Crash! Part Trois: Unfortunately This Time a Motor Vehicle Was Involved!

The rib pain and back pain are terrible, but the x-rays were negative and showed no fractures, which is fantastic news. The feeling I have is frustration as my third serious bicycle crash (requiring medical attention) in five years occurred during my commute home from work on Monday night.

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Those feelings of frustration are fueled by all the news I read and hear about the challenges that cyclists experience all over the world. The story about the glass bottle thrown at one of my teammates on Wednesday night that resulted in double flats–the story also from Wednesday night about a cyclist killed in Connecticut in a head on collision–the crazy story about a chain reaction crash that claimed the life of a cyclist in Brooklyn earlier this week–the July hit-and-run of former Bicycling editor Andrew Bernstein in Boulder. I could go on and on. Every circumstance was different.

After visiting Boulder and Ft. Collins, Colorado last month, I wrote about them in this blog post. Both cities are cycling “Mecca’s” and hold Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community honors from the League of American Bicyclists. That’s great, but as mentioned, Boulder isn’t even a safe place to ride a bike. Nowhere on the roads of America appears to be safe.

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I’ll avoid casting generalizations and try to narrow my focus to my home roads. It’s dangerous out there. I admit it, I choose to take the risk every day. I’ve commuted to or from work 60 times this year and LOVE doing it. It checks all the boxes for me.

  • I value a car-free commute.
  • I lower my carbon footprint.
  • I get my exercise on my way to work, which is a very efficient way to accomplish two things at once.
  • I experience nature.
  • I identify with a community of like-minded riders.
  • I get to ride my bike.

I tell people all of the time that my best days are the days I ride to or from work. I find that morning rides are a great way to start the day and help me plan ahead for the items on my to-do list. Equally enjoyable are the evening rides when I get the chance to unwind before walking through the door at home. It gives me so much pleasure, but is it worth it?

Connecticut isn’t Ft. Collins, Colorado; Portland, Oregon; or San Francisco, California where there is a culture of bicycle commuting, a much larger community, better cycling infrastructure, and more motorist awareness. They have their problems too. The roads of Southern New England are filled with riders. Boston is a busy city and has a strong cycling community. I ride there a lot and have a long history with the city having gone to school there, but it has been plagued by deadly accidents in recent years as traffic increases and distractions abound. Last year, MassBike produced one of the most chilling videos a cyclist will ever watch.

Is it worth it? This is a rhetorical question that even I can’t answer. When I phoned my Mom on Monday night to tell her the news before she heard it from someone else, it bothered me. It was an emotional conversation, just like the calls I placed in 2014 when I crashed on Soapstone Mountain and fractured my scapula and in 2018 at the USA Cyclo-Cross National Championships crash when I broke my fibula. No motor vehicles were involved in those wrecks so even cycling without traffic has its risks, but I can manage that risk better. It’s the risk that is totally out of my control that I’m struggling to reconcile. She knows I don’t call her about the “little” crashes because we talked about that. She also sees me commute because we have worked together for 30 years. Sometimes she is at work when I arrive on my bike. She knows the roads I ride and she sees the way people drive. It’s a huge risk.

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I’m a dedicated commuter and was thrilled when the East Coast Greenway was expanded from Manchester to Bolton Notch. A new section of paved bike path (it’s actually a multi-use path) now connects with the Hop River State Park Trail, a rail trail that is right out my front door. I ride that trail all of the time. I can now ride to East Hartford with even less time spent on the roads that are shared with motor vehicles, but that hasn’t stopped me from riding with vehicular traffic.

On Monday, I called home at 5:28 P.M. and told Debbie my plan. I left HORST Engineering’s South Windsor plant site at 5:47 P.M. I rode towards Prestige Park to meet up with Mike Reilly, a friend from the cycling community. We both commute regularly but had never ridden together. He messaged me in the morning to see when we could ride and I told him I brought my bike and that today would be the day. I was late as usual, but five minutes after I rolled out.  We intercepted each other on Long Hill Rd., chatting amiably on the descent, and then headed towards Wickham Park. Tolland Street was under construction. The top layer of asphalt had been skived, but we have gravel bikes and managed. Dealing with road repair is another challenge for cyclists. We cut through the park where they were setting up for the Monday Night Summer XC Series (running) and then got on to the Greenway at the Burnside Avenue intersection.

