Monday, August 29, 2011

Hating the taste of pavement...

Every journey that we embark on in life has its ups and downs, and at the moment, I am experiencing "a down". As irony would have it, I escpaed unscathed from my race in Kelowna this year, only to crash less than one week later. Yes, unfortunately, on Saturday, while I was out for a training ride, I crashed. Quite royally in fact. I was bombing downhill on Guelph Line heading into the Lowville Park area when an impatient car in the other lane, heading in the opposite direction of traffic decided that he would swerve into my lane, to try and get around that slow moving vehicle holding him up. Well he either didn't see me coming, or didn't care, but I panicked, and instinct had me hitting my brakes hard. I was on my TT bike, since I wanted to test ride it this week heading into Hy-vee (a non-drafting race), but TT bikes don't handle as well as road bikes, and your weight is also distributed more heavily over the front end of the bike.

As soon as I hit the brakes, I went flying head over heels over my handle bars at quite a high speed. As a former gymnast, I've experienced some nasty falls, and I believe that those falls taught me how to protect my head and face on Saturday. I don't know exactly how far I flew, but it felt far, and I tumbled a couple of times before coming to a stop. I went into shock immediately as I was skidding across the pavement, and I do remember screaming and crying, but I don't remember the first man who stopped to help me. I remember Mike asking me questions and trying to calm me down when he arrived "on the scene" less than a minute or so later. I just remember cradling my right elbow and shoulder, because those felt like they might be broken. Then I started to see blood on various parts of my body when Ming arrived and squatted beside me trying to stop the bleeding from my left knee.

The first time I rode in the back of an ambulance was in 2008 after being hit by a car. I guess I went for a short ride in one in Kelowna last year too, but I wasn't in a stretcher, so that doesn't really count. I was not a happy camper to be in the back of an ambulance again on Saturday. After being in the hospital for more than 6 hours on Saturday, I was happy to learn after 15 x-rays, that I hadn't broken a single bone! My gymnastics coach always said that I had bones that "were tougher than nails". I did however get an IV for some pain  medication before the nurses even would attempt to clean the debris from the road rash that covers my upper back, shoulders, side, stomach, elbows, knees,etc. Some of the wounds were too deep to suture, as you could see adipose tissue, so I was essentially wrapped up like a football player on the top half of my body, like a boxer on my left hand, and like a mummy everywhere else.

I've been on an emotional roller coaster the past couple of days, because I know that I am extremely fortunate that this accident wasn't a LOT worse. I know that, but I couldn't help but break down in the hospital thinking about the races I'm going to miss, and when I was standing at home still in my hospital gown while Ming went to fill my prescriptions and buy medical supplies, and I couldn't move in the slightest bit to take it off. The physical pain is bad, but it's not as bad as the mental blows that you take when you can't dress yourself, or run a brush through your hair, or pet or play with your dogs because they might hit your wounds.

Obviously, I won't be racing Hy-vee this coming weekend, but I'm going to take this one day at a time, and hopefully I will come back sooner than expected and be back training and racing soon. As the saying goes, "whatever doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger." Let's hope I come back like a tank!

A special thank you to all my supporters through this setback.


  1. That sounds like a horrible tumble! I hope you feel better soon, you're very lucky!

  2. Leanna ... I only caught a bit of the story at workout last night as Ming was relating it. I'm so sorry to hear about it. It's wonderful there are no breaks, and I pray no tears. 4 years ago I had a terrible bike accident & tore everything on the left side of my body. It was a full year before I could begin serious running/training. But you're younger & fitter ... you'll heal ... but you must take it slowly

  3. I have no doubt you'll 'come back as a tank' Leanna!! Wishing you a speedy recovery. You'll be back and better than ever in no time, I just know it. D :)

  4. Hi Leanna,
    So happy to hear that you are back in the saddle!
    Good luck with the training, and we are both so jealous of you being in the sunshine.
    Hugs from Margaret & Peter