As many of you know I’ve been training for the last 5 months for my first half Ironman triathlon, Big Kahuna in Santa Cruz. Unfortunately on Saturday my training came to a crashing halt, quite literally.
A group of us training for Big K (as the race is affectionately known) had gone down to Santa Cruz to train on the course in preparation for the race in 2 weeks. We were doing an hour and a half cycle out and back on Highway 1. It was on the way back that things went pear-shaped.
There is a section of Highway 1, just after the crest of a hill, where an old rail track crosses the road diagonally. I remembered riding over it on the way out and it was a little gnarly on my race bike with its razor blades for tires. On the way back it caught me a bit by surprise, you don’t see it until you crest the hill, and a thought went through my mind, “hope my wheel doesn’t get caught in the track”. Which, as you can guess, is exactly what happened, just as I picking up speed and going 15-20 mph. The next thing I know I’m down hard on my left hand side skidding along the road on my helmet and left arm…and then Ray hit me, he’d been riding just behind me and didn’t have time to take evasive action. So both of us were down in the middle of Highway 1…I guess we should count ourselves lucky there weren’t any cars behind us.
If anyone needed a reason to wear a helmet when riding here it is, my old Specialized helmet took the brunt of the impact and I watched the road skid by as it protected my head and face from major trauma, I’m serious when I say that without the helmet I would not be here writing this post!
Whilst my helmet fortunately saved my head, my left elbow and shoulder didn’t fare so well. As I fell to the left my elbow impacted the road hard, I had been on my aero bars and it happened so quickly I didn’t have time to react at all. My elbow fractured and the force of the impact fractured my clavicle (collar-bone) as well. After I managed to sit up and catch my breath I could feel my collar-bone was broken (didn’t know about my elbow at that point) and got my team mates, who had arrived at the scene, to call for an ambulance.
I don’t know how, but a policeman was there in only 5 minutes or so, even before we called for an ambulance. He was taking my details and then asked whether I’d seen the sign warning cyclists to slow down and walk their bikes across the tracks…duh, missed those on the way out and on the way back! Me thinks they need bigger signs, flashing neon ones perhaps. Apparently they have about 30 bike accidents at that spot each year, given the tracks aren’t in use any more you wonder why they don’t fill the damn things in, anyone know a good lawyer…
So now I’m out of the race and due to the severity of the breaks I’ll be going in for surgery on both my shoulder and elbow. One thing you can say about me is, if I have an accident, then I *really* have an accident!
I’ll keep you updated on my progress after the surgery, I’m sure it’ll be a few months before I’m back in the saddle again, as Arnie says, “I’ll be back”.
Oh, and the bike, that’s in pretty good shape, luckily my body saved it from any major damage…seriously, it hardly has a scratch on it!