Bakersfield Masters Road Race, June 6, 2009: Driving to the race start on Saturday evening, it rained quite a bit as we drove the Ridge Route. I hoped it wouldn’t rain the next day. In the morning, it was blustery and there was rain in the foothills. As we rolled out there was some rain, but not enough to keep us wet. There was, however, some debris on the road from the rain. There was a mild climb as we approached the hills, and a rider or two fell off the back. We then turned up a road that followed the creek canyon and the serious climbing began. I tried to conserve my energy and stayed toward the back, advancing only when an opening developed as someone ahead began to drop back. I finally saw the top, and was please to have stayed with the group. As we approached one of the first outside turns of the descent, I slipped my back wheel where some mud was in the middle of the road. I let up on my brakes, but lost braking as a result and went off the road into the dirt. Since I wasn’t able to turn in the dirt, I went straight into a deep berm which stopped me from going over the side (a good thing)! I was still upright, so I unclipped and pushed off to get back on the pavement. In the process, however, I picked up a huge amount of dirt in the shoe cleat, and wasn’t able to clip in. I banged my shoe on the pedal to try to free the cleat, but couldn’t do so. As I continued the descent, I continued to try to clip in. I was eventually able to do so, but it took at least 45 seconds. When I was finally able to clip in, I looked up to see my group 2 turns down the hill. In trying to catch up, I stomped on the pedals but it was just at the wrong time because I was approaching another outside turn. When I leaned the bike over for the turn, the front wheel hit some gravel and slipped sideways, dropping me hard on the pavement. I slid across the rough road onto the shoulder. Luckily the follow vehicle was right behind me and stopped. They helped wash my skin to get the worst of the gravel out of the road rash, but I could tell my hand was more of a problem than my skin. They put my bike in the back of the truck and me inside the vehicle and drove me to the finish.
From some locals, I got directions to urgent care, but they sent me to the emergency room, which did a terrific job on me. X-rays showed that my right thumb metacarpal was broken (Bennet’s Fracture). (In a few years, I’ve now had all the major hand injuries: Scaffoid, Gamekeeper’s, and now Bennet’s. I figure 3 times for the charm, and I now I won’t have to get any more right hand injuries!) The ER doc asked my my pain level, and I replied 2-3 out of 10. He said I’d likely have to pinned in a surgical procedure, but the Ortho Tech tried to set the bone (Owwww! … That was a 10!), and then cast it. He told me to make sure when I got hooked up with my local orthopedist that they x-rayed the injury before taking the cast off, because if the bones were close enough, I might not need to have surgery. And that’s exactly what happened. Where is that guy? I’d like to thank him! He saved my so much pain hassle, and time that I would have had to suffer if they did a surgical repair. Where is that guy? I’d like to thank him!
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1 year ago