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Burnside has a bike lane now, but there were three cycling deaths on that road during an 18-month time frame in 2010-2011. I ride Burnside a LOT. It’s sketchy, but much better after the improvements. It used to be a four lane road without a divider and the speeds were high. They removed the second lane headed in both directions, narrowing the flow of traffic and reducing the speeds. Sadly, much of the paint markings for the bike lane are fading and there has been little maintenance. Mercifully, there has not been a “Ghost Bike” placed on Burnside since 2011. If I can avoid that road, I seek an alternative route, but that is not always the case. The paved bike path is a huge help. Mike and I spent time chatting about our love of cycling and the risks involved. He was surprised to learn that I was a bicycle messenger during college back in 1991. I gave that job up after my third big crash involving motor vehicles and thankfully have pursued other career options. We had to briefly get off the path where there is a missing section in Manchester between Bidwell Street and McKee Street. We got back on the path and rode to Charter Oak Park where we split up. He headed towards Mount Nebo Park which is closer to his Manchester home, and I stayed on the Greenway headed towards Bolton.

In June of 2018, I had a bad incident during a commute home. This episode didn’t involve a crash, but did result in a citation to a motorist and an arrest of a passenger in the offending car. They tried to “door” me on East Center Street in Manchester. I wrote about that incident too and described it as “The Perils of Bicycle Commuting.” Is it worth the risk?

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After splitting with Mike, I hemmed and hawed about which route to take. I mix it up a lot, but on Monday I decided to take the bike path all the way to Bolton Center Road. Before the extension, I used to always ride up Camp Meeting Road, but the shoulders have deteriorated and are no fun to ride on. They are full of cracks and debris. Plus, cars travel at a high rate of speed and there are some blind corners. Again, I ride that road all of the time, but Debbie refuses to go on it and I’ve heard from others that they avoid it too. Now that the bike path continues through Bolton, there are better options depending on where you are headed.

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It’s nice to have the Greenway, but it’s worth mentioning that the path parallels sections of I-384 and also I-84. That subjects you to the exhaust fumes from all the vehicles on the highway. There are some nice spots, but there are also spots covered in glass and debris that gets tossed from vehicles on the highway. Plus you are always subject to the highway noise. It isn’t; very peaceful. One of my favorite spots is where the path actually crosses under the highway and you ride along the Hockanum River. You can hear the vehicles above you, but I often imagine what this area looked and sounded like 300 years ago. Periodically I will see a Great Blue Heron in the water. Other sections have wide cracks with long weeds growing up from the openings in the pavement. My newest bike has extra wide 42 cm high volume tires and they do a great job soaking up the road shock, but I shouldn’t have to resort to that option. Sadly, no one maintains these paths. Last week, I rode the spur between Tolland Turnpike and Burnside Avenue and was dismayed to see the memorial and dedication plaque overgrown with weeds with the nearby benches crumbling. It isn’t the prettiest place to ride, but it’s safer than riding in traffic.

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My commute continued and I rode the new section of the bike path along I-384. I had the option to continue to the Notch and then get on the unpaved rail trail, but I wanted to get home sooner and figured the express route down Bolton Center Road for 2.3 miles to my house would be fine. I ride that road ALL of the time. I’ve ridden that road thousands of times. We moved to Bolton 15 years ago. When there was no bike path extension through Bolton, I took that road even more frequently. It’s a busy road and doubles as Route 85, and I worry about the traffic every time I’m on it, but that didn’t deter me.

Sometimes I take my 13-year-old son Shepard on that road and we talk about the danger. I’ve taught him to ride defensively. His friend Alexandra lives off of 85 near the exit ramp and I’ll often meet him there on my way home from work, and then we will ride home together. Our kids are involved with mountain biking and cyclocross, but not with road cycling. They ride on roads, but they don’t train or race on roads like I did. I still ride on the road frequently, even beyond my commuting, but I haven’t raced on the road in years. Lately my only exception has been triathlon. I have done more than 400 road bike races but that is a risk I stopped taking. It’s crazy but I have not data to prove that racing is more or less risky than commuting. I stopped for some of the same reasons that others have stopped commuting, including the fact that crashing is often out of your control. The pavement is so unforgiving.

