Tuesday, January 18, 2022

bike vs. car consequences

July 3, 2011

July 3, 2017

2 bike vs. car accidents, same day, 6 years apart.

The first accident ultimately led me to retire early from being a pro triathlete. It was pretty dramatic, busting my face into the back of a minivan during Ironman Korea and shattering the rear windshield. I had stitches in my elbow and chin, and damaged one of my quadriceps tendons. Things eventually healed up and I was able to get back into triathlon competition, although never to the same level--but that's for a whole host of other reasons too. The only long term consequence is that I'll have a rogue chin hair pop up every so often that needs to be plucked.

The second accident was much less dramatic but has had more significant long term ramifications. An oncoming car made a left turn into me, and I bounced off the passenger side door into the intersection. I hit my head on the pavement and broke my helmet. My bike frame also split at the seat stay. I've had long term issues with my neck that I manage through regular chiropractic visits and deep tissue massage. When it's not managed well, my neck will inevitably lock up where I can barely turn it side to side and is pretty debilitating. I also can't get as low into an aero position on the tri bike (which is more an ego thing!).

But typically it's managed so well that I forget how lucky I am to have recovered from this second stupid accident. I returned to competing in ultramarathons, triathlons, work full-time with no issues and take care of my big toddler. I even forgot that… oh yeah, that was the other reason I decided to focus on ultras in 2018. When I wrote last week's blog post I had already forgotten that I took a step back from tris in 2018 because biking was a little scary and frustrating, and swimming requires you to turn your head back and forth. That year (2018) my neck locked up a couple times while I was at work, about 6 months apart. Once I figured out how to manage it, I've been able to keep this under control.

Until…it happens again. It happened again on Saturday morning.

When this happens, it stops me in my tracks and I realize how much I take for granted when I’m actually healthy. I can’t do basic tasks like carry my toddler, turn my head to drive, and never mind trying to exercise. Luckily I was able to get a massage Saturday evening and saw my chiropractor on Monday. Things still feel tight but I took the weekend off training and need to revisit my “neck health maintenance plan”.

Stay safe and vigilant on your bikes out there!

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