Hell of a way to reach Race Weight

This post has two theme songs…

1. Iggy Pop – Lust For Life

2. Foo Fighters – Gimmee Stitches

Wow…what a week+ it’s been! I say this with all seriousness, I’m lucky to be alive and have everything functioning (fingers, toes, ,etc.).

Happily going out on my first and only lap

For those who haven’t already found out, on Sat. July 17th my buddy Andre’ and I were racing as a duo team at the 12 Hours of Külsheim in Külsheim, Deutschland. Andre’ had already done his two laps and off I went on mine. Through the first bit of single and double track, down the tricky decent and back up the long hill which takes you to the Tank/Panzer practice range. I rode through all of that at a pretty good pace, while passing people every 1/2 km or so. Then I rolled up in to my favorite section of singletrack and passed two more people. I then rounded a corner to a fun descent (when it’s dry) and spotted two riders ahead that I wanted to try and catch………

The aftermath in bike form

Total detachment

Sharp ends

The next thing that I remember was being lifted into an ambulance and looking down to see the front end of my bike missing (yes, the Curtlo is dead). Somehow, some way, the head tube (where the fork goes through) snapped off the front of my bike and from everything we can patch together, I went face first into the dirt and rocks. Strangely, 90% if my injuries are in the facial area.

In the ambulance they gave me a Tetnus/Diptheria booster shot and then proceed to cut off my new uniform (probably less than 4 rides in it) and they were about to cut off my shoes and socks until I told them how to get them off of me without cutting them off. Phew! I remember it raining and me making jokes with the people in the ambulance. They then took me to one of the two Uni. Hospitals in Würzburg and did a Cat Scan. It was then they realized that I had two cracked vertebrae (one in my neck and one in my back). At least I can now tell people that I’ve broken both my neck and my back. I know… not soooo funny.

They also figured out that my nose was broken as were both cheeks/orbital bones (diagonally across my face). I’d also managed to lose three teeth (I think that’s all…can’t count them all yet) in the process. Aside from that (isn’t that enough?) a few scratches and scrapes plus some serious bruising on my face from hitting the ground so hard. A lot of the bruising was caused by my helmet and glasses which I am guessing protected not only my head but my eyes from what could have been far worse injuries or death. Thanks a lot to Specialized for making an awesome helmet and Rudy Project for awesome glasses!

After two days in ICU I was moved to the other Uni. Clinic which specializes in Mouth, Jaw and Facial injuries. I spent another week there. It was there that they performed surgery to install two Titanium plates in my face to hold it together and they installed temporary braces to hold my loose teeth in place till I can get new ones installed (the braces come out this Friday). Sadly, the Titanium plates have to come out in 6-9 months too. I’d really rather not do another surgery like the last one. Ugh!

So, after some fantastic care from the Doctors and Nurses in Würzburg and the care of my loving wife, I’m on the way to a full recovery. I’ve now been home since Sunday late afternoon and it feels really good to not be lying in a hospital bed. Kera always says that I’m a “Shitty Relaxer”! She’s right. I find it really hard to just sit and relax.

Here are a couple of pics of my progress.

1st photo after 4 days of recovery

2nd photo after 6 days of recovery

Last day in Hospital at 8 days of recovery

At home - day 10

Things are progressing quickly, for the most part. My scabs are coming off pretty quickly in most places. Only around where I still have stitches are they being difficult. Almost all the bruising is gone and the majority of normal coloration is back in my face. Unfortunately, I have to wear the neck brace for the next 2.5 weeks. Hopefully, on Friday, I’ll find out how soon I can get replacement teeth as it’s no fun looking as redneck as I “normally” do, plus not having all my teeth. I also have to sleep on my back (a position in which I not only hate but I snore like a bull moose in heat). Sorry hon.

Supposedly, my Black Sheep is on the way back from Colorado where it’s been getting repaired and I’ll probably be putting in an order for a new frame sometime in the very near future. Till then, it’s probably just as well that I don’t have a mountain bike as I really, really want to go ride but I’m not allowed to for awhile.

I’m trying to find a Sport Orthopedist who I can work with to get my back and neck in proper working order but that’s proving to be difficult. It’s not that there aren’t many around, it’s more like picking one at random because you like their name or web page. References for these people are a bit tough to find.

Here’s a couple of last pics of the food selection that someone who can mostly only eat pureed food gets to choose from.

Food Selection

Well, about another 4.5 weeks until my bones are theoretically healed and I can probably ride again. I don’t know how long till I can work as I can’t really carry anything for a few more weeks. Plus… the whole bruised and battered thing doesn’t look good in class. I just have to play it by ear.

One last thing…. I have to extend a huge THANK YOU to my lovely wife Kera, our families, friends and my teammates around the world for all the Get Well messages. It really, really lifted my spirits and continues to do so. Also, thanks to my friends Andre’, Phaty and Christian for helping us out by getting the word out that I was hurt but that I was also going to be o.k. and for taking care of our cat as well. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! I don’t know if I can ever repay any of you properly.