On Monday, I was on the road and I was riding my new Seven Evergreen XX bicycle. I didn’t have a headlight on because I was running my handlebar bag and haven’t mounted a light on the new bike, but I often ride with one. I have an adapter for it, but just hadn’t gotten around to installing it. I’ll often wear a reflective vest and reflect ankle straps, but not always in middle of summer when it is light out. I was wearing my bright orange Team HORST kit with an orange helmet. I have reflective material on my bike and I had my rear tail light on. It was the same set-up that I’ve been running all summer.

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I’ve got all the details on this ride because Strava captured it. You can see the spot where I crashed because there are all these squiggly lines. I approached the Birch Mountain Road intersection where Bolton Center Road bends to the left. I was just cruising along at 16 mph with about 1.4 miles to go. It was about 6:45 P.M. I recall seeing a car on Birch Mountain and they pulled out to head east on Bolton Center towards the town green. I saw a vehicle approach (I now know it was a mini-van but had no idea at the time) coming towards me. I don’t recall if they were using their left turn signal but they never hesitated and that surprised me. I’m not sure what came out of my mouth but it was probably “Hey!!!” which is a common alert I use. It all happened in a split second. I was clearly going straight and the vehicle turned left, right in front of me.

In an instant I grabbed both brake hoods with all my might while yanking my bike to the left to avoid a collision. It felt like the vehicle was inches from my nose. This new bike has hydraulic disc brakes and they have serious stopping power. I didn’t even skid because I squeezed them so hard. There was no way for me to prevent going straight over the bars. I flipped over (doing an “endo”) body slamming into the asphalt. I’ve described it as WWF body slam without the soft mat and without the acting. My rear wheel went straight up in the air and I stayed clipped into my pedals until my back impacted the ground. As soon as I grabbed the brakes with such force, I was doomed to crash. I was alert and conscious the whole time but in that instant, I was flat on my back looking up at the blue sky with no air in my lungs. Every breath had left my body as I slammed into the pavement.

I was in such pain that in that instant I did not know:

  1. if the vehicle hit me
  2. if I crashed avoiding the vehicle but they subsequently ran me over/hit me
  3. if I completely avoided a collision and crashed on my own.

I think that I ended up in the best possible scenario as it was the third one. I don’t think I ever contacted the van. I think the drive also hit the brakes at the last moment. I don’t know. It was a blur. I saw my life flash before my eyes, reacted, and then I was down. I know I tucked my head, which is instinct and I thrust out my left arm to brace my fall. I think the damage to my bicep was from my bicycle’s handlebars. That seems to be the best explanation given that I couldn’t hit the outside of my arm on the pavement at the same time as the inside of the arm. The bars must have jammed me good because I have a deep black and blue welt.

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In the seconds following the accident, I laid there flat on my back trying to catch my breath. I noticed more than one vehicle around me as I was right in the middle of the road and holding up traffic. I glanced up and there was a man standing over me. I think he was the passenger from the offending vehicle. I heard someone say, “Get him out of the road.” I put up my right hand in a “stop” motion and rasped, “don’t touch me.” I needed to self-assess and could barely get the words out, but I didn’t want to be touched. I was worried I broke my back or even worse, my neck. From all my past first aid training, I knew that you never move someone with a suspected injury like that.

I again made the plea to let me be and said, “give me a minute.” It felt like several people were around me, but I wasn’t seeing that clearly. I asked this man if “he hit me.” I think he said something like “by the grace of God” you avoided a collision. I don’t know exactly what he said, but I know he absolutely said “by the grace of God.” I don’t really look at things that way. I was thinking to myself that God or whatever had nothing to do with this. I also knew that it was my quick reflexes that saved me from a potentially even worse injury and not the reaction of the driver or some higher being.

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After what felt like an eternity, but was probably only two minutes, I realized that I could move my legs and arms and wanted to get up, so I rolled on to my side and curled into a ball to see if I could flex my back. After a few moments, I used my arms to push myself into a seated position and saw where my bike was positioned to my left. I saw the vehicle and realized it was a mini-van. I think it was maroon, but I could be wrong. I was not in the right frame of mind to start taking pictures. I gathered my strength, and stood up. I think someone else grabbed my bike (maybe the passenger) and I walked to the side of the road where there is gravel and dirt with some sparse grass and weeds in the corner. I sat down on the ground with my bike to my left and pulled out my iPhone. I said out loud to everyone listening that I wanted the situation documented. It was 6:50 P.M. and I made the 911 call myself.

