Bad Crash

Rudy was in a bad crash in last Sunday’s Bear Mountain road race in New York. He’s still in the hospital, recovering from abdominal surgery, a fractured cheekbone, concussion and major road rash. He’s expected to stay there for the rest of the week.

I’m soliciting words of wisdom or stories of speedy recovery-then-triumphant returns to bike racing. Please post them in the comments section.

I’m not sure of the specifics of the crash but, according to Robbie King*, the crash happened on a downhill part of a rolling section of the race. Robbie was behind the crash and said guys were “yard-saleing” all over the place.

Chris Hong crashed into an already-down Rudy, but was okay. He later followed Rudy to the hospital and took care of things like a top notch doctor-to-be. (Chris, you are amazing!)

So please send us your inspirational stories. I will compile them and share them with Rudy. And thank you to all our friends who have reached out. We really appreciate it!

Talk about an inspiration: Following an orbit/cheekbone fracture, cycling legend Todd Yezefski was back racing in two weeks.

UPDATE: I just saw this article in the New York Times on crashing in bike races. It tells the story of  Jens Voigt crashing in the Tour de France last year, and again this week in the Tour of California. In that epic TdF crash, Jens sustained some of the same injuries as Rudy.

*Robbie finished the race and placed 12th, renewing his love of bike racing.

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~ by laurengiff on May 18, 2010.

12 Responses to “Bad Crash”

  1. In my second season of triathlon I took a bad crash on my TT bike while in the TT position. I landed on my shoulder at about 25 mph…seperated shoulder and road rash covering my right arm and leg. I spend the next 5 days using my left hand to write on the board while I was teaching…LOTS of backwards letter (the students really got a kick out of that). The worst part was trying to pee with only my left hand (a LOT of dribbling and misfires occured).

  2. After just getting into MTB racing, during the off-season threw a backflip over a 30ft+ cliff and blew out ACL, damaged MCL and seperated meniscus. 14 month post surgery able to take 4th in a local short track race-in Boulder, CO not your average local STX… Full race schedule for ’10. Positive vibes to Jonathan and Family.

  3. Forgive me my self-indulgent and incredibly long-winded reminiscence…….It was 1998, my last year as a junior. My goals were lofty: after a mysteriously triggered bout of Epstein Barr (aka mono, hmmmm….) kept me from junior road worlds in San Sebastian the year before, I was not going to stay home in October of my 18th year. In a fit of hubris my coach Mike and my father persuaded me to try to qualify not only for road worlds but track worlds as well. There were, after all, very few competitors nationally or even internationally in junior women’s track racing. Considering that out of the seven or so times I had been on a track, most of the experiences had garnered a medal of some sort, I saw no reason not to expect I could go to road worlds, track worlds… (downhill mt bike worlds…bmx worlds… messenger pbr-fuelled no-hands track stand worlds…)

    Sometime that spring the decree was sent forth from the base of Pikes Peak that junior women should qualify for the pursuit at worlds by competing at an EDS cup event. The EDS cup was the national track racing series which featured an intimidating and somewhat eccentric and cliquish assembly of elite athletes with remarkable quadriceps, hot-tempered coaches, and unbelievable skills on rollers (rivaling even pbr-drinking hipsters and youtube celebrities). We decided that with track worlds in July, it would be best to qualify as soon as possible.

    Indianapolis, Indiana was the site of an EDS cup event in May, I believe, so I started pursuit-focused training. I did my VO2 intervals in the living room after school with my little black polar wrist monitor mounted on the handlebars with the big black foam doughnut. I started each afternoon while Oprah was on and finished after the second re-run episode of Seinfeld.

    Mike’s training compound was a tolerable drive from Trexlertown and on the Friday afternoon before the EDS cup we piled in Mike’s duel purpose haywagon/race transport vehicle: an old, white Chevy Suburban to roll on down to Friday night racing. As planned, we raced, changed, and around midnight we had packed in our bikes, rollers, the official timing equipment that Mike had volunteered to transport from T-town to the EDS cup, and our selves into the Suburban to drive through the night to Indianapolis. In the front seat were the usual suspects Mike, my father, Jack: an all around racer from the catskills, and True: a very tall and, luckily, slender pursuit specialist with long silky blonde hair. As I remember there was at least one other guy, I think it was Tim, an especially good espoir trackster from some mid-atlantic state. He must have been in the cargo hold with me. Trying to sleep as we wound our way through the Poconos…

    The track in Indianapolis lies on the campus of Marion, one of the two obscure colleges that offered bike racing scholarships (I did not apply). I don’t think my life would have ever included a visit to Indianapolis had it not been for bike racing. I recall the track was a bit rough compared to T-town. I recall little else.

