Thursday, July 9, 2009

What goes up...

Yesterday we were prepared for our last climb of the Rockie Mountains. After leaving Howard we had 3,000 feet to climb gradually over 30 or 40 miles. It was beautiful country with the Rocky Mountains in the back ground providing a sense of completion of a major part of our ride and the downhill towards Kansas representing our next challenge.

Turns out our next challenge was closer than we expected.

A couple of miles after starting our descent Dave and I encountered a particularly tricky part of the road. We saw a sharp right hand turn whose speed limit was 25 mph. We slowed down, but even 25 was far too fast; I drifted into the left hand lane.

Immediately after this turn was an ever sharper left hand turn whose limit was 20 mph. The corner was coming up fast and Dave and I knew that even 20 mph was too fast to take it. We hit both brakes as hard as we could trying to avoid the guardrail around the corner. Dave narrowly made it. I wasn't so lucky.

Just before the turn I realized I wasn't going to make it cleanly and so began as best a defensive measure as I could. Kicking my right foot out of the pedal I tried to fend off the rail with my shoe. It work for a while until my jersey caught a metal pole sticking up out of the rail. It ripped me back, I was separated from the bike, and went clean over the rail.

Dave looked back just in time to see the crash and pulled over. I popped right back up feeling fine, waved to Dave, and let him know I was doing OK. Rather calm and not in any pain I started to look for any cuts. That's went I realized I didn't escape as cleanly as I thought. I had a long, but mostly shallow cut across the middle of my chest, a good size gash in my left knee, and a "I don't even want to look at that" slice in my right quad.

Dave came running up and started to panic when he saw my leg. I told him I was fine, the wound wasn't really bleeding so I wasn't losing a ton of blood, and we flagged down a car. A very nice family allowed me to hop in and took me on the 30 minute drive to the hospital in Canon City. They were extremely friendly and really helped me out... I don't know what we would have done without them.

Dave managed to get in touch with Lauren and they picked up the bikes and met me at the hospital. I was in good spirits, still not in any pain, but nervous that the cuts were even deeper than I thought. Long story short, the people at the hospital took great care of me (I was nervous to find out that my doctor was a Cal grad and ran the 400 for the Golden Bears! Fortunately, he didn't try to sabotage the Cardinal crew team and did tremendous work....he was really a nice guy).

After getting out of the hospital we met up with our hosts for the night, Donna, a retired middle school teacher, and Jack, a biology professor at CSU Pueblo. They were so welcoming, generous, friendly, and helpful, and we had the most wonderful evening. This morning they made us breakfast (the BEST omelet I've had in a long time) and we had some great chats. Lauren drove Dave to the start and then came back to the house to pick me up. We're on the road now but Dave has had two flats already so we think something might be wrong with his rim. We're going to pick him up and probably have to head back to Pueblo to get it checked out because there are no bike stores for a while now.

That's all I have for now. I'll be off the bike for a couple of days which is a bummer. The only thing preventing me from riding is my knee because the constant flexing would tear it open again. Oh well, I'll try to be productive with my time. Thanks for reading!

P.S. If you want photographic documentation of my injuries, leave your email as a comment or send us an email as They are pretty gruesome and we wanted to keep the blog PG (but c'mon folks, I totally won the right to brag!).

Answer to the last trivia question: The Continental Divide separated the flow of water in the country. If it flows down the East side it will eventually make it to the Atlantic. If it goes down the West, its destination is the Pacific. Matty Pru jumps back into the game with a 10 more points!

Today's Trivia Question: Today's question is more of a guessing game. How many stitches did I get in total?


  1. Austin--I don't think my comments are posting when I try..I've tried the trivia the last two time (and gotten it right..) but it hasn't posted. This is a disaster.

    Hope all is well, all things considered.