Today I got the text message that no one wants to get. One of my athletes that I coach sent me a message that another one of my athletes was in a bike accident and was in the hospital. They were not at my group training today because they were partaking in a local charity ride as training for the Houston to Austin MS-150 ride. Norma is a great gal and has done this ride for the past three years. This was only Luke's third large group ride. Here is how it played out.
Norma was in a bike accident this morning while she was riding the Tour De Houston, Luke and Norma’s twin sister were on the ride with her, but at the time of the accident, Norma’s sister was ahead of her and Luke was a ways behind her so neither of them saw the crash. Luke rode up on the accident and there were several people down. Norma was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital. She had a CAT scan and it revealed that there was some bleeding on the brain and that Norma had a seizure. Since Luke and Norma’s sister were not there at the time of the accident they do not know if she had the seizure before she crashed or after she was on the ground. Along with a concussion, an air cast on her arm for a banged up elbow, and some really bad road rash on her shoulder and hip. She seems to be doing well enough to want to go home. The doctors are keeping her overnight for observation and she was going to have a CT scan this afternoon.
Luke told me that he did not feel comfortable with the number of riders at the event. He said it was huge and there were several bike crashes within the first few miles. He mentioned that Norma kept telling him to be careful on his new bike and to watch out for other riders and that she told him she was nervous or did not have a comfortable feeling about the ride.
If you ever do not feel comfortable or have that strange gut feeling about a training day or even a race, please consider bailing out. So you lost a race entry fee or a goofy t-shirt over it. Listen to your body and your gut. Also, it is not "IF" you are going to have a crash, it is "WHEN" you are going to have a crash.
As goofy as it sounds, taking your bike out to a park where there is a large field and practicing falling and rolling can help if you have your wits about you in a bad situation. Learning how to not stick out an arm to break your fall and tucking can help you avoid a broken wrist or collar bone. Have a Road ID or other form of ID on you at all times with important information such as blood type or allergies listed as well as an emergency phone number to contact someone. Always be watching the people around you and stay out of large packs of people that do not call out road debris, on-coming cars, or slowing speeds. Be a verbal rider and let people know that you are coming up on their left side and passing, slowing or stopping, and not holding your line due to an obstacle in the road. Do not pass on the right. Get a new helmet every three years even if it looks like it is brand spanking new.
O.K., more on today's fantastic ride with everyone's training buddy, HILLS, later with a Norma update. Tomorrow is a ride on the Galveston Seawall with our friend, WIND. Oh, and the Indian Paint Brush are starting to bloom. The Blue Bonnets are not far behind!