I had my first non-car related crash today after four seasons of biking. I was out doing the 85-miler postponed from yesterday and even before the crash, wasn't having the best ride. I was tired and hungrier than usual so I was feeling a little lethargic. I ended up having to stop for Luna Moons just as I reached the George Washington Bridge, only 13 miles into the ride and had an Uncrustable about 15 miles later. Even after that, I was still feeling slow and unfocused. We had a re-fueling stop planned at 45 miles so I decided against having a gel. In hindsight, I wish I'd had the gel. It might have boosted my alertness.
At 41 miles, just outside of Nyack, I made a mistake I would pay dearly for. We were on highway 9W, which thankfully has a very wide shoulder, and came across a rather large road kill specimen. I didn't see it until it was too late and ran right over it. Running it over didn't immediately do me in, but I must have jerked the handlebars in reaction and I went down. Hard. I was going about 18 or 19 miles per hour so the impact was tremendous. As always, it happened so fast that I'm not entirely sure how I fell, but I vividly remember slamming my mouth and chin on the pavement. I heard my teeth hit and was sure I'd knocked some out. I managed to sit up and realized I had blood literally gushing from my face. My nose bled, my mouth bled and my chin was gashed open. I spit something out that felt like a piece of tooth and was thankful it was a piece of the road instead. My teeth were all still in place. My left leg was torn up as was my left elbow and the pain radiating through my left arm was unbearable. I thought it was broken.
While my husband was calling for an ambulance, a car pulled up to help. This man and his wife jumped out and immediately offered to drive me to the hospital, which was luckily just 3 miles away. I was so bloody and didn't want to ruin their car, a nice Mercedes SUV, but they insisted. Then a livery cab driver pulled over as well and offered to take the bikes and my husband in his car. It took a few people and a lot of wailing in pain to get me up off the ground and into the SUV. The man's name was Eddie and I unfortunately didn't get his wife's name. She had hopped into the backseat with their baby so I could ride up front. Eddie said he was a cyclist too, which explained why he didn't hesitate for a moment to help. These three strangers really touched me with their kindness. There are some truly incredible people in this world and I felt lucky to have encountered them.
I ended up being in the ER for 8 long hours. I had to have a series of x-rays on my left arm to check my shoulder, upper arm and elbow for fractures. Then I had a CT on my head to rule out a head injury. I had gotten a piercing headache on the way to the hospital so we weren't taking any chances. I was finally given some Percoset so they could attempt to clean up the wounds and have a look at my chin. It was gashed open pretty good and needed 9 stitches. Then we discovered I had an actual hole in my elbow, it was disgusting. That got a few stitches as well. It was looking like I might get to go home, but when I sat up after the stitches, I got sharp abdominal pains. A doctor did an exam and ordered an abdominal CT to rule out internal bleeding or lacerations. At this point, I got an IV for the dehydration and was given morphine for the pain.
The abdominal CT required drinking a "tasty" banana flavored barium solution - which I actually kind of enjoyed given how hungry and thirsty I was - and then waiting an hour and a half for the solution to work through my system. I was also given a contrast solution by IV that made my entire body burn. It was really strange and the chemical smell was so strong that I could smell it even though it was in the IV. I might actually glow in the dark tonight.
It took another hour or longer for the CT results, which were thankfully clear, so I was given some more morphine and just rested. My brother-in-law and his girlfriend had generously driven over an hour to pick up our bikes so we could just take a taxi back to Manhattan when I was released.
My mouth struck the ground so hard that my jaw is swelled so I can't bite down all the way. I was absolutely starving, but can't chew, so I had a banana and peanut butter smoothie the moment I walked in the door. I'll be on a liquid and super-soft food diet this week until my jaw gets back to normal.
My bruises are staring to form and I can't believe all the road rash I have. It's getting more prominent as time goes by. I have it all over my poor face, little patches on my arms and hands, my left knee and shin, and the strangest, most unexplainable place of all, the entire side of my right breast. Yes, TMI I suppose, but it's on the list of injuries. I was wearing a tri top that got shredded on that side and my sports bra underneath was actually torn with the fabric embedded in the rash. I have no idea how this was even possible, but it's painful for sure.
I'm going to attempt a bath, which I'm sure will be excruciating, but my hair is caked with blood and I have little bits of road all over me. Then I'll be icing as much as possible before calling it a night. I plan to remain fairly immobile tomorrow to rest my body. I need to schedule follow up appointments with my primary doctor and my orthopedist ASAP. I may have a soft tissue injury in my shoulder and need to identify what it is. It goes without saying that my race season is likely over. I was feeling sorry for myself earlier, but I feel really lucky that I wasn't hurt worse so I'm not dwelling on it. If my leg feels ok, I might be able to start running again soon and keep training for the marathon. But for now I'm just resting and taking it one day at a time.
Biking Before the Crash
Distance - 42 miles
Time - 2:41:48