Wear a helmet. Ride at your own risk. Obey the rules of the road. Bring a pump, tube and tools. Be courteous towards your fellow riders and the public.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Bad Crash and the Silver Lining - Linda Elgart

Here at River Ride headquarters, we like to believe that there is no such thing as crashes.  We also believe in unicorns, the tooth fairy, and non-anal triathletes!  So, in light of the evidence, we present you the truth that happens eventually....
I had a really bad bicycle crash 3 weeks ago. I was on the River Ride. It’s the regular Saturday racer training ride. 
It’s 40 miles of hard, fast training in a big group of miscellaneous racer types. There have been crashes but I’ve been lucky never to have witnessed a devastating one in almost 18 years of participation.
That day, the weather was mild, there wasn’t much of a wind to break things up, and the fastest pro riders were off racing. That meant that everyone, about 50 of us, was still there ¾ of the way into the ride. Two guys a couple of riders ahead of me got tangled, the one behind them either was bumped or performed an evasive maneuver, and before I even had a chance to think, my front wheel was taken right out and I went down at about 28 mph onto my face and arms.
Luckily I wasn’t able to see how I looked lying there in a pool of blood from facial wounds (which bleed a lot). I was able to see my right arm, floppy and bent at a 90 degree angle. I used my injured left arm to grab my right hand and pull it straight so I could stand to look at it. 
My front teeth were broken. 
I couldn’t believe this was happening.
John, my husband, thankfully was on the ride. This wasn’t my first bad crash, but it was the worst he’s had to witness. Thank goodness he was able to reach our friend Alyssa, who went to our house to get our van, so she could pick up John, his bike, my bike, and follow the ambulance to the hospital.
Final tally: 
broken left elbow and right forearm, 3 damaged teeth, and facial lacerations. I had surgery to repair my arms at the UC Davis Trauma center, then spent two nights at Kaiser. I have temporary caps on my teeth and get a root canal this week. The cast came off my left arm after two weeks (never had one on the right-all the plates are internal) and I’m busy doing physical therapy 5 times a day to regain range of motion. 
Facial wounds heal fast and I look almost normal, but I’ll always have the scars on my arms. I’m non-weight bearing for 5 more weeks, but I hope to regain full strength eventually. 
I am really doing quite well; able to wash, eat, and even do things around the house. I can type. I can work. My legs are fine and I’m riding the bicycle trainer, and walking for transportation. I sure miss doing yoga, but I am doing what I can at home, that doesn’t require the use of arms. Counting my blessings: no head injury, no neck or back injury. It could have been worse. 
So what is the silver lining? 
This has made me want to focus on being a better person. I felt so much love afterwards from friends, family, and neighbors. I received more than 150 Facebook greetings, and so many people called, sent cards and flowers, brought me food and wine, and visited. In return, I have made a pact with myself to be cheerful, not to feel sorry for myself, and to express my appreciation. Not just for now but whenever someone does something nice. 
Trying to be nice not only makes other people feel good, but it actually makes one feel better inside. 
I’m not perfect. I’ve had one bout of feeling sorry for myself, but putting on a smile really has changed my outlook. The weeks pass quickly. 
I will be back.

1 comment:

  1. For those who missed my comment-this was written by request for my yoga studio, not with the RR riders in mind as readers.