Fifth Avenue Splat
My luck has been pretty bad the past six months or so. Back in November, I was hit by a bus on 5th Avenue during a bike ride (luckily very little damage to me with that). In March I passed out on a subway platform because I was ill (that did come with some damage).
This past Monday, I was biking down 5th again when I got tripped up by a sneaky pothole. The result: seven stitches in my face (spread across three different locations), two chipped teeth (including re-chipping the one I damaged in March) and a dislocated finger that also required four stitches. My glasses were destroyed in the fall. Further, the bike has been in the shop since the accident getting checked out and repaired so I’ve been off the training regime all week.
This all happened near the end of a really great ride. I pushed at the end of May to roll over 300 bike miles in the month–a month that started with a pretty crappy First Saturday Ride where that 30 miles seemed like it would be the death of me. By the end of the month I was doing much better. This past Friday I did 25.75 miles, which included a lot of hill work in Central Park designed to strengthen my legs. On Monday morning I set out to do 30 and this time I allowed the bike to do the work on the hills instead of me.
I was 25 miles down and was going to easily make the final five when the ride came to a halt. I was moving down a pleasantly uncrowded 5th Avenue when I spotted two steel plates in the street. These plates are common in NYC because they are wherever there are holes in the road because work isn’t complete. They are never flush to the pavement (like they are supposed to be) and are generally a nuisance. Here at 5th &28th there were two, placed about two feet apart. I slowed up and went over the first with no problem. Just as I was about to roll onto the second I saw a pothole at the edge of the plate. There was no where to go… no amount of breaking to do…I figured I was in trouble and I was right.
I flipped over the handlebars and the bike came down on top of me. Five pedestrians jumped to my aid to get me, the bike and my stuff (my odometer, iPod, water bottle and glasses all came dislodged from their places). One of those people went to get a police officer who was a couple blocks away. Someone got me a chair to sit in. Some of this group dispersed as I settled into the chair, but one stayed until the officer got to me. Shortly there after the ambulance arrived and I was off to the Bellevue ER where I hung out for the next six hours. My finger was the big cause for concern because (and here’s the gross part) there was bone exposed. Luckily it was only a dislocation that was visible because of how big the cut was rather than it being broken.
I have to give big kudos to the folks that took care of me. The pedestrians, who I don’t know, were awesome with their quick assistance. The police officer went above and beyond I think. Instead of just having me lock up my bike at 5th and 28th or taking it to his precinct, he brought it in his car to Bellevue and locked it up for me in the ambulance bay. The doctors were all great too. I was mostly tended to by a fourth year medical student who got to practice stitching on me and got to pop my dislocated finger back in under supervision of a senior doctor. I’m glad I was able to provide some good teaching moments because it’s important for new doctors to get their chances to practice.
As of today I got the stitches in my face out (though I still look like I’ve been in a bad fight) and the finger stuff should be cleared up on Monday. That means no hockey this weekend (damn it). I get to pick up my bike tomorrow morning and will likely take it on short, light ride just to make sure all is good. I will have to miss the 40 mile First Saturday Ride tomorrow because I just don’t think it’s a good idea to ride distance without full use of my hands (and I can’t get my hand into my glove with the finger splint). I’ll have to get a couple of 40s in during June.
For May, I did end with 336.13 miles ridden and I’m pretty happy with that since I’m still 3 1/2 months away from the ride.
And hey… now that you’ve read all about this drama… how about helping me out and donating to my ride! It’s easy to do online. Thanks in advance for the help!