A Mid-Season Crash - AC Joint Separation, Bruised Ribs and a Plenty of Road Rash

A Mid-Season Crash - AC Joint Separation, Bruised Ribs and a Plenty of Road Rash

It was supposed to be an ordinary Friday—a simple lunchtime ride to clear my head and keep my legs limber for the gravel races scheduled in July. The sun was high, the air was fresh, and I was blissfully unaware of the dramatic turn my day was about to take.

As I pedaled along my usual trail, absorbed in the rhythm of my ride, a sudden movement shattered the tranquility. A young child, lost in play, burst from the bushes onto the trail. Time seemed to slow as I swerved to avoid a disaster. Despite my best efforts, physics took over; my bike jerked, and I was catapulted over the handlebars. The world spun, and then there was asphalt, unyielding and harsh against my skin.

Lying on the ground, my heart pounded not from exertion but from sheer adrenaline and shock. My first, frantic thought was for the child. A quick glance assured me that they were safe, unharmed by my desperate maneuver. Relief washed over me, quickly replaced by a sharp pain that brought my attention to my own condition. My right arm hung limply by my side, an alarming numbness spreading across my shoulder, accompanied by the raw sting of road rash that was beginning to bloom vividly across my skin.

The pain was intense, but adrenaline spurred me to my feet. I checked my bike with a sinking heart: the derailleur hanger was a mangled mess, rendering my bike useless. With no other choice, I slipped off my shoes, hoisted the damaged frame with my functioning left arm, and began the long, painful walk home. Each step on the rough pavement in my socks was a reminder of how quickly fortunes can change.

Back home, the severity of my injuries led me to urgent care, where the clinical sterility of the X-ray room felt alien after the warmth of the summer sun. The images confirmed a stage 3 AC joint separation—a medical term that barely captured the feeling of having a part of my body dangling by a thread.

The days that followed were a blur of painkillers, uncomfortable adjustments, and sleepless nights. My usual sleeping position on my right side was impossible; the busted shoulder screamed in protest. Attempting to rest on the left only aggravated my bruised ribs, a throbbing reminder of the impact. Routine tasks morphed into Herculean efforts. Showering was a battle, and even the simple act of applying deodorant felt like an insurmountable challenge.

My bike, once a source of freedom, sat in the corner in a state of disrepair. The damage was visible and extensive: the new SRAM Red shifters were scuffed and battered, the brake levers twisted, and the saddle looked as though it had gone through a war.

This crash not only fractured my body but also my spirit. The upcoming races—events I had trained months for—now seemed like distant dreams. My planned camping trip with friends had to be canceled, adding to the growing list of disappointments. Anger, frustration, and a deep sense of loss mingled with the physical pain, forming a cocktail of despair.

Yet, as I navigate this forced pause, I find a resilient spirit bubbling up. I'm learning that every setback is a setup for a comeback. Though my body is broken, my determination is not. The road to recovery will be long and challenging, but I am committed to emerging stronger. I'll rebuild, not just the physical strength but also my mental fortitude. The races might have to wait, but I won't—life goes on, and so will I.

This journey has taught me the delicate balance of life, the thin line between control and chaos, and the incredible strength required to simply start over. Now, my race isn't against other cyclists; it's against my own limitations, and I am determined to win.