    My memory is especially devoid of the way in which I found my self racing one of my first mass-start track races with a field of seasoned track women. The points race was absolutely the last race my math teachers would ever suggest me entering. Luckily I had one of the best points race coaches in the US, possibly the world, in the infield and I was very very coachable. As Mike had suggested the lap before, I was sitting comfortably mid-pack when, suddenly, the rider two bikes ahead of me went down. Though I was innately terrified of this very event, I had not ever anticipated or been coached of what to do to avoid going down on the track. Being terrified of the steep banking, I instinctively steered down the track to the perceived safety of the comfortingly horizontal apron. I only later, when fully conscious, realized this was not the best way to escape danger.

    The realization came as I lay in a bed under bright lights in the Indianapolis Hospital E.R. I reached a fully conscious state thanks to the cries of pain from the adjacent bed where my colleague’s injuries were being assessed. I was in pain too. The numbness of adrenaline was wearing off and my head was throbbing. As I lay on my back I became aware of some acute discomfort under my right shoulder. X-rays revealed a giant fracture of my right scapula. I was given a sling and some pain pills and my starving, tired teammates were thrilled to finally ride in the ‘burban. We stopped at the grocery store and then arrived “home” to the unbelievably hot and humid dormitories of Marion College where we ate a memorable meal of soft sweet multigrain bread, yellow mustard, luke-warm rotisserie chicken and over-ripe nectarines. Thus fortified, we packed our bikes, clothes, and bodies back into the suburban and began another drive through the night back to Glen Spey, New York. The trip was much longer in this direction as I could not find a comfortable position lying on my left side near the tailgate on the narrow, four and a half foot long hard plastic case for the timing equipment.

    The special junior worlds pursuit qualifier had been slated to occur a few events after that darn points race.

    The triumph? Well, after spending the month of June riding the trainer one-handed in heartrate zone 2, I again failed to qualify at track nationals in lovely Frisco, Texas. I also bombed all the events nationals that year. But, adolescence offers an obstinate single mindedness that can only be strengthened by such crushing disappointments. I trained harder than ever before in late July and August and finished high up in the general classification of the women’s field at the legendary Killington Stage race which had been deemed the final qualifying race for junior women’s road worlds. I made it after all! I raced to a humble 26th place with the european girls over “bergs” made famous by the Amstel Gold race. As he had a suite in the same hotel, I got to meet Lance Armstrong in Valkenberg that year, upon his triumphal return to elite racing after an even bigger setback.

  4. You will triumph too, Rudy!!!

  5. You are so strong willed that I know whatever you decide to do will be accomplished. Real speedy recovery to you so that you can move on. You’re in my thoughts xoxoxo

  6. Oh no! Ok…here’s a small one…I took a spill not too long ago. My friend was going right (did not signal but if he had, i wasn’t looking i guess!) and I was in lala land gong straight, hit his back tire and just spilled over. My knee and hand were torn up and bruised. Took a few weeks but healed up nicely! Rudy, I’m sending you good recovery vibes!!!

  7. That was one ugly looking crash, dude. I thought for sure you were dead, but I’m glad you’re not. Definitely bikes and people flying over and into you while you were there face-down on the tarmac. Even in the scurry to get back into the race (which I didn’t) everyone had an eye on you thinking, “oh man… this is kind of crazy.”

    Speedy recovery man so that you and Hong can be all stealthy in the field and dancing up some climbs.

  8. I’ve lost some skin on a few different pieces of asphalt and cracked a helmet before, but nothing like this. I know you’ll get through it Rudy and be even stronger for it when you do.

    Godspeed man

  9. Our NorEast Elite Team strategy of eating pavement to slow a chase was supposed to remain a secret. Now CCNS will win all the races. DAMN YOU!

    Speedy recovery.

  10. […] (?) I have some experience dealing with head injuries (lucky me), so I have been keeping busy, being patient, and enjoying myself as best I can.  Last […]

  11. […] of course I decided to take time off from school and chase the dream.  And about a week later I crashed at Bear Mountain, and that was pretty much the end of my career. […]

  12. […] all disappeared in an instant in May 2010.  I recovered somewhat after that, but things were never right.  I spent a year not myself. […]

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