August was a rather forgettable month for riding. The frequent spells of bad weather and the growing tedium of the turbo trainer meant that I was desperate for a chance to get outside and ride my bike again.
I thought the morning of September 1 was my chance. Finally, the rains receded to a not-so-crazy level and I woke up to an absolutely dry and clear morning. Some breakfast and a coffee later, I kitted up and rode out from home, testing what I had gained or lost of my fitness…because I had frustratingly gained some weight.
Daang Hari had other plans.
Along the straight stretch past the Caltex gas station, a dump truck was stopped on the right lane, hazard blinkers flashing. Fine, I thought, I’ve got plenty of space to spare, and I can change lanes ahead of time to avoid this truck like normal. I looked over my left shoulder, saw it was clear, then gradually shifted Hyro to the left.
What was NOT normal was this yawning lengthwise crack in the road that split the two concrete lanes. It was basically a huge long rut, big enough to swallow Hyro’s 28 mm front tire. I didn’t see it until it was too late.
The rut inhaled Hyro’s front tire. At that instant, I transitioned from driver to passenger. Because I was turning left, the fork violently turned and locked up Hyro’s steering, the handlebars tangled against his top tube.
The fall into the rut catapulted my ass onto the unyielding concrete, with almost all my weight crashing onto my right shoulder. I distinctly remember my helmeted head hitting the road at some point too, but I never lost consciousness, nor succumbed to anything that resembled concussion. After what felt like rolling over twice, I groaned in pain, head bent over, right arm dangling. I knew something was wrong with my shoulder.
Somehow, I quickly crawled away from the middle of the road and onto the outer sidewalk, and picked up my jettisoned phone and water bottle from the road, and managed to drag Hyro with me…while unable to lift my dominant arm and before succumbing to my shoulder’s misery. Two passing cyclists, Rocky and Bebot, had apparently spotted my clumsy attempt at not becoming roadkill, and stopped to check up on me. Rocky asked me where on my shoulder it hurt. When I said the front, he said it was most likely a broken clavicle and I would best ask for help. Bebot said he had fallen victim to a similar rut in the past, but got away with just road rash on his leg and knee. Once they had made sure I successfully called for help, they propped Hyro up on the nearby gutter and went ahead.
My friend Mario, whom I was supposed to meet up with at Daang Reyna, picked me up. He stuffed Hyro into his car while he brought me to the nearest hospital. He would ultimately make Hyro a diagnosis while the doctors made mine for my wife and parents-in-law to digest.
Rocky’s on-the-spot diagnosis had been prophetic: the doctors said I had a comminuted fracture of my right clavicle. This is fancy doctor-speak for a collar bone broken into multiple fragments; in my case, I had three breaks. Fortunately, none of them was out of alignment, and the entire accident left no open wounds anywhere on my body.
In terms of recovery, I won the figurative lottery: no surgery, no metal implantation, not even any prescribed medication except to manage the pain. Furthermore, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen were actually discouraged, as they would just get in the way of recovery. All I really needed was an arm sling to restrict my movement and support my collar bone for two weeks, while my meat puppet made its mysterious restorative magic.
So, how was Hyro? As of this writing, he’s still with Mario, who sent me some photos. At first glance, the only real casualties seem to be the chain catcher and the rear derailleur hanger, but I will still need to check the frame and fork as they took the brunt of the impact.
Mario also took my Giro helmet, and miraculously it had just a scratch – not even any deformed EPS foam. The helmet and its MIPS liner did its job fantastically of making sure I’d be able to write this after the incident, although it really is a shame that I have to throw it away after just its second or third outdoor ride.
Unfortunately this also means I will have to go on a hiatus from writing for a while. I can’t exactly ride, nor can I do any maintenance or repair content with my dominant arm in a sling. I’ll just have to come back when I can.
Many thanks to my wife Mav; my parents-in-law Levy and Marlyn; my buddy Mario Ramos; concerned gentlemen Rocky and Bebot; and the staff of Asian Hospital for making sure I stand a chance of healing myself.
2 thoughts on “That didn’t end quite the way I expected…”
Sorry to hear abt the accident. Good thing walang masyadong masamang nangyari. I always ride sa Daang Hari. Good thing i accidentally (no oun intended)found your blog while googling saddlebags, para maging maingat sa part na yan. Near Bicycle Corner yata yan, bago mag Shell if i’m correct. Heal up para maka ride ulit.
Tire traps. Watch out for them. In Baguio, mostly storm grates that are not oriented in the right way and the gaps between concrete roads. Ride safe.