About eight weeks ago I came off of my bike quite seriously. I'm keen to get it down and share some learnings.
I was out with two mates aiming for our longest ride to date -120km- and we had just crested Norton's (where I had gotten a personal best!) and were cruising down the long hill after Ashton on Lobethal Road. The last thing I remember was Sam overtaking me, and me shouting out for him to watch the red car also attempting an overtake on a corner (a bit stupid really). Anyway, Sam and Angus made it through the left-hand bend easily enough, but I didn't.
I don't remember what happened next; maybe the car's proximity to a mate distracted me, perhaps I was simply going too fast, maybe there was loose bitumen or oil on the road, but whatever the reason, I lost control and slid across the road. I hit my head either on the road or the barricade and messed up my helmet, as well as leaving a lot of skin on Lobethal Road as I skidded across.
My friends heard the clatter and turned around to find me on the other side of the road, propped up against the barricade. My face was an absolute mess, my glasses were shredded up, my gloves non-existent and a lot of blood across my jersey. I've since been told I was out for about thirty seconds before I came to. I was quite delirious, asking for water, water, water! The ambulance officer later informed Angus that he shouldn't have given me all that water... whoops! I owe him a drink bottle now, I got his all bloody!
By pure luck Sam's family lived nearby, and he sped off to get them. They returned to my shivering body and shrouded me in blankets. In another stroke of luck a registered nurse was driving by and wrapped up my head to cover the gaping wound above my left eye. I begin to remember things after this. I remember the nurse's name, Theresa, and the ambulance officer, Phil. I'd like to meet them and say thanks! I thought I was dreaming, and that I would wake up if I tried hard enough, but the ambulance ride made things much more real.
After cleaning me up in Emergency (and cutting off my favourite jersey), I sat for about six hours waiting for the results of a CT scan to ensure that I didn't have broken bones. Luckily I didn't, but I did have a ten millimetre temporal lobe contusion (a bruise on my brain just behind my right temple). I also got eleven stitches above my eye and endured an agonising wound-scrubbing experience. After three days in hospital I passed the cognitive assessment and was discharged. After two weeks of moping around the house, stiff, sad and sore, I got outside and began to work and study again.
Study proved difficult at times; working on a computer for more than thirty minutes gave me a headache, and I could do very little mental work. This improved after about five weeks, when I regained regular thinking prowess. My body had healed after two weeks (I was amazed by this), leaving a small scar above my eye, which has healed remarkably into a thin purple line just above my eyebrow. Kudos to the surgeon!
I've been back on the bike for about three weeks now, and I recall my first hill climb on the way to uni: I felt sick, had a headache and wanted to just stop. My lungs ached and my brain was freaking out. I got to uni and still felt ill (I have no idea why, perhaps just nerves?) but got through the day.
Two weeks ago I got the all-clear that I had no more bruising on my brain. I still have to pass another cognitive assessment, but given a got a few distinctions on essays written whilst injured, I think I am all good! Now I need to get out there and ride that corner again!
I've learned a few things;
So thanks to all that helped! It'd be great to see another cyclist take something from this experience and avoid my accident. I'll see you out there on the road, maybe flying along Lobethal Road!
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