I could barely get out the words as tears ran down my cheeks, and snot mixed in my beard, but I was lucid enough to describe the intersection I was at. I explained the situation and my condition. The dispatcher said they would connect me with the State Police. They put the call through and I repeated everything that I told the 911 dispatcher including my location. The call lasted a minute.

It felt like longer, but five minutes later at 6:55 P.M. I dialed Debbie. Between whimpers I told her that I was in an accident, but OK. I gave her my location and she said she would get Dahlia and be right there. Our son is away at Boy Scouts camp. I thought that State Trooper Eckman arrived before Debbie, but I don’t remember. I also thought it took 15 minutes for him to get there, but it must have been quicker. I didn’t talk to anybody. I tossed my iPhone on the ground next to me and just sat there with my head between my knees waiting. I occasionally glanced up as the passenger from the vehicle stood nearby. I had to make sure they didn’t drive away. I thought about taking some photos of the scene, the vehicle, their license plate, etc. but I was zonked. I just sat there.

When the trooper arrived, I recall getting up and approaching him. Maybe he spoke with me while I was seated. It doesn’t matter. I think I was seated. He asked for my ID and I dug my wallet out of my handlebar bag. I gave him my license and waited. He must have collected a license from the driver too and went to his vehicle. I think it was when he returned that I actually got up to talk to him. I told him I wanted the “case” documented. He said there was no case, but that I could call the barracks and get the records if I needed them. I figured there would be a claim against the driver and their insurance company, but I didn’t have my wits and had no interest in engaging with the driver.

I never even saw the driver. I didn’t want to look at the driver. I had no energy to complain or argue. I told Officer Eckman that I had ridden this road a thousand times. I told him that I hadn’t even planned to take it on this ride. I told him I took the Greenway and then switched to the road. He said without any sympathy, “Well, then this was bound to happen at some point.” He went on to compare my situation with a car accident in that they happen all of the time. In hindsight, I think that he has probably seen a lot of tragedy, pain, and suffering and that he realizes how dangerous it is on the roads. He likely sees the same crazy antics and distractions that I witness every day.

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In that moment, I wasn’t thinking about his perspective. I digested the comment and my retort was quick, “Well, that’s one way of looking at it, but it shouldn’t have happened tonight. That driver wasn’t paying attention.” This is when the frustration really kicked in. In the background, my daughter was bawling as she saw how hard it was for me to move. She saw me upset. She saw my tears. She saw me bleeding. Contrastingly, Debbie was quite stable and tried to calm our daughter down insisting that I was going to be alright. She is a strong woman.

I was upset after the exchange with Trooper Eckman. I grabbed my bike and straightened out my brake hoods. They were bent in at 45 degree angles. I spun my wheels to make sure they were running true. My chain was off. I asked Debbie for help to put it back on the front ring. She asked me what I was doing. I said, “I’m going to finish this ride.” She insisted on loading my bike in our VW Eurovan, but I wanted nothing to do with that. I didn’t look around. My focus was on getting home. I climbed back on my bike and got rolling. I got home around 7:20 P.M. It took me a little more than five minutes to go the last mile and a half. My back ached, but I was able to spin my legs no problem. The entire time from crash to getting home took about 26 minutes but it felt much longer.

I let myself in through the garage, put my bike in the basement, went inside, and got undressed. Debbie arrived home shortly afterwards. She said she spoke with the officer and he said he gave the driver a $185 fine and citation for “failing to grant the right of way.” That should help prove it was the driver’s fault and not mine. She also said she glanced into the vehicle. The driver never left her seat. She reported that the driver was female and then gave me some additional background information. Like I said, I was disinterested in meeting this person. Accidents happen, but normally for a reason. I don’t know if she was distracted, if she was a poor driver, if she was tired, or if as the passenger claimed, that she just didn’t see me. When he spoke, he said, “they” indicating that neither of them saw me. He had also referenced the sun, but at that moment when I was still sitting on the ground waiting for the police to arrive, I looked up and know that it wasn’t that bad. Speed doesn’t appear to be an issue. The limit on that road is 40 mph. Not far from the crash, there is a section of road that permits passing, which I think is wrong. That road is too narrow and winding for passing to be allowed, but that wasn’t a factor here. I could find all kinds of problems with how our roads are laid out and governed, but that’s not going to change. In my case, some combination of factors resulted in the fact that the driver was unaware of my presence on the road and she turned in front of me.

