Went down hard - broke scapula (shoulder blade) yesterday

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by awilki01, May 5, 2013.

  1. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    I was doing the Sam's Club MS 150 here in the Dallas area yesterday going for 100 miles on day 1. I was looking forward to a great ride and to put another century on my list. At around mile 27, I was in a group doing 22.4 mph (checked Garmin) on a country road made of the dreaded chip seal. I was drafting behind several riders so I could not see the road directly in front of me. I always make a habit to try to look around people since I ride solo 99% of the time and feel comfortable being able to see the road in front of me. All of a sudden people yelled "crack" or "look out" or 'something'. I just remember chaos and less than a second later, my front wheel hit a big patch of uneven pavement. I went down to the left side in the opposing lane. I just thank God that there was not a car coming in the opposite direction at the time. I specifically remember the chipseal rushing by my face as it was grinding away at the left side of my helmet. I rolled or something - can't recall details. It all happened so fast. That's not to say I received a head injury - I did not. It just happened so quick its hard to recall the details.

    Another rider went down as well and was in a rare unconscious state. All she was doing was moaning really loud. Other than that, she was unresponsive. To be honest, I was more concerned about her. I just sat there with the wind knocked out of me and pain in my upper left back and shoulder. Eventually, she got up and was fine. I can't believe they let her continue to ride, but apparently, my buddy rode with her for a while and said she finished the ride.

    After her, my concern went to my bike. I got up and checked it out. It looks fine with a few paint dings. I'll probably just have it looked at by my LBS before I ride it again though - just to be sure (unless you guys/gals think I can do that myself - kind of an internal debate right now).

    The pain in the shoulder continued to grow so I told the paramedics I should be checked out. They brought me in and many hours later I was discharged with some good painkillers, cleaned up road rash, and a shoulder brace (and probably the radiation equivalent to a few days out in the sun on the beach). I have to make a follow up appointment with an ortho this week. He did look at the CT scan of my shoulder and said it probably wouldn't need surgery. I'll find out more when I go see him.

    My wife wanted to see the hazard in the road that brought me down so we took a detour between getting my bike from the MS 150 officials and heading home. Below is a picture of it. The ride officials painted it AFTER we had the crash. I tell you. I'm not one to blame anyone else for things like this. It's really not anyone's fault. I see things in the road like this all the time. However, it would have been extremely nice if someone would have ridden the route (or even driven it) and marked/painted all the hazards prior to the ride. That's what I would do - just from a general safety and a "it's the the right thing to do" perspective. Part of me is mad about it, but I know things like this happen. This is just part of bike riding.

    God bless my wife! She has been great! I can hardly do anything myself right now. My 8 year old son was looking up ways to help me on Youtube. Life is good!

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    Just so you understand, the incident was YOUR FAULT.
     
  3. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    Sorry about the bad outcome. That is a nasty crack, the parallel ones are the worst. The group should have been able to see that one a mile away.

    I am always leary about riding in big groups on charity rides. There are too many weekend warriors who are not experienced enough in group dynamics, packs can get very large with all manner of riders. I tend to either ride off the back or in the front. On more than one occasion, riders from groups who chose to ride my wheel ended up off the road because the group behind me overreacted or underreacted to stops or road hazards.

    I hope you shoulder heals quickly.
     
  4. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Hope you heal and are as good as new soon. Your accident could have been avoided of course, had the MS 150 road-marking crew done their job. Any decent club century ride would mark this dangerous crack with warnings in the road well before the crack itself, or traffic cones, or station a flagman there. Tells me these guys are more about fund-raising than bike event safety.

    Also could have been avoided by better action from the state/county. The MS 150 organizers, after scouting the route, could have asked that the dangerous crack be repaired before the event. All it takes is a visit from the tar truck, quick and easy. If the county was asked to make the repair beforehand but didn't, then shame on them.

    Also could have been avoided by safer riding on your part. Sadly, you've learned the hard way not to get involved with a group of strangers on a charity ride running 22 mph. If you want to ride in a big bunch at 12 mph, with plenty of space up to the wheel in front, maybe. But going hard down in the drops with close drafting, sorry, you're risking way too much on the lead guy. Save that for your weekly rides with a few close and trusted friends. Even if the road was perfect, one rider sitting up at that speed to get a drink could have caused the same crash.
     
