2003 > Belmont-San Francisco-Urgent Care > Lisa's Report

Belmont-San Francisco-Urgent Care

Reporting: Lisaa, Team Captain

Saturday, June 29, 2003
Original Ride Listing D/3.5/300 km
Lisaa's Actual Ride C/2/40 km

PBP Training Ride Planning

With only seven weekends of PBP training left, Team Bikeaholic member, Lisaa, spent days and nights conjuring up training rides that mimicked the terrain expected for PBP, while staying fairly local. In order to keep things interesting, new variations on the local roads, interspersed with target destinations with desirable cuisine, were chosen. For example, the previous week's ride started at 5:00 am in Belmont, with a 6:00 am rendezvous at the base of Old La Honda to meet up with other Bikeaholics, and included the destinations of Davenport for breakfast at the café, and Ristorante Antonino (my parents' in Aptos) for a delectable Italian luncheon of spaghetti with meatballs, antipasto, and fruit.

This weekend was slated for double day training to start the preparation for multiple days of riding on PBP. This Saturday's planned destinations were Sausalito for breakfast at an Italian café, lunch in Point Reyes Station, and snacks at various locations along the Marin coastline, with a return to Belmont and a total estimated distance of 300 km. A second training day was planned, that included riding the 100 km route of the Giro di Peninsula on Sunday June 30 with co-worker and Bikeaholic Candidate, TerryD.

Saturday's Ride

Saturday's ride started in Belmont at 5:30 am. The morning temperature in Belmont was quite warm, as the previous two days and nights were among the hottest so far this year. In order to encourage my training, I decided to wear my treasured 1999 ACP (Audax Club Parisian) Paris-Brest-Paris jersey. I'd only worn it once before, and it was calling to me from the bike-clothes closet. Although arm warmers were worn at the beginning of the ride, they were soon peeled off. I started down the Belmont Bike Path over to Canada Rd., then over to Skyline Blvd. There was little traffic at this time, and the climb up to Millbrae Avenue was very pleasant. I rode the 200m on the freeway to get over to Trousdale, then jumped onto the bike path up to about South San Francisco, and then got back on Skyline Blvd. By the time I got to Pacifica, I was drenched in the coastal fog. The visibility was not very good at all, so I carefully navigated through the HWY 280/1/35 interchange in Daly City, and continued up to San Francisco. I was starting to get really cold, so I stopped to put my arm warmers and vest on, and took off the dark glasses, that by that time were dripping wet. I was beginning to wonder if it was going to be such a good idea to ride north along the coast and hoped that the fog would burn off later, and the temperatures in Marin would be nice.

The Crash

I proceeded cautiously along Skyline, and then to the Great Highway, as the road was slippery and the visibility low. As I was getting very cold, I down-shifted and cranked up the speed a little in order to stay warm. I hit many red traffic lights along the Great Highway, which was frustrating. As I neared the next red light, I noticed some cars behind me, and moved closer to the shoulder of the road. It was too late when I noticed the deep groove between the cement curb shoulder and the asphalt, and my front wheel got locked in. Before I knew what happened, I slammed into the cement.

I knew I wasn't that bad off in fairly short order, and pulled myself away from the bike and stood on the shoulder, somewhat dumbfounded. My shoulder hurt, and I wasn't sure if I would be able to get right back on the bike right away. A jogger asked if I was ok, and I think I said something like, "I'm not sure."

It was ironic that shortly after, I heard a loud crash and saw one car plow into another at the traffic light. Maybe it was poor visibility. The car behind had its hood buckled up, and steam was rising from the engine. I couldn't really focus on that problem, as the pain in my shoulder was rising, and I began to wonder if my fall was going to be a "show stopper" for the day, and maybe even PBP.

Damage Assessment

I started to get a little light headed, mostly because I had not eaten enough, so I swigged down some Sustained Energy, then thought it would be a good idea to move off the road. There was really no place to sit, and I was pretty far from any stores or major streets, so I just stood by the side of the jogging path and assessed the damage. The bike looked ok - the natural Bikeaholic instinct of protecting the bike must have kicked in at some point during the 3 millisecond fall. My calf had a big red scraped patch, but only superficial, and my right elbow had another probably deeper scrape under my arm warmer, but that didn't feel too bad. My shoulder was the main injury, and it was starting to swell and become stiff. I couldn't tell if it was broken, and when I tried to feel my collar bone, it made me nauseous - just from the thought of what might be wrong. (I think this stemmed from the time my brother fell off the roof and got up with an "S" shaped wrist - that was freaky.)

It was clear that I was not going to be doing any more riding that day, and I needed to get picked up and taken to a clinic for X-rays. So I pulled out the cell phone and called home. It rang for over 2 minutes, until the answering machine started itself up. Where was everyone? Arik's fencing wasn't until 10:00, and they wouldn't have to leave until 9:00. It was only 8:00 or so. I tried calling a couple more times, then figured they either didn't hear the phone, were sleeping, or went for a walk to Starbucks or something. So, I called my Mom and Dad to see if they could keep trying to get a hold of them while I got myself to a better location.

