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Dis-appointment

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Dis-appointment

Old 10-16-13, 05:26 PM
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blt
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Dis-appointment

Iíve been counting down the days and hours until I would get x-rays on my right hand to see if my 5th metacarpal is healed enough to stay out of a cast and have 2 pins pulled, which pins were put in during surgery on September 7 to repair the open fracture I sustained in a slow fall. So after I locked the door to the house this morning but before I got in the car, I got a call that the doctor is out sick and I have to wait another 49 hours. ARRRRGGHH! I want the cast off. I REALLY want the pins out. I never realized this, but I assume the word disappointment comes from how you feel when an appointment is postponed. Instead of pulling what's left of my hair out, Iím venting by posting here.

Since Iím already bothering to type with one hand (the good news is Iím left handed, and I've had 5 1/2 weeks of practice typing one handed), Iíll ask a question that probably has no good answer. Whatís the best way for us old, fragile 50+ people to deal with a slow fall? I took a u-turn a little tight on my road bike. Would have been fine except the intersection was kind of gravelly. Realized I was going down to the left, tried to unclip, but realized it wasnít happening fast enough. Thought, ok, just take it, donít stick out that left hand and break a collar bone or anything. So I tried to hold on and just take it.

Somehow, however, after first hitting the fleshy side of my left shoulder as I was hoping, enough to cause a little redness but nothing worse, my upper body pivoted and my left knee, my left hand, my chin, and my right hand all hit pavement kind of hard. Left knee, a little road rash and a bruised kneecap, nothing I canít deal with. Left hand, hit the palm, completely protected by the glove, very slightly sore, nothing else. Chin, no blood, no damage beyond mild soreness/bruise that was gone within a few days.

I didnít even realize at first that there was damage to the right hand. Got on the bike, then noticed I couldnít straighten the right pinky, and then noticed there was throbbing on the side of the hand. Couldnít get the glove off easily, so went home to do it VERY slowly or cut it off. Got it off slowly. Didnít notice the little hole in the back of the glove where the bone had come through not only flesh but glove. Fortunately, the bone went back in, so I didnít have that obvious sign of a problem, but the hand looked deformed enough I knew I was in for it. I must have karate chopped the pavement or something.

So, once I knew I was going down, could I have done anything differently to reduce the possibility of damage? Or did I just get unlucky?

And if any of you have pull with the powers that be, do what you can so my rescheduled Friday appointment does not get postponed. Thanks.
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Old 10-16-13, 05:32 PM
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I was taught to tuck and roll.

Never let go of your bars,. never stick your arm out.

Four crashes and it has worked.
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Old 10-16-13, 05:46 PM
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With my slow-mo dumbs I have held on to the bars and wound up looking like the proverbial road-kill armadillo that we often see here in FL. On back with bike up in air. Another lucky geezer.

Believing in myself is all I need so no connections here, but good luck.
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Old 10-16-13, 05:58 PM
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Balance exercises as well as core strength are your friends. Yoga, dance, cross-country skiing, martial arts (avoid the MMA stuff and any group that is in love with sparring) and lots of abdominal work. When you need to contort a bit to keep the padded parts down, it's a combination of balance and the strength of the central body that comes into play.
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Old 10-16-13, 07:49 PM
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Stepfamily needs to chime in.

#stapfam

^^^I don't know if/how that works.

Anyway, IIRC he actually practices falling on occasion. They say you should hold onto the handlebars as you fall, and if you're lucky the bars will absorb at least some of the impact.

Fortunately my falls as of late have been on soft surfaces.
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Old 10-16-13, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
Stepfamily needs to chime in.

#stapfam

^^^I don't know if/how that works.

Anyway, IIRC he actually practices falling on occasion. They say you should hold onto the handlebars as you fall, and if you're lucky the bars will absorb at least some of the impact.

Fortunately my falls as of late have been on soft surfaces.
I thought the reason you hold onto your handlebars to protect them from skuffing your handlebar tape.

Sure sounds to me like a pretty serious injury to have resulted from such a slow speed fall. Hope your hand is OK.
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Old 10-16-13, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
Stepfamily needs to chime in.

#stapfam

^^^I don't know if/how that works.

Anyway, IIRC he actually practices falling on occasion. They say you should hold onto the handlebars as you fall, and if you're lucky the bars will absorb at least some of the impact.

