What actually happened to cause me to crash so badly?
What caused such a fine array of injuries?
What sparked the exponential augmentation of grey hairs on my dad’s head?
Well, the short story; I crashed into a big arse rocky ditch. Go fast, hit hard, smash smash, ouch ouch, life sucks, oh well deal with it.
Battered, bruised, broken and beaten by the impact and sudden loss of momentum my left pelvis suffered a few fractures, the tendons in my right shin were neatly sliced in two, my left shoulder got a good knock n’ bruise and my face got the grating of a life time.
The frustrating factor with this crash is that it was merely the result of appalling dire and patently unfair luck, but hey, shit happens right? As I was descending the final hill during stage 8 of the Tour of Hainan I swung full speed (60kph? 70kph? Who knows…but it was quick) into a left hand bend, just as I came to overtake a rider on the inside of the corner his rear tyre blew out and he came off his line. From the apex of the turn he basically straight lined it to the gutter leaving me time to otherwise collide with him, or, fate chance and head for the gutter. Bad move. In hindsight, the four foot deep ditch, full of all things dangerous to a vertebrate with velocity, was a bad choice. Joel Pearson who was on my wheel just feathered the brakes enough to avoid the two of us and has recounted to me that I had no choice but to end up in the gutter. The causer of the crash ended up in the gutter too, so maybe it was fate. I was told by someone else that even Lance Armstrong couldn’t have gotten out of that one, destiny indeed.
Now, hands up, who remembers those big nasty gutters from the Beijing Olympics? Yep, well this one, same deal. Yeh, you’re right, it hurt. The ditch was so deep all the team cars drove past me and didn’t even notice I was in there! Cyclingnews photographer Mark Gunter was the first to notice me and came to the rescue. First up he came too my aid after I pleaded to him for a bottle of water. Funnily enough when he gave me the water all I wanted was more water (having not drunk any)! At this point he realised I was delirious. My personal memory runs to the point where I leave the road thinking “Oh crap!” to waking up in the ambulance some time later. The photos Mark took of me once the ambulance arrived show me sitting staring, looking around, but I have no recollection of that period in time.
The next step in the saga was the hospital. It was there that I realised the worst of my injuries and that I was in for Chinese surgery. Now, I had no idea about the Chinese medical system, good, bad or indifferent, who knew? It was simply the fear of the unknown that worried me. Bottom line, the Chinese surgeon did a great job. My tendons got stapled together and I was loaded with stitches.
Hours later and with a concussed and caffeine deprived achey breakey head I awoke to my room for the next two days. Rock hard mattress, dirty walls, and a weird climate that was not warm yet I found myself covered in tepid sticky sweat. Compounded with multiple visits from nurses that looked surprised to see this weird multi tan lined 6 foot white boy yet never too taken aback to continue prodding me with needles and antibiotic IV drips, it was fair to say I was out of my comfort zone.
The reality of it is however, that when in such a groggy state, you don’t care, you just roll around, sleep a bit, moan a bit, do whatever, just try to occupy your mind for a while and hope it will all come to an end soon.
The next chapter in the saga came in the form of the Airline, Hospital and Insurance drama which will be posted up within the next day or two.