2013 – A New Beginning

The end of 2012 was a wash for me as far as cycling. About 3 months ago I fell on my way to work. I was on the Northwoods Greenway in Cary, NC – a route I had riden around 300 times in this direction. There is a little drop then you cross a small wood bridge and then the path curves to the left. There were a few wet leaves and it seems one of those got under my front tire and washed it out from under me. There was no wobbling or warning. I was up and then I was down using my body and the asphalt path as very effective brakes, going from around 15 MPH to 0 MPH in a second or two. But that is hard on the skin. I managed to skin the inside of my left arm, both elbows and fair bit of my face. I laid in the quite fall morning for a coule of minutes, then sat up. There was no one around so I gathered my wits and had enough sense to not hop right back on the bike. The adrenaline and shock need time to wear off before you make any judgments. But after a couple of minutes I decided to walk the bike down the trail. So I straightened the handlebars and walked for maybe 5 minutes.  The walking cleared my head I decided to ride the remaining 4 1/2 miles to work. I was riding slow and at first I thought there was something wrong with my right trigger shifter, but soon I realized that it was my thumb that was too tender to push it properly. I got in a good medium gear and did very little shifting for the rest of the ride.

I work at a company with a large (250+ acres) campus. The way I come in leads pretty directly to the gym. My original plan had been to clean my wounds in the shower and assess the damage. But I realized that the one building I pass on the way to the gym is the healthcare center. Ah ha, they can clean up and bandage my wounds better than I can. So I dropped in, face a mess, blood running down my arms and legs. It did not take long for them to take me into the back. They did a good job with the wounds. I got them to clean everything, then I went to the gym for  shower and came back for bandages. I knew I was going to look bad, but I figured I didn’t have to small bad too. They had this plastic wrap kind of stuff with sticky edges. That really seems to work on the road rash stuff. It is gross because the wound creates puss but no scab, but it healed pretty well. I mentioned my sore thumb and they said to keep an eye on it.

So a week later the thumb is still sore so they get the physical therapist to look at at. He suspects a torn ligament commonly known as skier’s thumb. IHe gives me a splint to wear and I set up an appointment with a hand specialist which takes another week. The hand specialist says it needs surgery and schedules that for a week later. They make me a different splint to wear before and after the surgery. So 3 weeks after my fall I have surgery on my hand to reattach the torn ligament. This includes a pin to hold the thumb in position. The X-ray looks like this.

thumb xray


For 5 weeks I do very little with the hand. I cannot ride, well I probably could but I got a good doctor and it seems silly to ignore his advice. Then I get the pin out and start some physical therapy. I think I need to recover 50% from the surgery and 50% from the inactivity. I could have done more other exercise during this time but I never got around to doing much. But the thumb has gotten enough better that right after Christmas I am told I do not have to wear the splint except when doing something strenuous or that might put pressure on it, like riding the bike.

So now I can ride cautiously and I have started to exercise. I have a way to go just to be in good enough shape to really work out. My weight had crept up before the fall and now my Wii tells me I am obese, although if I drop 5 pounds I’ll be back to overweight. It seems a sad goal to just be overweight, but it is a start.

So I look forward to 2013. More biking, less weight, better fitness. No resolutions, just determination.

Back to pedaling.