Wisconsin on a sweet tandem. Perhaps it would be a sensible pace after all.
|Your Correspondent and Michael Mooney at the start|
|A nice group forms|
|Waiting for the light to exit Control 2 in Youngtown|
Carlton saw me pull out and stopped to help. Up the road, Stephen Kinney and Mike Sturgill also pulled out and waited. The change took about 8 minutes, and we rejoined Stephen and Mike and formed a 4 man team. With Stephen and Mike taking monster pulls we were making great time, when my light decided to vibrate loose and head across the pavement. I dropped back, retrieved it and with the group easing off the pace and Stephen dropping back to bridge me up, we chased back on with the group with about 12 miles to Wickenburg.
We selected the first Shell station with a large store as our control in Wickenburg. Again with a quick reload, we were back on the road in under 10 minutes.
There is a gentle mile climb leaving Wickenburg. With Stephen and Mike setting the pace, Carlton and I were yo-yo'ing off the back. By the time we reached the summit 69 miles in to the ride, it was just me hanging on to Mike and Stephen's wheel.
|Just clearing the 'summit' on Vulture Mine Road|
Mike took a long pull up front and we were cruising along in just under 30 miles per hour for the first 5 miles after the summit. The grade eased off, Stephen took the front, but we were still moving along at a perfect pace. I was thinking about dropping off to wait for Carlton but figured we would all regroup at the next control.
Stephen was riding perfectly up front, with a steady 20-22 mph pace and like he was on a rail. A moment of inattention on my part, and my front wheel touched Stephen's rear wheel causing my weight to shift to the right. I steered into his wheel and recovered my balance, but my forward momentum now had me pointed toward the shoulder and off the pavement.
A couple of bumps, and then it felt like someone grabbed the bike from underneath me as it suddenly yanked down and right. The next thing I see is my yellow cycling shoes silhouetted against a perfectly blue Arizona sky, then bang, tumble and a cloud of dust before I came to rest on my right side.
I was on the shoulder and off the pavement, so I had a chance to do a quick self assessment, and determined my ride was over. My left clavicle was broken and my my ribs were popping with each breath. Stephen and Mike stopped immediately and a number of other riders and motorists stopped to render aide and make sure I was OK.
Carlton arrived minutes after I hit the dirt and abandoned his ride to look after me, coordinate with the EMTs, contact Debby, and attend to my bike (which was undamaged!).
They called 911 and after many fits and starts the ambulance arrived and about 40 minutes after the crash I was on my way to the Abrazo West Campus Hospital in Goodyear AZ.
|Into the Ambulance|
|Waiting at the Abrazo Medical Center in Goodyear|
I arrived home Saturday night with a puny Percocet prescription (5/mg per 6 Hours) and slept in one of the recliners. By comparison, when I was discharged from Scottsdale Osborn, a week later, my pain prescription was notably stronger (10/mg per 4 hours).
Sunday morning I was in extreme pain and could not breathe properly. Debby contacted my back Doctor and he told me to go to the ER at Scottsdale Osborne immediately. They performed a trauma CT scan and came back with much more thorough diagnosis that included a traumatic pneumothorax, and 7 rib fractures (some displaced by up to one shaft length) in addition to the previously diagnosed displaced clavicle.
The Trauma team inserted a chest tube and I was admitted within 30 minutes of my arrival. That was Sunday morning and I would not be discharged until late the following Friday night. To say the difference in care between Abrazo West and Scottsdale Osborne was like 'night and day' would be the understatement of the year!
The clavicle was repaired on Monday morning and it was determined all but one of the rib fractures were too close to the spine to be eligible for 'rib plating', and it was not worth the risk of an additional surgery for one rib. They would have to heal the old fashioned way!
Mindy Richardson, friend and neighbor, works at Scottsdale and stopped by often to check in on me! Many other friends visited me during my stay and my room quickly filled with cards and flowers. I was also blessed to have our Pastor from St. Timothy, Fr. Charlie stop by to provide encouragement and the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Upon discharge and still not up to getting to Mass Sunday morning, Fr. Ramirez came to our home to hear my Confession and celebrate Holy Mass.
|Lots of support and proper care make for a fast recovery|
1. The camaraderie and friendship among randonneurs is unparalleled to any other sport I have participated in. In addition to the concern and assistance on the side of the road, I received many visits, notes, and messages from my fellow randonneurs during my hospital stay and after.
2. I am blessed with an awesome wife, family, friends, and co-workers. With Debby at my side throughout, and a steady outpouring of love and encouragement I am well on my way to recovery.
3. I am going to need a new helmet!
|ALWAYS wear your helmet!|