Thursday, June 24, 2010

crash and burn

I was out on my weekly Wednesday night mountain bike ride. This Wednesday it was insanely hot; pushing 90F and really high humidity. So hot we didn't really feel like riding but kept pedaling.... slowly.

The front hub on my Mavic wheel is messed up so I opted not to ride the Superfly but take my Cannondale 29er 1x9 out today.

An hour and a half into the ride the temperature dropped. Probably in the upper 70s now. What a sigh of relief. We started feeling better and started riding a bit faster. The plan was to head down this trail, hop across the forest service road and up the next big climb. Then head out to the powerlines and ride the powerlines into the woods behind Bob's house. Final destination: Bob's house where we started. Easy enough. We do loops like this every week.

2 hours in, 7pm, we're having a good time. I come over a giant rock and somehow dropped my chain. Stopped and put the chain back on. Bruce and Andy took off. I've been feeling strong all day (probably residual from Translyvania Epic) so I decided to pick up the pace a bit.

Out of the saddle, cranking those pedals and shifting further down the cassette. Had some great lines through these scattered rock gardens. Hauling ass now too (20mph? not sure, but it was really fast. faster than I normally ride some of those trails.). Next thing I know my front wheel does not get over a rock the sized of a six pack of beer. Probably because I was leaning forward a bit as I was out of the saddle pedaling a pretty big gear. My bike washes down and I keep going forward. Arms behind me and I'm soaring in the air like Superman. Only to land face first into another grouping of rocks.

My left temple takes the brunt of the impact and my face slides along the ground with tons of dirt filling up my mouth as my lower lips and jaw are dragged across the earth and rocks. Came to a standstill not that far from where I hit ground. Probably two feet or so.

Ouch. My face hurt really bad. I sat up and was spitting all kinds of stuff out of my mouth. First thing I thought of was my teeth. As I'm spitting shit out of my mouth I'm worried a lot of it is my teeth. Quick scan of my mouth with my tongue reveals all teeth intact. Well, I think so.

More stuff coming out of my mouth. Lots of blood and dirt. Bob shows up as he was behind me a ways. Andy and Bruce are further down the trail out of sight (I later found out they heard the impact of me hitting the ground. Wow!). My chest is full of dirt (jersey was open because it was super hot out). My left arm is black from dirt and my left glove is shredded. Right arm is full of dirt and my right knee has a huge scratch on it (like road rash).

I never lost consensus and was awake for the whole ordeal. I was very alert and mobile when speaking to Bob and trying to evaluate the situation. My head did not hurt but my fact hurt really bad. It felt very swollen. Bob gave me a tissue he had and told me to hold it up against this cut on my face near my left nostril. I am still spitting blood up.

When the spitting of blood lessened a fair amount I finally got up and found my bike (10-20ft away from me off the trail). Bike was fine and I started walking out. We were very close to the forest service road. I get out onto the forest service road and both Andy and Bruce were like:

"What the fuck? Holy Shit!"

This is not a good sign. Here I am thinking I have just some road rash on my face.

"Its just a scratch."

But I got on my bike and pedaled slowly down the forest service road back to Bob's house. Felt okay pedaling. A bit shaken up and my thighs hurt when trying to climb but otherwise I was okay. Not shaky on the bars or anything.

We get back to Bob's house (around 7pm) and I look at myself in the mirror of my Jeep.

"Oh Fuck. This isn't good."

Now I saw the cut on my check near my nostril. I also opened my mouth and saw this huge 'hole' between my lower front teeth and lips. (turns out I ripped my gums away from my teeth and there was a huge cavity between my teeth and my lower lips) I almost passed out and had to sit down in the driveway for a minute.

My new Uvex helmet is destroyed. It did its job and I am very thankful for it. It protected me and I have not had any headaches or internal head pains. I now swear by these helmets. It did not move one bit from the impact. It was in the same spot on my head as when I put it on at the start of the ride.

I left a message for my girlfriend and then used Bob's shower to wash all the dirt and sweat off of me. It stung so bad when I rinsed my face. I'd leave the soap and cleaning of my face to the doctors.

Right after I took a shower at Bob's. I then went over to my friend Joey's around the corner. He works in Hartford Hospital and is a long time friend so I had him take me to the hospital since he was closer than my girlfriend.