I’m sure the driver was shaken up by the situation. It could have been worse for her too. Distracted driving is an epidemic. The number of people that I see on their phones talking, texting, or performing other tasks is beyond alarming. In addition to all my riding, I spend a lot of time driving too. The problem is completely out of control. I don’t see that changing. Driving under the influence (DUI) reached a critical point in the 1980’s and people became more aware, but that hasn’t changed the fact that people still drive impaired by alcohol, drugs, and prescription medications.

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In addition to those risks, people are angry. They care less than they used to. More people are selfish and that shows up in their driving behavior. They don’t get enough sleep and drive when they are tired. They don’t do enough to manage the stress in their lives and they behave badly behind the wheel. People are in a bigger rush than ever. They fail to use their signals, they drive way too fast for conditions, they pass on the right, and they constantly blow through stop signs and traffic lights. I see it every day. Cyclists have a unique vantage point. They are higher up than most cars and they can see what’s going on. Vehicles are bigger than ever. Some SUV’s and trucks have large mirrors that stick out and come very close to you when they pass you. How many cyclists have been struck by a rearview mirror?

In recent years, I’ve been “coal rolled” multiple times. It’s disgusting. One of my pet peeves is that some vehicles have windows that are tinted so darkly that you cannot see the driver. You can’t see what they are doing. You can’t see what direction they are looking. You can’t see if they are staring at their phone. There is no way for you to tell if they see you. My fear is that their obliviousness is camouflaged by the tinted glass. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

The anger on the roads is just an extension of the broader anger in our society. When the bike path was being expanded in Bolton, our small town of 5,000 people 15 minutes east of Hartford, it caused so much angst. There has been a small but vocal group of people who have railed against the expansion of the Greenway and other paths. They have claimed that it’s a waste of their taxes. They have wrongly asserted that cyclists shouldn’t have access to roads because they “don’t pay taxes.” It’s a joke. They have blamed the problems on government. They have said that cyclists and pedestrians should stay off the roads. They have said even worse.

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The vulgarity and anger is so bad that I’ve ignored it. Social media has only fueled this problem and that’s just using OUR small town as an example. The “Everything Bolton” Facebook page is full of this nonsense. I don’t pay attention to it, but I know it is there. Who mounts professionally printed signs on trees to protest bike paths? Are those the same people that take their anger out on the roads when they get behind the wheel of a car?

The roads are in bad shape. I mentioned the cracks and debris. There is little funding to care for our failing infrastructure. The safest place for a cyclist to ride is as far right as possible, but sometimes that is on the worst possible surface. Many roads have no shoulder. It is best to avoid those, but sometimes you go from having five feet of space and in a matter of no time, the road narrows and you are left with nothing.

In Connecticut, a big deal has been made about the “three feet passing rule” or “three foot law.” It’s not followed and it is not enforced. There has to be more awareness and education around cyclists and pedestrians on the road. Debbie and I run the roads of our town too and it is only marginally safer than riding. As pedestrians, we face traffic and can stay just off the edge of the road when the space permits. But whether you are riding or running, the problem of distracted motorists is the same.

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Back at the house, I got my shredded cycling kit off and took a shower. The body has amazing healing powers and I wanted to get a jump start on my recuperation. I laid on the couch for a while. Then I had some dinner and went to bed. Despite a fitful night of rest and waking up stiff as a board, I was out of the house by 6:15 A.M. and back on my bike. Since I had left my car at work the night before, I figured the only logical way to get to work was to commute back. My psyche hadn’t changed and this was my way of saying, no motorist is going to stop me from doing what I love. Adrenaline was still coursing through my body and I knew that in the coming days, my pain and stiffness was only going to get worse. I wasn’t thinking about medical attention despite the pain I was feeling. There is no question that my pain threshold is higher than average. Debbie offered to take me to work and we have three vehicles, so I didn’t have to ride, but not riding was not an option.

Tuesday was a long day at work and by the end, I was out of gas. I returned home to an empty house because Debbie and Dahlia were at the 10th and final Winding Trails Summer Tri Series Race. I talked with my friend Arlen Wenzel and described the pain I was feeling. He suggested I get it checked out to make sure I had no fractures in my vertebrae or ribs. I got worried and decided to follow his instructions. Again, I didn’t want to go to the emergency department at the hospital, so I drove to the Go Clinic in East Hartford. This is the same clinic where I took Shepard when he broke his wrist back in June at the West Rock Superprestige Mountain Bike Race.

