Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Accident

I've heard the inevitable happens and that we should prepare ourselves for it. But I'm here to tell you that you can never prepare for an accident. The very word accident suggests that it didn't happen with planning or purpose.

Try as I might I have been as safe as I can... or so I thought. There was one nagging thing that I had not yet done... stop riding around White Rock Lake. I thought I was safe enough riding the outside loop and staying off the trail full of pedestrians, kids, dogs, joggers, etc. I couldn't be more wrong.

I was on my return lap north about 13.5 miles in right about here: location

note the slim lanes and the bollards keeping me off the right. It's a tight area where a cyclist can easily get over 20 mph but leaves very little room for error... i hadn't noticed that before. She stopped, right there on that little bridge and left me no options but to brake. I tried to stop in time, I failed... the following photos are graphic.

broken pinky
Side of the face the day of the accident. Doesn't look like much yet. 

A couple of days later with swelling and fluid build up under the eye.

The eye ended up looking like this and feeling a lot worse. I also struggled with my vision and on day 10 did not have a full recovery.
I started this posted about a month ago and left it to see if I would bounce back quickly. I did not. 6 weeks past the accident and I'm still struggling with my eye and my head. I've been diagnosed with iris trauma and a severe concussion.

I would always see posts about accidents, some significant, and be amazed at how people got right back on the bike. While I'd love to get on my bike these days to clear my head and enjoy the weather... I have no balance. Hell, I'm banging around into things while walking let alone on a bike.

People have had mixed reactions of anger and empathy during this time and I've learned a lot about people I called friends. While I'm here waiting to get well and hoping to return to what I used to be... I'm dreaming of riding... I'm not afraid of the bike, the road or another accident. Maybe I should be? My first ride will be very scary I'm sure and I doubt I'll go very far! I'll be happy to get on the bike, ride it... shake the whole time but feel amazing when it's finished.

I have what I'd consider a ride partner... he said to me "yaknow, you read all these posts about how to crash and you think about what you'd do when this happens or that happens... but it's clear that it all happens to quickly to act like you'd be some ninja" I'm paraphrasing for sure... he'll laugh at that ninja part.

He's right and I've done a lot of thinking since it happened. What would I do if I got more seriously injured? How would I work or pay my bills? Who would help me, I'm alone, single, no family... there is no one. I know now I should buy the short and long term insurance right away... it made me think about friendship, money, physical needs, the future. Would I give up the bike? No... but I intend to make sure I'll be ok if I ever have any accident again. ANY accident... we don't like to think about it, we don't want to plan for it because we think it will invite it... but I'm here to tell you - do it.

I'm likely going to buy an indoor trainer again... a stand still. I have rollers but that was a challenge when I was 100% let alone now... I'm going to buy one and now use it all the time. Fitness, practice, safety and just an overall good tool.

I hope you never suffer an accident, that all of your riding is incident free. I wish you the best experience in the world that cycling has to offer. I just know that I'll ride with my eyes open and be more prepared, you should too.