Friday, June 21, 2013

Sometimes you're the windshield

And sometimes you're the bug...

My TD ended today with a small series of events that could have turned a lot worse. 

Overall, I'm okay just not physically ready to complete the race after another crash late last night that was caused by an unusual front flat tire. It occurred just after cresting a 30-mile, near-8000 foot peak climb; my bet is that the tire slowly bled off enough air so that when I got aboard and rolling over the top, I did my usual brake check at maybe 15 mph. 

I think a small rock impact at the same moment broke the low pressure sealed bead and an instant front flat pretty much destroys directional control. 

Down I went. 

The results were my next challenge. My rear derailleur hanger broke as designed and the front tire obviously needed attention. A few other broken bits littered the ground. 

This was above the snowline after midnight and it was very cold. 

My body situation was unclear but obvious that I'd created some problems in my right side. My right hip got stiff and I had road rash in various places. 

My right front rib issues oddly disappeared but instead I had some new aches in my ribs and back. Strange. 

The first order of business was getting off the mountain. Tuns out my riding companion that day spent 5 years as a mountain guide in Antarctica. 

You can't make this stuff up. 

So we got my kit together and decided that we had to press on down the mountain. There are no houses for many miles on that road. It was after midnight so no one was likely coming our way. 

Got a tube into the front wheel, and I overcame the struggle to replace a stubborn rear derailleur hanger.   Got the chain back together as I'd expected to have to convert to single speed when the rear hanger was troublesome. 

This took at least an hour maybe 90 minutes. By that time my hip got stiffer and we for pretty cold as we weren't moving enough. 

But I knew I had to ride about 20 miles down to the nearest campsite and below the snowline.  Sometimes you just get on with it because you have to. 

The second miracle was that I made it and my light did too. It evaded damage in the crash.  

I set up my tent outside a forest service campsite outhouse and bedded down about 4:30 right at first light. Slept until about 7:30 then two trucks pulled right up to our sleep sites outside the outhouse. No questions or anything about our obviously odd situation.  They left. So it goes. 

The plan was to get into Lima MT for breakfast and a chance to reassess. 

It was obvious that plan wasn't going to work when I could barely walk and couldn't throw either leg over my bike saddle to ride. 

Miracle three appeared as three men rolled up in a truck from Washington state on a fly fishing trip. I waved at them and said 'I'm hurt and need help.'

Without hesitation they got me and my bike into their truck and took over. We made instant friends and they spent the day waiting to help a guy they'd never seen before. 

Who says there are no good people left?

We arrived at Barrett Hospital in Dillon and a swarm of awesome professionals took care of me. 

This is my first time ever as a patient. X-rays and a CT scan revealed a few issues. 

My right lung was collapsed- maybe from the crash on day one?  That could explain a few things. I broke two ribs and fractured my pelvis in three places. 

And I shredded some expensive gear doing it. 

So I'm here for a couple days on a new adventure - maybe I can set a new record for eating the most hospital food ever. 

They'll feed me after I get to the bigger hospital in Butte. 

Hey that's backward on the course- I don't have to drop yet!

Don't worry - I'm only kidding. 

But I did get 900 miles on one lung- just think, with two I could be in Colorado already!

This has still been one of the most amazing adventures of my life. It tested and taught me a lot- about things I hadn't expected. I have many more stories to share and will soon. 

Don't be sad for me- I just got the chance to do something really awesome and I had a ball doing it.  

Well, except for that biking down the mountain part. That was pretty hard- maybe the hardest thing I've ever done. 

I'll be back. 

I'll update my healing progress as this unfolds. Thank you for the positive energy and support. I felt it.  It helped. 

I never did see a bear. 


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Blogger Mike Carter said...

Don, your attitude is amazing. Enjoy that good food and get yourself healed.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hurley said...

Boss. Glad you are doing ok. Get well and thanks for coming to work!!! Jeff

9:40 AM  
Blogger Muffy said...

Don ... hey man ... we know you are taking in this adventure and ALL of the experiences that come with it! It is what it is ...
You are AMAZING!
Heal quickly and get back out there doing what you love to do ... livin' it!!!
Kurt and Martha

3:02 PM  
Blogger Joe Nadeau said...

Nice riding on half a tank of air! No worries though, now that the seal has been broken you'll be back! Congrats on seizing the took some big "you know whats!" Get better. Joe Nadeau

3:11 PM  

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