I signed in and then had a word with the technician. 30 seconds later, I was deleting my info from the iPad and walking out the door. The mobile x-ray unit that they used on Shepard was not going to cut it for my back and ribs. I thanked them for not wasting my time and returned to the parking lot where I sent an email to the same orthopedic doctors that treated my broken leg in 2018. I cc’d my PCP who is an Ironman triathlete veteran and understands my thinking. I requested an appointment with the ortho. By the time I got home, I had a reply from both doctors with some advice and the ortho cc’d one of his assistants so she could reach out to me in the morning. I went to bed.

I was feeling even worse on Wednesday morning, so I stayed home to work from the kitchen island and to work on getting an appointment and x-rays. The entire Wednesday saga and challenges of navigating our broken medical system is a long enough story for its own blog post, so I’ll save it. I spend a lot of time on healthcare issues because after wages, materials, and special processes (heat treatment, coatings, testing, etc.) health care premiums and related costs are some of HORST’s largest expenses. Even though I hate the topic, I’ve learned a lot about medical insurance. I’m thankful that my family is generally healthy and that my personal experience with it has mostly been related to injuries rather than illness.

I spent all day trying to get an order for x-rays and then a follow-up with a back specialist. By evening, I was frustrated and just ended up driving to UCONN in Storrs where there is a walk-in clinic. They had the large General Electric x-ray machine needed to shoot back and ribs images. The clinic was dead quiet as students have only just started to return to campus. I was seen immediately and the doctor wrote an instant order and I had the x-rays taken in the adjacent room. I was bummed that I waited and worried all day. I could have had this done by 10:00 A.M. and it was now approaching 7:00 P.M.

Within minutes, the doctor came back with a report that the x-rays were negative. He said he wasn’t an expert and that a radiologist would review them overnight, but that barring a major miss, he thought there were no fractures, breaks, or bone related issues. He said the spacing between my discs looked normal. He said I had a lot of muscle trauma, inflammation, contusions, and related back spasms. He said a combo of Tylenol and Advil would be a good over the counter option to manage the pain and reduce the swelling. He also suggested that I take hot showers. I drove home and followed his instructions.

On Thursday morning, the pain was reaching its peak. I was up quite during the night, but still got up early. I spent all day at work and again was tired by evening. I went to see Bob, my longtime massage therapist at Buckland Therapeutic Massage and had the best and worst massage of my life. I needed the work and knew it would pay dividends, but the suffering was immense. Just getting face down on the table was hard. After the message, I drove home, ate a little food, and went straight to bed. Friday morning, I got up and was feeling the after-effects of the body work. My wounds were weeping a bit, but I decided to spin for 30 minutes on the stationary bike with no resistance. I needed to move my legs and it felt good despite a few jolts of pain in my mid-back.

Friday was a little better and I could tell that the healing process was underway. By the end of the day, I was tired again. Debbie is away for the weekend at the AMC Women’s Trail Running & Yoga Retreat that she is hosting at the Highland Center in Crawford Notch. I didn’t feel like cooking, so I took Dahlia too Rein’s Deli. My elbow is getting better and I hope that by Monday I’ll be ready for some outside exercise again. I know that I have to take it easy. I’ve got some thinking to do about how active I plan to be in the short term. Cyclocross season is coming and I had a full season planned. However, I can’t afford to crash again. I’m in super shape right now, but I’m banged up. I went from an amazing high at the Niantic Bay Triathlon last Sunday to an amazing low on Monday night during the commute home. Close family and friends are always reminding me what I have “at stake.” I’m well aware of my family, work, and community responsibilities. I view it differently. We all have a lot at stake. Everyone has a different risk tolerance. Mine happens to be quite high. That’s probably why I continue to “swim with the sharks” by commuting and riding on the roads.

One of the unfortunate results of my crash is that I’ve fallen way behind in the HORST Engineering steps/activity challenge. My FEELTHEBURNhamSt Team is still in 5th spot, but we are losing ground to The Daily Grind and Waka Waka Waka. We have 2,105,919 steps since the challenge started last month and I’m now holding the team back! At least I can laugh a little about an awful circumstance. We have more than 70 employees participating and the initiative is being led by our F3 Team (Fit, Form, Function) focused on employee health and wellness. It’s a good thing. IMG_2975

I’ll likely turn more attention to bicycle advocacy, though I fear it is a losing battle. I already support MassBike, BikeWalk Connecticut, Bike Walk Bolton, the League of American Bicyclists, and other groups. I’ve talked about these matters in the past on the Bicycle Talk radio show/podcast. I won’t stop, but I’m doubtful that we can change the way people drive.

