Tuesday 25 January 2011

Full Circle, Part 1:The Accident

I started this blog when I dislocated my right shoulder and was stuck inside instead of riding in the open air. I had my arm in a sling for much of the time and typing was often one-handed.

Guess what?

I'd recovered from my virus and back/neck spasm just enough to do a couple of gentle rides and to feel that I could handle a trip to the velodrome, if I took things easy. So Darren and I set off on the usual post-work trek down to Calshot. The freezing weather had been replaced by moderate rain and the temperature and humidity had risen considerably. Arriving at the velodrome things felt a little... slow. Lots of sitting around and the coach wandering about the track. There was also a bit of dampness on the floor, most obvious on the vinyl centre of the track.

Coach explained that the change in the weather had caused a lot of condensation in the velodrome, and there were a few drips of water on the track. They sent a man with a brush round and the coach rode a dozen laps himself to check things out. He reported things felt fine so we mounted up carefully on the inner wooden boards and started the warm up.

I felt pretty good and ended up leading. We were doing "through and off", where the lead rider pulls up the banking, letting the line of riders pass below. A rider up the banking has further to travel and hence takes longer to do a lap. Once everyone has passed he rejoins the line at the back. I pulled up, slowed slightly, cruised round and rejoined. This happened a few more times until an unnamed rider (let's call him, um, Dappen) pulled up.

As the line passed under Dappen, I noticed out of the corner of my eye his back wheel slide out. Bear in mind he was above me and slightly in front. He then tumbled over and slid down the track, neatly sliding into my front wheel and transforming me from forward and upright into forward and slamming shoulder first into the boards.

Not good.

Head hits boards. Little stars. Shouting. Hard breathing. There's something poking out by my collarbone.

Sounds of another crash on the far bend.

Ambulance? Yes please. Alert and concious? Unfortunately, very.

Accident forms. Darren (sorry, Dappen) also hurt, he was hit by me at 20mph. Two others had slid out and crashed on the other side of the track. Paramedics. Shock. Energy gel. Freezing cold in lycra, shivering like you would not believe. Proper cartoon shivering with chattering teeth.

Ambulance ride to Southampton A&E. Darren follows in my car, clearly in pain from a very nasty scrape down his back.

I wonder how this is going to turn out...

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