Over the years I have seen a couple of bike wrecks. In one the rider’s frame was snapped in half and he took a LOT of skin off his back. It was a good thing he had a helmet. It cracked, but probably saved his head. The other wreck was the Cache Valley Century. At the end a couple of doctors I was riding with managed to bust up a rim pretty good, but came out ok.
I have long worried that someday my turn would come.
Today it did.
I am a pretty cautious rider. I don’t like wrecks. I don’t like hospitals. I don’t like needles. I don’t like surgery. I got a good dose of all of that today.
This morning I woke up early to go ride with Joel. I was debating taking arm warmers. They are extra bulk, but the cold (50 degrees I think) made me wear them. I was freezing, but you warm up when you ride. Turns out that today was a really good day to have them.
I like to ride with Joel. We chat about technology ideas, business ideas, and how those ideas relate to education. It was during just such a discussion that I missed the rattlesnake winding across the road in front of me.
I went right over the top of it. It isn’t the first time that I have hit a snake on my bike, but it was the first time that I hit one that big. It was two feet long and about an inch and a half in diameter.
Hitting the snake didn’t make me go down, but the feeling that something had just hit me in the back and settled in my jersey pocket sent me into an absolute panic. I tried to rip off my jersey and in so doing managed to run myself off the road. My knee caught the edge of the asphalt. The impact on the newly chip sealed road ripped my leg open. I was hoping for a scratch, but when I saw the inner working of my leg laid bare I was a bit ill and in shock.
The next steps went like this:
- What the crap do we do?
- Wash the wound with the water we had on hand.
- Look for something to wrap the wound. Today I was glad to have my arm warmers. I tied both around my leg. They make great bandages.
- Get help
Lucky for me Joel was there. There isn’t any cell phone reception in the canyon. He rode until he got reception and got help. Ironically, not a single car passed me the entire time I sat on the asphalt waiting. The thing that makes Black Smith Fork Canyon great – minimal traffic – also makes it a bit dangerous – no help is available at times.
Joel’s wife Julieanne and picked us up. Callie took me to the hospital and Joel was kind enough to hang out and offer help.
While we were hanging out doing the typical hospital wait for people to show up while your guts are laid bare all over the place we noticed an awful lot of armed police officers. On the way to the hospital we noticed that Zions bank was taped off. Sure enough a couple of guys tried to rob the place, got hurt, and we shared the ER with them.
I was hoping for a few stitches, but they called in an Orthopedic specialist and I found myself in surgery. That was fine with me. They put you out and so I didn’t have to watch them inject methyl blue into my knee or see them cut off the skin and stitch it all back together.
Today was probably my least favorite cycling day I ever. The snake and I both lost. I know because my health insurance and bank account are about to get a good workout and while waiting for help I had time to see the dead rattlesnake lying on the side of the road.
In a bit of irony the dr told me that my scar will be in the shape of an ‘S’. Maybe that will be an omen to tell the things to get off the road when i am coming.