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Bike Crashes; If You Ride Long Enough....


The author with three elated 2016 finishers

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do." 

                                                                               H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
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Low back pain, pretty common in our group, is often treated with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, a skeletal muscle relaxant and a narcotic pain killer.  A recent study published in JAMA with 323 patients who suffered acute, non-traumatic (nonradicular) low back pain found that adding the muscle relaxant and/or oxycodone to the NSAID naproxen alone "did not improve functional outcomes or pain at 7 days' follow up."  

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       "A high school runner in Whitely County, KY was set to compete in a regional cross country meet when she was assigned the bib number 666, "the number of the beast" according to the Bible.  Thacker and her coach appealed unsuccessfully for a new number, so she decided not to race.  "I didn't want to risk my relationship with God," she said.  Sports Illustrated

        In contrast, I was issued race number 666 for an early summer triathlon in Virginia Beach a couple years ago,  prominently displayed on both arms, legs and hands following body marking.  It was a beautiful day to race, hot and sunny, leading to a tad of sunburn in most competitors. I was even lucky enough to win my age group so I might have stayed outside at the post-race party a little longer than usual. Later that day, when showering at home, washing off my race numbers, I learned that heavy Sharpie use works as an excellent sunblock.  Quite tanned from the race, I had noticeably white 666's on both arms, legs and hands, a fact that was pointed out to me repeatedly over the next couple days at the pool!  I wonder if it played a role in my performance.


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Have you ever had a bike crash that required medical attention?

This is a question we put to to the athletes who passed by our questioner following bike check in Kailua-Kona, HI for the 2015 event


Before sun up, a few last minute adjustments

I wondered what I'd find out if I polled the athletes at the top of our sport, mostly age groupers like you and me, about bike crashing.  I've written here before about it as the wider my circle grows the more this topic comes up.  It's hard these days to watch a single stage of a pro bike race or talk up tri at the local pool when somebody doesn't walk in with a swath of road rash running down their leg or shoulder.  Or how about your buddy with the femur fracture following a mountain bike accident?  In my Sunday bike group alone, over the course of several years we've had a hip fracture with surgery, facial fracture with broken jaw during an IM,  and a pelvic fracture mountain biking requiring hip replacement. Oh, and before I joined them, one guy tried to Evil Knievel his way up a ramp.  Bad news though, the bike just stopped and my friend broke his neck. Fortunately, no surgery was required and he's back riding.  

Of the 215 athletes in Hawaii who answered the poll, almost half admitted to serious bike crashes.  Of 149 men, 72 said yes.  And of 66 women, 28 had required a visit to the doctor or hospital.  Of these 72 men who were told to seek further medical treatment, not all did. Surprised?  No, probably not.  But, all 28 of 28 women in our survey who were advised further treatment did so.  One woman claimed 35 accidents.  That, to me, is long past time to find a new sport.

In short, approximately 48% of responders crashed hard enough that at least one care giver felt medical treatment was in order.  To me, this is pretty concerning. I believe we as a group need to be a little more attentive to the potential for injury when we ride becoming a little more selective about the riding surface, surroundings, fellow bikers bike handling skills, you name it to try and get this number to drop precipitously.


We all know someone seriously injured or killed on a bike. Sadly, some of us more than one! Make your Spring resolution one where you will assume further responsibility for your own personal bike safety.  If you need to stay home or ride indoors because of questionable riding surface conditions or it's just too dark with too many cars then so be it.  Better to alter your training...and still be able to train than the opposite.



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