There are two types of people who ride bikes: Those who have crashed, and those who will crash.
Written by: Susan Lacke
Just call me Captain Crash.
In an Olympic-distance triathlon this past weekend, the roads weren’t closed during the race. Racers had to stay to the far right shoulder and share the road with cars. Not an issue for most people, since triathletes and cyclists are used to sharing the road during training, anyway.
Around Mile 4, there was a significant descent, where racers were hitting 30 MPH and greater without much effort. I was flying! I felt invincible!
That didn’t last long.
A racer six lengths in front of me crashed. Panicking, I tried to swerve to the left, but there were cars. To the right, there was lots of gravel. I don’t even recall making a decision. I only remember being airborne and then sliding across the pavement.
And then everything stopped. I opened my eyes. The person who crashed first was about fifteen feet away from me. Everyone else – cars and bikes – was whizzing past.
I remember the ambulance getting there. They talked to me and I responded with nut-sobs and dry heaves. They somehow were able to decipher what I was saying. After this experience, I’m convinced they take “Hyperventiling 101” as a foreign language in college. God bless EMTs and Paramedics.
I’ve asked my teammates and friends to help me piece together what happened from there. As you’ll soon see, my memory is kind of fuzzy:
As I passed by on the downhill I saw a rescue vehicle with lights on. I slowed down and realized it was you, and that you were severe distress, sitting up (crying) but being taken care of expeditiously by the EMTs.
I was standing by the table when they radioed you in… said that you wouldn’t be continuing the race. We knew at least you were conscious then. It took a few back and forths to find out that they had called an ambulance and you were going to the hospital. Also, they were bringing your bike back and the lady’s bike back that you collided with. We never heard any detail on her at all. Her bike was equally as jacked as yours.
When I heard about where the crash happened, I immediately shuddered as everyone was picking up serious speed on that descent. Sarah and I took a look at your bike after the race; every athlete that heard the news and saw your bike was pretty sober. It was chilling.
What I remember: OHMYGAWDTHATHURTSHOLY<BLEEP>THATHURTSOHMYGAWDOHMYGAWDOHMYGAWDMAKEITSTOPPLEASE!
I have an IV. Paramedic tells me he’s going to give me drugs to make not hurt as much and then we will go to the hospital. He tells me to take deep breaths. I feel woozy. Paramedic is nice. I may want to marry him.
We get to the hospital. I don’t remember asking for my friend Ashly, who had finished a different race before I started mine, but thankfully, she showed up at the hospital.
I get there. They’re doping you up and attending to your road rash. You described the accident to me, how you were kicking ass and then BOOM! You didn’t have any pants on, they cut your pretty tri shorts. You brought up wishing you had the bikini wax last week. I said I think they do it here, in the hospital. So you told the nurse you would like the bikini wax special.
What I remember: Drugs. Delicious drugs. Makes me feel funny. Ashly’s here. Yay, Ashly! Where are my pants?
You gave [the nurse completing the intake form] Neil’s cell number as yours, then she asks for your In Case of Emergency and you say the number you just gave was your boyfriend Neil’s. She was so confused as to why you didn’t give your own number, and you said because you don’t talk on the phone, you don’t speak English.
What I remember: Nurse is asking questions. I don’t know how to speak English. I speak the language of Drool. Yay! Drool!
After that was X-Ray time and lots of hand holding, F-bombs, and forehead kisses. Oh, and your final hip X-Ray looked like you had a grid in your leg, like a robot.
People are moving me around to take pictures. That hurts. OHHHH, <bleep> <bleep> <bleep>ity <bleep> THAT HURTS!
More drugs. Yay! Drool.
Somewhere in all of this, I managed to get my BlackBerry. Ashly must have brought it with her, or the mythical BlackBerry fairies flew it to me. I’m not sure. At some point, I posted a Facebook status update:
X-rays done. Going in for a CT scan next. Pain meds are awesome. I am not wearing pants as I type this.
At some point, Ashly left to go tell Neil, who was still on the race course and hadn’t been told of my accident.
Ashly found me after the race and said you crashed your bike and were in the Emergency Room. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said. Your teammates helped me get all our stuff together and into the car.
I drove to the hospital and ran into the ER. You were high and smiling. I laughed. I was just relieved you were okay.
What I remember: Neil’s here! Yay! Drool.
So now, I, Captain Crash, write to you from the warm and fuzzy confines of my couch, where I’ll be eating cupcakes and nursing my busted hip for a little while. Just to answer your questions: Yes, I’m high on pain meds as I write this column. And no, I’m still not wearing any pants.
I’ve got to heal up, but rest assured – I’ll be back faster than you can say “cupcake.”
See you Out There!
(Author’s note: Many thanks to the quick response of the Race Officials at the Deuces Wild Triathlon, the amazing EMS crew from the City of Show Low, the kind medical staff at the Show Low hospital, and my wicked awesome friends & teammates. Sorry I wrecked everyone’s good time. Next time, I’ll wear a padded suit. Promise.)