Sometimes you go boom. Sometimes hard. Black ice favors hard.

The lighter oval section is the area of the slight fracture.
Sigh. Crazy rain and wind, no problem. Snow, no problem. But a patch of black ice?

It started out like any other cold morning ride, and Kevin and I were actually thinking it didn’t seem quite as cold as advertised. We even got out a minute or two earlier than normal, so I’m thinking we can take it a bit easier to the start. Well, not when Kevin’s with me. As we headed over Jefferson past the Elks Club, I noticed that the little puddles of water along the side of the road looked a bit… funny. I was watching for ice, but they didn’t have that crusted-over look, but didn’t look normal either. I mention to Kevin to take it easy around that top corner.

And then, descending towards Canada, just before MidGlen, I watch Kevin go down. No warning, just down. Next came me. It’s possible that, had I not been watching him go down, I might not have crashed myself. But crash I did, really hard. 25 miles an hour onto black ice. Ouch. We picked ourselves up, tried to quickly assess if we were in one piece or not, but it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t going anywhere. Movement of my left leg was extraordinarily painful. Ideas of walking back up to the top of Jefferson and riding back home were gone. We called Becky (Kevin’s sister) to come get us and I gingerly squeezed myself into the car and headed home, a short stop to get rid of the bikes, and then on to Kaiser.

It was a long time there, and nobody brought up that we might be thirsty or, eventually, hungry. I was in so much pain at the time (and have been until very recently) that the combination of the pain plus hunger plus thirst was doing a number on me. It was an interesting experience feeling all that at once. Meantime I’d been wheeled into x-ray to check hips, femurs and pelvis. Eventually discover that there’s a small fracture in the pelvis. Kevin fared much better; just a bruised elbow, no breaks. Still we were both ready at about the same time, just before noon, so about 3.5 hours. Becky hasn’t billed us for the time yet.

Kevin will be back to normal in 4 or 5 days; me, not so sure yet. Have to talk with an Ortho (bone doc) guy and I suspect it’s going to be about a month. Could be worse, but I’ll be going certifiably nuts in the meantime!

11 thoughts on “Sometimes you go boom. Sometimes hard. Black ice favors hard.

    1. Yeah, tell me about it! This could be a long road back. And the shop needs a mobile version of me, not something rooted to chairs and unable to move without crutches. It’s going to be a very fun next month or two. Hopefully not three!!!

  1. Bad news, but delivered with typical informative style. I’m really sorry to hear about your accident Mike! Best wishes and I hope your back out there sooner rather than later.

  2. I broke my pelvis 5 years ago – similar kind of crash (tight roundabout with oil slick/body-slam), similar kind of fracture to yours although a little worse, with three cracks.

    Week 1: wheelchair and walker
    Weeks 2-3: crutches
    Week 4: stationary recumbent
    Week 5: easy riding around the neighborhood
    Week 6: bike commute to work
    Week 8: mostly recovered and riding Mount Diablo again.

    1. That’s a more encouraging timetable I’ve seen than some. Thanks for that!

      So far I’ve skipped Week 1 entirely; there are definitely times when it would have been easier with a walker (using crutches to get to the bathroom, more specifically to maneuver onto and off of the toilet, without any rails around… not fun!). But going straight to crutches has its issues because, while I can “force” mobility, getting started is not much fun at all. Very very stiff. Sitting here at the desk, I could pretend there are no issues. Too bad the rest of life can’t be like that.

  3. Mike, so sorry to hear about this accident. I read your blog faithfully and occasionally ride with you when I visit the Bay Area from Colorado. In October I crashed and broke my right collar bone when my crank arm broke at the pedal hole. I felt like an idiot. It took me about two weeks before I was able to get back on my indoor trainer to ride again. I hope that you will be able to get back in the saddle (literally) soon. Good luck and a speedy recovery.

    1. All these years of cycling, many hundreds of thousands of miles, and somehow I’ve never had the classic collarbone break. Or maybe I have and just didn’t know it. I emailed the doc again today; he tells me I’ve got another 4 weeks off the bike. 6 in total. I’m trying to convince him otherwise…

  4. I’m sorry to hear about the accident. Maybe part of the problem is that the bay area is the most benign riding environment in the country and the vast majority of the time this isn’t the sort of issue one even has to consider before embarking on a ride.

    I live the the Seattle area transplanted from the south bay a few years back. While it usually doesn’t get that cold here it is cold enough for black ice certain times of the year. I bought booties and heavy duty cycling gloves, but discovered that if I needed them for comfort those would be the days where black ice was most likely. Therefore I simply don’t ride if my feet are going to be too numb without booties–the risk isn’t worth it to me.

    I crashed hard on Page Mill about a decade ago. My butt area looked like it was hit by a cannonball and I could have broken my pelvis but instead I had severe bruising and fear of blot clots forming. I still carry a lot of pooled blood on my hips. It hurts to roll round on the floor still. It’s better to play it safe as one ages I found.

    1. Jay: It’s extremely rare for it to be both very cold and wet in this area, so black ice generally isn’t an issue. If not for the hillside that had been soaking up the many recent storms and releasing water across the road, it wouldn’t have been an issue this time either. It’s only the second time I’ve had an issue with ice; the first was climbing Kings, and the fall much less dramatic. Much less painful too!

      Sorry to hear you’ve still got issues from that earlier crash. Pretty sure this one is going to heal up without further incident. Amazingly, never any sign of a hematoma either.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *