Friday, May 15, 2009

Bad Accident

9 years ago I was in boot camp learning how to fall. The class lasted an hour or two and it went through all the different angles from which you could fall and how to decrease the possible damage from the impact. In training, we had the benefit of soft wood chips to practice these techniques. Last night, the class proved to be extremely helpful and perhaps saved my life.

Every Tuesday and Thursday night, Medellìn closes a main road off for cyclists and joggers. During this "ciclovìa," I was riding my bike on the correct side of the road and about 20 minutes into my workout, a 14 year old kid made a stupid decision to pass the person that was in front of him by crossing into my lane. Unfortunately, he was coming from the other direction and I had no idea he even existed...until he made a surprise appearance directly in front of me. I literally had no time to react as the person he was attempting to pass was blocking him from my view. A split second later, a head-on collision ensued where I was going 20 mph and I flipped over my bike (which was still attached to my cleats). I instinctively rolled onto my right shoulder over to my left and after a few rolls stopped with a dislocated shoulder, 2 numb fingers and numerous bumps and bruises. Bucephalus (my trusty steed) was/is also in bad shape. A number of things raced through my mind, am I ok? how will this affect the race? was that person really that stupid to cross the line without looking?!

After assessing no serious damage to myself save for my shoulder (which had popped back in by that time), I decided to assess the situation. I asked the crowd that had formed who had hit me because I had no time to even see who the idiot was. They pointed me in the direction of this kid, Felipe, who was sitting by the roadside. I asked if he was ok and he replied yes. I asked bystanders to call the police and for him to call him parents. The officials arrived and took note of the situation. His parents asked me what I was going to do and I told them that I was 7 miles from home and didn´t have a means to get back since my bike was messed up and I was in no condition to ride it. Thankfully, they offered me a ride home.

At this point, Felipe was completely freaking out, his parents, Felipe, his 2 younger sisters and I were in the car rushing him to the hospital because he said his head hurt. Once at the hospital, his uncle came over to drop me off at home. Once I arrived home, my Colombian family told me that I should get some treatment too. Until that point I thought I would be ok, but the pain was pretty tremendous and I agreed. My "mom," roommate and other friend came along with me to make sure I´d be ok. They stayed with me until 4am at the hospital.

The results came back and I don´t have any broken bones, but I will need to refrain from physical activity for a period. Luckily, things didn´t turn out worse, I could have broken my neck from flipping over. The race is just 2 weeks away. I´m not sure how much I can lay off training. I had just created a new timeline of training because of my surgeries and this has completely screwed up whatever I had planned. I´m not sure I will have enough time to recover for the race.

Unfortunately, Felipe is still in the hospital because he suffered a concussion and has a swollen brain. After learning that his parents don´t have many resources, I didn´t have the heart to ask them to pay for my medical bills, let alone for my bike. I suppose these things happen and sometimes there´s nothing you can do about it. It´s funny how right when you think you have control over your life, it´s taken from you just like that. I guess the important thing is how you react. Me? I´m going to compete.

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