The ironic thing is that I’ve been trying to loose weight for awhile now. Who new that by not eating for nearly 4 days and then eating more or less baby food for another week would I loose something like 15 lbs/7 kilos? I’m now at 175 lbs and I can’t ride a bike. Damn! At least I’ll be able to sometime in the future. I just have to keep that in mind. Anyway that was the point of my blog title.

____________________________________________

While I’ve been healing, I found out that an old favorite musician/poet of mine had put out a new album. His name is Gil Scott-Heron and he’s probably most famous for his song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. The video below is off his new album “I’m New Here” and the song is “Me And The Devil”.

His explanation of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is below.

And finally… “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

20 thoughts on “Hell of a way to reach Race Weight

  1. I haven’t seen too many steel frames fail like that. I’m glad that you are healing quickly. My advice, buy yourself an old Raleigh 3 speed and just cruise around for a while till everything’s back up to speed.

  2. Hi Michael, good ssein you´re getting better day by day- what a shoking it story- I´m still scared about it – take your time for recovery – hopo see you both soon- take care Longo

  3. Thanks Longo… will do.

    Myles, you know yourself that “once a cyclist, always a cyclist” is the thing. Although, old Raleigh 3 speeds are pretty damn cool!

  4. Michael, Damn, boy! Go big or go home, they say. I guess you may have went a little too big for that frame, huh? Sorry to hear about the crash and side effects from it. Get yourself well sooner than later and give me a shout one of these days. Again…DAMN! RT

  5. I will have to consider the baby food diet, but four days off food, that would be the worst part of the ordeal. Hopefully your recovery goes well and that the Black sheep is back soon. Relax and let the body do what it does best, heal. Glad you are better. Ed

  6. Thanks gang. I’m doing quite well considering (as many people like to tell me… “You almost died!”) just three weeks ago. Most of the outward signs of my wreck have faded (still a few scabs and swelling left) but there’s plenty of dental work left to do. Also, I have at least three weeks left before my spine heals.

    Now, I get to order a couple of new bikes and that’s cool, for sure.

    Thanks again to everyone for the well wishes… it seemingly has worked wonders!

  7. You should attach a steel spike on your next helmet…using your face to play human lawn dart isn’t all that fun as you have found out!

    Glad to see you have survived to live another day – man you are one tough hombre amigo. Get well, drink beer, and good vibes!!!!!

    P.S. – Not sure if Kera got the email I sent – but I ran into a friend in Steamboat a few weeks ago – who did a similar face plant last fall. I think he had 9 pieces of ti in his face – went in through the eyebrows, nostils, and mouth. He said he was ‘riding’ 6 weeks later – and his face shows little to no scaring….amazing how as cyclists we find out our injuries are more common amongst our peers than we think.

  8. Man, I think you were just trying to find a way to get some permanent ti hardware. Glad to see you’re doing better. That was scary for a while. That’s a pretty scary failure at the headtube. Keep it, uh, rubber side down man.

  9. Take a good hard look at that frame. From the pics, it doesn’t look like he got any brass inside the top and down tubes on that braze, and it looks like there is rust around the joint on the top tube. It looks like the top tube joint failed, and then on impact with rocks, the head tube rotated on the down tube joint, buckling the down tube. Man, that is messed up. I think it’s a seriously bad joint.

  10. Michael, so sorry to hear about ur accident! Have taken over some of ur classes, and all wish u well! Take care and heal, don’t rush it, it’ll take time. Hang in there, Madeleine

  11. Hi Michael,

    When I first heard about your crash I feared the worse. I am glad you are healing up but I know it takes a long time to fully recover. I had some similar injuries years ago from a very bad Motocross crash. We looked about the same in our recovery pics only I had a cast over my face and my eyes were all blood red…

    Good luck with your recovery and for gods sake get a front fork.

    Chris

  12. This is a very interesting frame failure; hopefully you will not mind that I posted the pictures on the mtbr frame buiding forum.

    In any case I found your blog as I was looking at TDR pages; hope to see you in Banff.

  13. Hey Mark… “interesting” is a good word. To date, no one had figured out exactly what happened. Best guess is that the weld failed. No worries about posting the pics. I’m still missing a tooth and some feeling in my face but all things considered, it could’ve been a lot worse. They originally thought that I might end up paralyzed.

    Tickets to Seattle (inlaws) are purchased and bags are on the bike. I’ll be the guy with the stupid billy-goat goatee and Ti/Rasta Indy Fab.

    • Ya, seems they discussed it a couple years ago. I am a new framebuilder but as with other shocked by this failure. Everything that I know about metalwork tells me that failures should occur in the tube rather then the frame. Honestly I am sorry to bring it back up because it is a memory you may actually want to forget.

      See you in Banff, I will be another single speeder so we may be able to ride together a bit. I will be riding a Farnsworth Engineering, febikes.com bike (my own design).

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