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I went years without a serious bike crash, but I’ve now had three major ones in a relatively short stretch. The physical and mental scars linger for months and years. The older you get, the harder it is to bounce back. You become less willing to push as hard. I’ve spent more times on trails for a reason, but I still love to commute. I’m sure that I will be putting more thought into my commuting routes. I’m sure that I will make even more use of the rail trail and the East Coast Greenway in an attempt to limit my exposure to motor vehicles. The days are getting shorter. Darkness and foul weather will become a bigger issue again as summer wanes. I plan to revisit my attire and anticipate that I’ll add even more lighting and reflective materials.

I can feel my body healing as I type, so I know that I’ll be back in the saddle soon. Some people might quit after a crash like this. Others would certainly slow down or delay their return to the road. Mentally, I’m ready to ride again. I’ll monitor my back throughout the weekend and see if by Monday I’m ready to ride again.

2 Responses to “Crash! Part Trois: Unfortunately This Time a Motor Vehicle Was Involved!”


  1. 1 Kim Antoniou 17 August 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Scott — What an incredible ordeal! I am thankful you were able to walk away from this one. I have many friends who cycle, and they all are frustrated at the behaviors exhibited by many drivers. Everyone needs to realize these roadways are SHARED, and accord the attention to driving and the respect to fellow drivers/riders that is deserved.
    I hope you continue on a healing path, and that your future rides are without incident. God bless.


  1. 1 2019 Quad Cross | Life Adventures Trackback on 8 September 2019 at 9:10 pm

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Cross Spikes™ by HORST Cycling

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I got to sample the fun activities at Boy Scouts @troop25ct Camp Kirkham. I slept under the amazing stars. We had a full agenda of geocaching, archery, cooking, disc golf, and paddling. I even squeezed in a run to the top of Silver Mountain where I had a 360 degree view. #boyscouts
It was great fun cheering for the Bolton Center School XC Team and their coach @trailrunningmom at The Panther Fest. Go Bulldogs! #crosscountry #trailrunning 🏃🏽‍♀️ 🏃🏿
#carfreecommute #wickhampark
It’s easy to love the infamous water (muck) crossing at the Trails to a Cure (Cockaponset Trail Race). We felt like sea monsters! I can’t believe how out of breath I was after fetching my camera at the finish and running the 1/4 mile back to catch @trailrunningmom and Shepard make their crossings. Either hey are getting faster or I am getting slower! Maybe more swim-run is in our future. 🏊🏽‍♀️🏃🏽‍♀️ #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #blueblazedtrail #trailrunning
Good fun kicking off the 2019 #cyclocross season at the #QuadCross It was also the launch of the 2019 @zanksscx which is my prime CX objective. #crossisboss @horstcycling #horstcycling #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #crossspikes #sevencycles
Yesterday’s late afternoon ride was fantastic. The #hoprivertrail to #airlinetrail to #charteroakgreenway is now my favorite loop. The natural beauty that starts right out my front door is proof that #connecticut trails are VERY underrated. I even got to share several miles with @pearljam09 #railtrail @eastcoastgreenway #eastcoastgreenway #bicycle #sevencycles #evergreening
Shepard had an awesome two weeks at @troop25ct Camp Kirkham in #newhampshire Some of the learning included First Aid, Fish & Wildlife, Sports, Photography, and Swimming. It will be great to have him back home. @boyscoutsofamerica
Little D and I passed though our favorite state on the way to NH this morning. #vermont
I dusted off my #triathlon gear for the first time in more than two years. I had to wipe mold off my running shoes, and it felt good to wash my bike. It’s good to know I can still throw it down at 47 but I will admit that we all got thrashed by a talented 15-year-old Junior. At least I got my photo with him! I’m waiting for his Dad to message it to me. 😀 MY Dad even pulled out a vintage 2002 race shirt to honor the occasion. The weather at the @hmf_events Niantic Bay Triathlon was spectacular. We saw lots of old friends. 🏊‍♂️🚴🏽🏃🏿#teamhorstsports @horstcycling #shenipsitstriders @seven_cycles #sevencycles

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