Archive for April, 2009

Biking Without Training Wheels

April 17, 2009 7:04 pm
Biking Without Training Wheels

Since my cycling injury, my biking has been confined to the bike trainer.  At a follow-up appointment today with the orthopedic surgeon, who is also a sports medicine doctor, I was given the clearance to start to run and bike, as long as I used the splint.  I am lucky that I did not need a cast and even more lucky that no surgery was required.

At the emergency room they used a simple splint after finding the fracture in my left thumb, but the following day when I visited the orthopedic surgeon, he made a new splint.  It is kind of a neat process.  It looks like a pad of cloth with some foam on one side.   After cutting it to fit my hand, he got it wet, then wrapped it around my hand and thumb to form fit.  Then to hold it in place, he wrapped in in gaze.  It is much better for  me than a cast because I can unwrap it and remove it if I need to.

At today’s visit he remove the splint to examine my hand and then used the same splint, wrapping it this time in an ace bandage.  He said this type of splint is bullet proof and some have even used it when playing football.  This image shows the splint on my left hand wrapped in the bandage.

This afternoon we went out for the first time on a bike.  I was hesitant to use a road bike because of the need to brake and shift with the left hand so I went on my mountain bike instead, and Anne went on her road bike.  We only went 20 miles, but that seemed like a long ways on a mountain bike.  We had a nice tail wind coming back home, getting our speed up to 24 mph.  That is rather fast for a mountain bike.  I think I will put my slick tires on my mountain bike and use it for now to ride outside in keep the road bike on the trainer.  I can still use my left fingers (to do things like type this blog) and to get a little grip on the handlebars, but most of the stability comes from my right hand.

I had another xray to day also and the doctor called and said it looked fine and to just come back and see him in 5 weeks.  I need to keep using the splint for that entire time. This is the splint itself, with the ace bandage removed.

I am real happy to be biking again but I hesitate to use the tandem while I need to use the splint, so it is single bikes for awhile. Although I am not so excited about the splint for another 5 weeks, there is one good thing. My left hand now has a palm rest when I am typing.

Back in the Saddle Again – Kinda

April 14, 2009 12:50 pm
Back in the Saddle Again - Kinda

It was a beautiful day today, a bit on the cool side but sunny and clear.  Normally I would be out for a bike ride, or maybe a run, but instead I was on the bike trainer.  I hate the trainer and find it more boring than the treadmill.  It is usually something I do only when it is cold and raining or snowing outside and I can not safely bike.  But I can’t bike on the road right now.  You might be able to guess why by looking at this photo.


That photo insert in the lower right shows what I looked like 6 days ago.  It all started with my night ride up Henry Coe a few of us do on Wednesday evening.  As usual, we started out at 5:15 pm from Chuck’s house and after a short while we were climbing.  After riding two double centuries already this year, I was finally starting to feel in shape, enough so that I went ahead of the others on the climb.  I was at the regroup area, about half way up for awhile while the rest of the group arrived.  As we were waiting for everyone to get ready to ride again, a couple of young riders whipped by us on the climb.  I thought at the time that they were sure moving fast and figured it was because they were young.

Again I started to go ahead of the others in our group and soon started to gain on one of the two younger riders.  I guess he  was not going as fast as I had thought.  After passing him, I was wondering if I could catch the other young rider, so I charged ahead.  Well before the top I caught him.  He stayed on my wheel for the rest of the climb, only going ahead at the very top.  I was happy enough with that.

We got dressed into warmer clothes before the descent and then headed down.  I again went ahead of the rest of the group because I wanted to get down before it got dark since I had not brought a light.  I remember that I might be descending too fast since I did not see the others behind me, but I felt confident I was in control.  I made it down the entire hill without any problem.

I was now coasting on the flatter section at the bottom and approaching the turn.  I saw an arrow painted on the road, showing the turn for the Tierra Bella Century coming up. I thought for awhile to go all the way to Hill Road to see if they marked it right for the turn, but made a last minute decision to turn right and take the short cut over to Hill Road.  That was a mistake I wish I had not made.

I know that short cut road has gravel and I didn’t think I was going that fast, but somehow I misjudged things and knew I was going down.  I don’t recall hitting the ground exactly, which might be a good thing.  My glasses were off and I saw they had broken, leaving the side piece still stuck over my right ear.  I went to remove it and then saw the blood on my glove.  I figured the glasses had broke upon impact with the ground and I had cut my face.

I felt a bit stunned but decided I could bike.  I checked the wheel rotation before mounting and could see that the front wheel was not rotating because the brake had moved over against the wheel.  I had a hard time moving the brake back center because my left hand was hurting.  I don’t recall much after that and I don’t remember riding the mile or so back to the car.  I do remember putting my bike on the top rack and the others in the group were then with me.  I went into Chuck’s house to wash up, but not until Chuck took my picture (see above).

I knew I must have hit my head since I did not have a clear memory so I decided to call Ann to come get me instead of taking a risk of driving.  She was there within 20 minutes and we decided since it was late now, about 8:30 pm, it was best we went to the emergency room to get checked out.

It was a bit difficult to change into those wonderful gowns they have and I could see some road rash on my right side, but not too bad.  I had some on my right shoulder, exactly in the same spot where twice before I had had some injury.  I guess I fall on my right side all the time.  I was not sure why my left hand was hurting if I fell on my ride side.

The doctor decided to do a CAT scan and also x-ray on my left hand.  I was worried what the CAT scan might find.  Hey, maybe they would find out that I was really an alien or something from outer space.  While I was waiting for those results another doctor stitched up my cut over my right eye.  I didn’t feel much pain, except the left hand.

The results were in and CAT scan did not show any problem but the left hand had fractured so they put a splint on in.  After getting some bandages on some of my other wounds and some cleanup of the road rash, we were finally out the door, around midnight.

The next day I decided to call the orthopedic surgeon they had recommended I see, but we had no communications in the area since someone had cut the fiber optic cable.  No phone, no cell phone, no internet.  We drove over to the address on the card they gave me but the doctor had moved to Morgan Hill so we drove up there.  I was able to get an appointment later that day.  But I realized that without the internet the doctor could not access the x-ray they had taken, so we drove back down the the ER to get the films, then back to Morgan Hill.

The orthopedic surgeon looked at the file and said the good news was that I probably did not need surgery.  He put on a new splint, a much nicer one that almost fits like a cast, and wrapped the hand up.  I scheduled an appointment to see him in a week.  I did ask him about biking and he said if I was okay to bike with a splint, after a couple weeks it would be okay for me to get back on the bike.

A day later I had the courage to look at the data from my heart rate monitor.  I could see that I had stopped a bit less than 6 minutes after I crashed until I was back on the bike.  I assume the others in the group had came upon me and road with me to the car, but frankly I can remember.  Looking at the data, I could see it took me 6 minutes to ride the 1 mile back to the car.


Last Saturday was the Tierra Bella Worker’s ride. Anne and I had planned to ride the 100 mile route on the tandem and then go to the picnic.  I thought about just driving to the picnic, but I didn’t like that idea, so I got on my mountain bike, and Anne on her road bike, and I biked one handed over the 3 miles to enjoy the picnic.

Yesterday I finally had the courage to go look at my road bike.  The right brake lever had rotated around upon impact so I fixed that. Then I saw that the left aero bar had also rotated and the ends of both aero bars were scrapped up.  I adjusted the aero bars back.  Actually last Wednesday I had decided to take the aero bars off since I would not be doing any more time trials or double centuries for awhile, but with the left hand in a splint, they are going to come in handy.  So today I put the bike on the trainer and got in over an hour of training.  Did I already say I hate the bike trainer?