  5. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    Maydog/dhk2, you are so right. I just got off the phone with my brother (another cyclist) talking about this. I just told him I will never ride like that in a pack again with a group of strangers. Yep, I learned a lesson - the hard way.

    Yesterday, I was fully convinced I would never do a big rec ride again. I've been training for TTs the past few years w/o incident. I can see the road ahead of me.

    I see the troll, AOG, is still around these forums. Pfft! But, he is ultimately right. It was my fault.
     
  6. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Best wishes on a fast recovery. Yikes!! That is a nasty gap in the pavement.

    I agree and have just about stopped doing charity rides, but I may do one next weekend if the weather is nice. The last several I have made a point to get in between groups and ride solo. I carry my own nutrients and fluids so being able to bypass sag stops will typically get me ahead and recreational riders seem to want to stop at every sag.
     
  7. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    There are only two types of cyclists: Those that have crashed and those that will crash again.

    I wish you a fast recovery, OP!
     
  8. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    The guy pulling should have seen it, signaled everyone to move left, and led the group around it.

    I never draft right on a wheel on a group ride, unless I know the rider in front of me. I always leave about 5'.

    OP, heal quick, and don't rush it coming back.
     
  9. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I've done the broken scapula thing, so I can feel your pain. Heal well, and be sure to enjoy the drugs. I don't think it matters one bit to assign any blame. You went down, and now you'll learn something from it, for better or worse. The bike's okay, and as we all know, that is the most important thing.
     
  10. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    Thanks everyone! Just curious, if I have to take 8-12 weeks off, from experience how long does it take to get back the fitness you had before? I understand everyone is different. I'm just looking for a ballpark idea.

    Also, should I have my LBS look over the bike, or in your opinion, is that something you would do yourselves? I don't think they are really any better at looking for cracks/damage than we would be, but I could be wrong. The bike looks fine, but I haven't looked at every nook and crevasse yet.
     
  11. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I think you should look your bike over carefully, run it through the gears, and so on. If you find something that bugs you or that you're not sure about, take it to your LBS. What kind of bike is it? As for any loss of conditioning, that really depends on you, your injury, and what you do between now and when you get back on the bike. You can find something to do to maintain your fitness or limit fitness losses, something that doesn't require stressing of the areas around the fracture site. As to what exercises you can do, I'd suggest you ask your doc or a physical therapist. You might be surprised by what activities you're allowed. Within four weeks of shattering my scapula, I was in PT and actively exercising the injured area. YMMV. Certainly you don't have to let 8-12 weeks pass without exercise. The most important thing, though, is this: did you get any wound that might leave a cool scar or an interesting deformity?
     
  12. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    It's a Felt TT carbon. The road rash may scar, but I have no clue yet. It's still in the 'ooze' phase. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  13. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    TT? Please tell me that you were not drafting in the aero position?

    I was on a charity ride 2 years back with a couple of competent riders who happened to be on TT rigs. They were only aero when there were by themselves. However, one still managed to crash around a blind corner and hitting a tree root speed bump in the trail going downhill. He separated his shoulder pretty bad and was trucked back to the finish. Aero is good and fast, but when there are a lot of hazards (sketchy riders, unknown road conditions) , the traditional hand positions are a lot more forgiving.
     
  14. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    No, I was not in the aero position. I would not do that in the middle of a pack. Aero belongs to solo riders or those in the very front.

    I just like my TT bike feel over my road bike since I do most my training on it.
     
  15. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "The guy pulling should have seen it, signaled everyone to move left, and led the group around it."

    True this.

    The blind guys up front must have left their red & white canes at the start line.


    "I never draft right on a wheel on a group ride, unless I know the rider in front of me."

    Yeah. Charity rides bring together the largest conglomeration of dweebs on the planet. Danger and stupidity lurk everywhere. This photo was taken in 1970 and is typical of a sight seen every 15-20 miles on charity tours.

    [​IMG]

    Nothing has changed in 43 years except the material of the frames has been changed to protect the innocent.
     
  16. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    I know, but I was using these charity rides as a way to give back. My friend's wife has MS and is not getting any better. I just want to give back, and I thought cycling would be a great way to do that. I just need to take these kind of rides differently and quit being so aggressive. Like most of you, I'm pretty competitive when I get on a bike. I just need to take it easy on these rides and quit trying for personal bests.
     
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