Just a quick note to let RBR readers know that I’m now officially a real roadie! I fractured my collarbone in a crash on Saturday. Steering into a fast, tight curve I’ve taken hundreds of times at Stone Mountain Park, I ran through some sand or something, and my wheels flew out in an instant. (Guess I failed to keep the rubber side down – as the old cycling admonition goes.)
Because it was a displaced fracture (meaning, the bone is separated and not aligned), I followed up my ER visit Saturday with an appointment Tuesday with an orthopedic surgeon. As I suspected from sneaking a peek at the x-rays on Saturday, the orthopedic surgeon has recommended surgery. There is too much displacement (the pieces of bone are too far apart) for a reasonable expectation of the bones healing well on their own.
The best outcome potential is to do the plate-and-screws procedure typical for this sort of fracture. The surgeon will realign the bone, place a stainless steel plate over the fracture and screw the plate in place into the bone on both sides of the fracture. The fracture will then heal normally, strengthening the break to good-as-new status.
(If a collarbone fracture is not displaced, or only slightly displaced, the typical course of action is keeping the arm in a sling and letting the bone heal on its own, which takes 6-8 weeks for most adults. The surgery won’t drastically affect that timetable, but may shortern it a bit.)
Great Lengths for a Helmet Review!
Other than road rash all along my left side, my left hand got chewed up pretty good. My head was fine, and my brand new Lazer Z1 MIPS helmet I was wearing for testing and a product review worked great. It broke up a bit in doing its job – see photo. The way the helmet is broken and marked up from skidding indicates that I laid the bike down, impacting and sliding so that the top, back of my left shoulder thumped against the pavement, and the left, top, back portion of the helmet followed as I skidded feet first.
My buddy Bill was right behind me when the crash happened and said my head hit the pavement pretty hard. I had zero head trauma, though. No headache, nothing. (The lengths I won’t go to for a review!)
Seriously, and obviously, had I not been wearing a helmet, I likely would not be sitting here writing this today. My crash is yet another endorsement of the value of wearing a helmet on the road at all times. I’ll finish up the review of the Lazer Z1 MIPS helmet soon (along with the aftermarket LifeBEAM HR sensor that Lazer will sell soon that fits into many of its helmets, the Z1 included.)
And what kind of bike-loving roadie would I be if I didn’t also update you on the status of my bike. It came out relatively unscathed, it appears. Both shifters got scraped up (the front wheel somehow “rolled over” from left to right, thus gouging both sides a bit), the rear QR lever got pretty scratched up, and the left pedal did a bit, too. That seems to be about it; I did an excellent job protecting my bike from the road by keeping my body mostly between bike and road! I’ll take the bike in to my LBS soon for a thorough evaluation, though, just to make sure there’s not hidden frame damage, etc.
Next Up, Surgery – Thus, No Newsletter Next Week
Surgery will take place next Wednesday, the 27th. Because of the timing, a day before Newsletter day, I will not be publishing an issue next week. (I was mentally fuzzy from the pain meds post-crash; I don’t think you want me “writing under the influence” of whatever post-surgery drugs I’m on!).
That said, I’ve already started to work on the May 5 issue, so we’ll be back at it with a new issue then. Meantime, take the week to tool around the site, catch up on past issues – or go on an extra-long ride next Thursday!
The surgery is an out-patient procedure. The worst part is, no trainer riding, even, till the incision (6-8 inches) is fully healed. That’s 2-3 weeks. Another 4-6 weeks before returning to the road. So ride some for me, please!
I will, of course, use this experience as fodder for more stories about clavicle fractures (turns out, many of our contributors have suffered the injury in the past, as you might suspect among a group of experienced roadies), surgery, recovery and getting back on the road – as well as the Z1 MIPS helmet review – in the weeks and months to come.
Perhaps the biggest bummer of this happening now is that I was starting to ramp up training for a July ride across Wyoming, on which I’ll be joined by 4 buddies. Getting as ready as possible for that post-surgery will be my motivation. And, as another friend pointed out yesterday: “Just think what great shape you’ll be in after a week’s training in Wyoming.” I like the thought of that!
We’ll see you again on May 5. And keep the rubber side down!
John Marsh is the editor and publisher of RBR Newsletter and RoadBikeRider.com. A rider of “less than podium” talent, he sees himself as RBR’s Ringmaster, guiding the real talent (RBR’s great coaches, contributors and authors) in bringing our readers consistently useful, informative, entertaining info that helps make them better road cyclists. That’s what we’re all about here—always have been, always will be. Click to read John’s full bio.