First Collision with a Car

Fifteen days ago, my bike workout was interrupted by a Subaru. It entered an intersection at the same time I did (although it had a stop sign), and we met in the street. My Garmin data file for the workout shows I was moving at 27.6 mph, and the next second I was moving at 0 mph.

I managed to get the bike turned a little before impact, and the car and I were both broadside when we connected. The point of impact for me was apparently my hip. That’s good. You know what they say: “Land on a fleshy part. You can’t grow a new derailleur.”

The bike went out from under me, and I landed on the pavement. I refused the ambulance and called my wife (the driver of the car kindly offered me her cell phone when mine couldn’t get a signal). I didn’t want to go in the ambulance, because I didn’t want to argue with the EMTs about taking my bike along.

My wife drove me to the hospital, where they gave me a Motrin, a tetanus shot, and an x-ray of either hip. By the time I got home, I looked and felt as if someone had surgically implanted a baseball in my left hip. It was painful to walk.

After about a week, the swelling went down a little, and a large bruise formed. The photo shows how it looked on day 6 after the accident. Pain during walking (and especially climbing stairs) continued for another week.

A few days after the accident, I began to have pain in my left shoulder and neck. It felt exactly like the pinched nerve I’d had in the 1980s. So I wore my soft collar (30 years old, but still pretty functional) to bed a few nights. I don’t know if it helped, but that pain began to subside in about a week.

I took the bike to the shop within a few days. It appeared to have sustained only cosmetic damage — a bent brake handle and a scratched handlebar — but you don’t want to take any chances with carbon fiber. I asked them at the shop if they had any way of checking the frame for invisible damage. I left it there for them to go over, and I haven’t checked on it since because I really don’t have any need of it right now.

I am not working out. On day 7 after the accident, I rode my backup bike for 3.5 miles. Every pedal stroke hurt a little, at least on the left side. So I decided not to try any kind of workout until I had healed.

I went to see my doctor on day 12. By this time, the bruise had doubled in size and new bruises appeared, on my calf and my lower back. My doctor said he was pleased to see the bruise spreading out everywhere. He said that was part of the process and that I was healing beautifully. He advised getting blood flow to the site, through heating pads, hot baths, stretching, and light exercise.

So the next day, I did 20 minutes of easy spinning on the trainer. And the day after that I ran a half mile lightly, at a pace of 8:30/mile, then walked home. Tomorrow, I’m going to try to swim a few laps at the pool.

I’ve given up hoping to make the next race on my schedule (the Massachusetts State Triathlon, which is Saturday, July 14), and I have decided not to go to the Age Group Nationals in Burlington, Vermont in August. But I’m going to try to compete in the Sharon Triathlon, which is a sprint, on August 12. I will probably have to toe the start line without

any training behind me, but it will be a good way to see where I am in my recovery.

And I am planning on doing the Pumpkinman half-iron on September 9 in South Berwick, Maine. If I recover as planned, I should have just about a month to train for it. I feel pretty fortunate, all things considered.

Anybody out there have accident stories to share?

Today’s weight: 156.9
Today’s waking pulse: 58 bpm

2 thoughts on “First Collision with a Car

  1. YIKES, Floyd! Sorry to hear of your accident but good to know you are on the mend. I, too, am nursing some solid bruises from a recent mt biking fall. I will remember the heat/baths/stretching for future damage.

    Great site btw! I look forward to reading more of your multisport perspective…

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