The Pick Up

I saw a woman walking down the sidewalk and asked where I could find a coffee shop or at least someplace with more stores. She pointed up the street to Sloat Ave. and said there was something up there. I knew about Sloat Ave. and remembered that it intersected with 19th Ave. by Stern Grove. So I made my way over to Sloat. I was at 45st Ave., so I had a ways to go. I felt ok walking, and after a few more swigs of Sustained Energy, started the journey to 19th Ave. My dad called back to say he couldn't reach Mike and Arik, but would keep trying. I thought it might be a good idea to try my neighbor, and I called Information and was connected up. Denise down the street was very understanding and helpful, and sent one of her boys over to find out if anyone was home, and when it was determined that no one was home (but the cars were there), she said she'd try and see if they went down to Starbucks. Sometime around 30th Ave., I finally got the call from Mike. Apparently he was downstairs and didn't hear the earlier phone calls or knock on the door, but eventually got one of the calls from my dad.

So, I instructed them how to get to 19th and Sloat, and continued my walk. It wasn't until about 9:20 or so when they finally showed up. They loaded the bike on the car, and we headed home to get me a button down shirt and some more ibuprofen, then straight to the Urgent Care in Palo Alto.

Urgent Care

I'd been to Urgent Care before. I once had the flu so bad and was so feverish and weak from throwing up, that I was blacking out. One would think that would constitute "urgency", but nevertheless, I had to wait in the lobby for over an hour before being seen by the doctor. I wondered how bad you had to be before they took you in right away.

This time, they took ME in right away!

The nurse was very gentle and supportive. After taking my blood pressure, temperature and pulse, she helped me to get out of my jersey. I was so glad they didn't have to cut it off, and it wasn't even shredded - just a little dirty on the right sleeve. The doctor came in soon thereafter, and poked around the shoulder asking me if where it hurt. I didn't have any sharp pains on the bones, but it really hurt when my arm was moved. She called the x-ray technician, who led me over to the machine and took four x-rays in various positions. For one picture, I needed to grasp on to a pole and move my arm out. That really hurt, and I started blacking out again. Once sitting down, I was much better.

The doctor came back in and said she thought she might have seen something suspicious in the x-ray, and had sent it down to the radiologist to give a more thorough assessment. She thought there might have been a crack in the shoulder somewhere, but wasn't sure. Up until that time, I was trying to be optimistic - maybe once the swelling went down, I could start some physical therapy and be back on the bike in a week or so. After hearing that something might be broken, my optimism plummeted, and I was trying not to think that I might not be going to PBP after all...

While waiting for the radiologist, Mike and Arik were retrieved, and Arik was very useful in helping me to pull down my bike shorts in the bathroom so I could get rid of that 16 oz of Sustained Energy! They helped me into the button-down shirt, which was really painful as I had to move my arm to get into the sleeve, and then put the sling back on.

Good News

The doctor came back with good news! Nothing was broken! She said I was really lucky, and that I should make an appointment next week with my regular doctor for a follow up assessment. She sent me off with a prescription for Vicodin. :-)

I spent the rest of the afternoon at a party in Pleasanton, getting lots of sympathy. I figure I should take in as much as possible, because I new it wouldn't last long!

The Morning After

With the aid of some extra pillows and the vicodin, I was actually able to get a good nights sleep. I got up Sunday morning at 6:30 am, as I needed to get over to the start of the Giro di Peninsula and find Terry to give him the news that I wouldn't be able to ride. Just as we were getting ready to leave, my cell phone rang, and it was Terry who wanted to let me know how to find him. I felt bad about not being able to ride, particularly since I had twisted his arm the week before to get him to do the ride, but Terry took it very well. As I was already up and dressed, I got Mike and Kira to go for a walk to Starbucks for the latte I never got on Sat.! Sometime later in the day, we went shopping to get some short-sleeved button down shirts so I'd have clothes to wear for work. All I had were shirts that you pull over your head, and it was impossible for me to do that motion!

Later in the afternoon, I decided to try the bike trainer. Mike hauled up my ol' Performance dynomagnetic trainer, and we connected up the Sonica. With the help of a step stool, I was able to climb on, and I did about 45 min. of strenuous riding. It felt great, and I was much encouraged. I was even able to very slowly extend my right arm and put my right hand on the bar. Everything was done very slowly, but I was able to support some weight on my right arm, and I started some range of motion and rotator cuff exercises. After a shower, the ice went back on.

The wheels began to turn, as I plotted out my recovery. This wasn't anything I could have ever planned for, and one never knows when or why something like this happens. I guess I'm encouraged that I will probably be able to do PBP, but that my training will be a little different that I'd originally planned. And I'm very thankful for the support of family and friends! Hopefully I'll be able to drive soon - I can't work the gear shifter at this time, but maybe will learn to shift with my left hand until my shoulder gets stronger.

Respectfully submitted,


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