At the hospital around 8/8:30. Check-in at the ER went smoothly. 30minutes later I'm in a room and a physician's assistant was helping me. I called my friend Becca, whom is a doctor in the ER, to see if she was working. It was her night off but she did talk to my PA about getting a specialized for mouth and faces to come in and fix me up.

Sitting in the ER, waiting for the doc.

The mouth and face doc showed up around 10pm and got to work. The numbing of my face hurt the most. The first needle was okay. I tensed up but was able to relax myself. The second needle caused me to pass out. I forgot that I get like this with needles. 10sec later I come to and am all sweaty. There are quite a few more people in the room helping. One putting oxygen on me and the other inverting the bed so the blood flows down into my head. A few minutes later I was okay. My lower lip was somewhat numb so I didn't really feel the next couple needles of anesthesia.

First order of business was to flush out my mouth and clean out my gums. Then sew it up. Four or five giant tubes of salene wash and some picking of rocks and debris with tweezers everything was clean. I forgot how many sutures were put in my lower lip/gum line but it was probably upwards of 10. The entire front of my mouth had to be sewn up.

Second order of business was to sew up the cut on my face near my left nostril. More salene wash and around five or six sutures and that was cleaned up.

Third order of business was the vertical gash on my upper lip, moustache area. I think that was two sutures.

Took about 40 minutes to close me back up. The PA then cleaned up the scratches on my face and finally looked at the scratch on my right knee, left shoulder and fore-arms (very minor). Got some oral antibotic and ibuprofen for the swelling and we were out of the hospital around 11:30pm.

My girlfriend was already at my house and took care of my dog for me (thanks!). She kept an eye on me last night. I actually, surprisingly, slept well. Woke up every couple of hours but quickly went back to bed. I slept on my back and right side. Got up around 7:30/8am and washed my face and put a new batch of neosporin on. Swelling also looked like it is slowly coming down.

The next morning. All sewn up. The Doc did a good job.

I feel fine. I am alert and mobile. I took today off to rest on the couch and wound up spending the bulk of the afternoon catching up on blog entries from the Translyvania Epic. I do not really feel any pain unless I move my mouth around a lot (then the internal sutures hurt really bad). The swelling is annoying. That's really all. Annoying feeling of the swelling and sore cheek. My teeth feel fine (no pain) and my jaw has no pain. The doc said some of my teeth look like they may be fractured even though they are intact and don't hurt. Therefore I have to call my dentist and have him take a look at things.

Took a while to get some oatmeal down in me for breakfast but I got it to work. I picked up some yogurt and fresh fruit smoothies to eat. Cooked two eggs, ham and cheese for lunch. If I break it up into small chunks I can eat the food. Eating is slow going. If I get food caught infront of my teeth it hurts to flush it out with my tongue so I've been trying water.

I am very fortunate. My helmet saved me from many horrible things. If my helmet was not properly fitted and positioned I would probably have some internal head trauma. I have what I call "cosmetic issues". Its just deep cuts that will heal with time. No achy joints or anything.

Things happen when you push yourself. I was riding faster than normally would because I felt good and wanted to go faster. I am paying the consequence for pushing myself a little too far. That is life.

I hope to be back on the bike in two to three weeks. We'll see what the doctor says when he removes the sutures. I was told SPF50 and stay out of the sun as much as possible for the next six months. Looks like I'll have to put a visor on my helmet and load up on lots of sunscreen when I'm in Breckenridge in August. Don't want the scar tissue to get damaged.


Anonymous Brian Alston said...

Damn buddy!!! I'm glad you're okay! Helluva thing to have happen. Guess it just goes to show you, even the most experienced riders aren't exempt from accidents either. Hang in there!

6/24/2010 11:19 PM  
Blogger Heerscrapple said...

I'm glad to hear you're ok man. I was shocked to see the first pics of you all busted up. Get some rest and heal up and I'll see you out there again soon.

6/25/2010 10:18 AM  
Blogger mike said...

good riders dont crash less, they just crash harder.

good to hear youre ok.

6/25/2010 4:03 PM  
Blogger John said...

Doug, glad you're OK. Sounds severe, hope you get a free replacement from Uvex. Mike B, VT Class of '01

6/30/2010 12:48 PM  
Anonymous yen said...

Ouch that's one scary episode, but good you're OK. I think I'm going to stick to lighter XC trails for a bit longer :-)

7/07/2010 2:12 AM  
Blogger David Alden said...

8/01/2010 9:35 PM  

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