Fortunately my falls as of late have been on soft surfaces.
Some friends of mine had a blowout on an in-line quad while descending at speed (the only way that thing ever descended). At some point after the rear wheel had passed the captain, they all went down in a flurry of sparks. Two of the stokers held tight to their handlebars in spite of the fact that the bars did not remain attached to the bike. There wasn't much left of those bars and I hate to think of what would have happened to their hands/arms if they hadn't had the bars to ride the asphalt with.

For some reason, the owner and builder of this fine machine hung it up on his living room wall that night and hasn't allowed it to be ridden since; that was over twenty years ago. (I did hear a rumor last year that one of his sons was looking into putting it back on the road.)
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Old 10-16-13, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I thought the reason you hold onto your handlebars to protect them from skuffing your handlebar tape.


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Old 10-17-13, 06:16 AM
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If you know you are going over- Tuck in the head- and keep hands on the bars and feet on the pedals. May bruise a bit and depending on speed- some blood may occur.

Most of my falls- In fact all of them- have been on the mountain bike and mostly at speed downhill. I knew nothing about most of them till I found the bike on top of me and something somewhere hurts. In that situation it has been get out of the pedals and carefully move the bits that hurt. If they don't hurt more then get up and inspect the bike- Helmet and clothing in that order. Gotta Get the priorities right.
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Old 10-17-13, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
Most of my falls- In fact all of them- have been on the mountain bike and mostly at speed downhill. I knew nothing about most of them till I found the bike on top of me and something somewhere hurts. In that situation it has been get out of the pedals and carefully move the bits that hurt. If they don't hurt more then get up and inspect the bike- Helmet and clothing in that order. Gotta Get the priorities right.
That's assuming you're able to get up. I've had a couple where that wasn't happening.
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Old 10-17-13, 06:41 AM
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I've only had a couple of serious falls, and in both cases, it was wholly a matter of instinct and physics. I didn't have time to let go of the handlebars or take any kind of evasive action whatsoever. I was a ballistic particle.

I had a nasty break of my pinky finger playing basketball years ago, and the result was a full hand cast. I was going nuts not being able to ride my bike, until I talked the doc into letting me ride with aerobars. As long as I stayed on the flats and took it easy, I could brake well enough to stop.
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Old 10-17-13, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
If you know you are going over- Tuck in the head- and keep hands on the bars and feet on the pedals. May bruise a bit and depending on speed- some blood may occur.

Most of my falls- In fact all of them- have been on the mountain bike and mostly at speed downhill. I knew nothing about most of them till I found the bike on top of me and something somewhere hurts. In that situation it has been get out of the pedals and carefully move the bits that hurt. If they don't hurt more then get up and inspect the bike- Helmet and clothing in that order. Gotta Get the priorities right.
From your reply and others, sounds like perhaps the mistake I made was not just focusing on "Don't stick that left arm out," but "Keep both hands on bars even after hitting ground until momentum is gone." I am not quite sure how I hit the side of my left shoulder first and then had such a violent collision, but it makes sense that it could have been avoided if the hands stayed on the bars. I'm not sure what momentum would have done then, but certainly my right hand wouldn't have given the pavement a karate chop.

I pretty much followed your steps, I inspected the bits that hurt, then inspected the bike. Didn't think the helmet was hit (and still don't think it was), probably should have checked it immediately anyway. Didn't notice the one problem with the bike until after I got on it -- the handlebars slightly out of true, but not worth fixing until after the short 2 mile ride back home. Only after seeing handlebars out of true did I notice pain in the broken hand.

Since my immediately checking the bits that hurt didn't reveal the serious injury, I would suggest checking even bits that you don't think hurt before inspecting the bike.
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Old 10-17-13, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
I've only had a couple of serious falls, and in both cases, it was wholly a matter of instinct and physics. I didn't have time to let go of the handlebars or take any kind of evasive action whatsoever. I was a ballistic particle.

I had a nasty break of my pinky finger playing basketball years ago, and the result was a full hand cast. I was going nuts not being able to ride my bike, until I talked the doc into letting me ride with aerobars. As long as I stayed on the flats and took it easy, I could brake well enough to stop.
I have been going a little nuts not being able to ride. I had planned to do a 70 mile charity ride this Saturday with some nasty climbs, but even if tomorrow the doc gives me the ok to ride, I'm not sure that 70 mile ride is the best thing after a 6 week layoff, and I doubt he'd approve riding the downhills involved.
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