|Helmet took a beating|
With all of the riding that I've done though over the years, I really didn't have any good helmet saved me stories. For the most part, I'd had few major crashes in my life. Most were minor and involved bumps, bruises or skin loss. Never a broken bone, save the broken collar bone as a kid from when I popped the chain in a sprint and went over the bars. No helmet then.
|Worse than it looks|
The season started well and had some solid high points. It also had some pretty low, low points. Less than a week before I'd crashed fairly hard at a race in a start sprint mishap and sprained my ankle. It was feeling better but the incident shook me. I was really embarrassed and disappointed at myself and was looking for some long lost redemption, remaining hopeful that I could come back for the end of the season.
Back to the ride, I was just about finished, riding back on RT225 toward the Bedford town line. I decided to go for one more interval, the town line sprint, just to see what kind of power I could generate. I came in moderately fast and stood to sprint the final 50m before the Bedford town sign. A car had been coming up behind me so I stayed as far to the right as possible, slightly in the shoulder. The car never passed as I was going over 30mph but I could sense it was still just over my left shoulder, behind me.
Almost before I knew it, I saw a fallen tree limb cantilevered off the guardrail hanging out across the shoulder and into the lane, just about handlebar height. I moved left as much as I could without moving into the car's path, ducked and braced. That was the last thing I recall until I was sitting on the guardrail with the Carlisle PD and EMT squad tending to me. I don't remember hitting the limb, or the pavement or anything else. I do have vague, almost 3rd person recollection of the limb snagging the bike and ripping it out from in under me. Nothing after that though.
|The face wasn't much to start with|
Yes, getting back to my helmet, the whole topic here. Inspection of the helmet revealed that it suffered a pretty dramatic series of hits and completely crushed, limiting the impact it transferred to my head. Looks like the initial hit, the knockout blow if you will, was to the very back left. That region of the helmet was fully crushed and the helmet's internal "roll-cage" supports were exposed. The sides had also cracked, the head strap which provides fit and support had ripped it's molded anchors from within the foam and the back and sides had scars from pavement scraping. Basically, it looked like someone laid it on the ground and jumped up and down on it. Physically intact for the most part but structurally totaled, which was what it was designed to do.
|Looking like a side of beef|
So, there you have it. What was supposed to be a nice easy lunch ride on locals roads I've ridden hundreds of times turned into a relatively severe and at the very least, race season ending incident. My left hip was a mess and apparently, took a pretty good hit judging from the hematoma that developed. It is almost gone now, four weeks later, and the excessive bruising in most of the leg is virtually all gone. The cuts on my face have mostly healed as have to other peripheral spots of road rash and my head is fine, sort of.
To close this, I won't say that everyone should wear a helmet. It's your choice, it's your body. I believe in that sentiment across the boards and that the government has no business infringing on your personal freedom to be stupid, be it with helmets, seat belts, or anything else. You make the choices and you have to live with the consequences. I'm a big believer in Darwinism and that society shouldn't tamper with that. That said, I'm going to continue to wear a helmet, and glasses (which likely saved my right eye). Also, having a RoadID and actually wearing it is always a good idea. I didn't have mine on and was lucky to come to and remember who I was.
Be safe and have a great Christmas. I'm already planning my return for next year, once the holidays are done that is. There is much frustration and angst to be taken out on the pedals. Much angst.