Doing it all the hard way...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blood on the Highway..

(Additional lyrics by J. Browne and G. Frey)

Don't try this at home kids..

Despite my nearly Jesuit-like training in topic sentences, today I don’t make my point until the end of the post.

This past weekend saw Evo and Hottie journey to the suburbs of Elma for the State TTT championship. Evo is still nursing cracked ribs from a crash at the Mountains to Sound multisport relay. The team did well and Hottie got some great pictures. This is for informational purposes only, I am just setting the stage.

While Hottie was shooting, Tux and I were relaxing when a car pulled up and said there was a crash down the road and the riders needed help. Tux the wonder dog and I jumped in the war wagon and zipped south looking for the downed riders.

I came upon four Cycle University riders laying/sitting in the ditch by the side of the road. When I stopped only two of them sat up. Their bikes were also lying in the ditch. Although all had some level of scrapes and torn clothing, two were clearly worse off than their teammates.

Of the two that were bad off, one rider had the classic posture of a broken collarbone. He was pale and quiet. Even my outdated First Aid training told me he was the one to watch. The other looked like he was going to a Halloween party as he had blood everywhere; but his cuts were real. Because it makes me squeamish to recall it, I won’t paint you any more of the picture than I already have. The guy with all of the cuts was talkative and appeared to be a strong fellow who was experienced with pain. My own experience with pain told me both of these guys were potential shock victims and in need of help.

With nobody else around I decided to take the two bad guys and their bikes to the start/finish area to get some help. As I was putting their bikes on the roof rack a first responder showed up and after the six of us had a brief discussion, he called for an ambulance for the broken collarbone guy. I decided to take the cut guy and one of the better off guys back so the better off guy could drive to the scene and get the remaining bikes and assuming the ambulance took the collarbone fellow, the remaining rider. It turned out all four bikes were unridible.

The drive back to the start/finish area went quick and when the better off guys started a sentence with the words, “Well, one consolation is…” The bloody guy cut him off and said firmly, “There is no consolation today.” He was sitting awkwardly to avoid getting blood on the car. I tried to think of a bright side and finally concluded there was none. I called ahead to one of our TTT riders who is a darn fine Doctor so he was waiting and attended to the bloody mess I brought there. Another Cycle U team had just finished, and with enough minds and bodies to help, I was able to step out of the picture.

As I was leaving the start/finish area to return to Hottie she called and said a team had reported another crash and asked her to call an ambulance. She called 911 and after some characteristic missteps, two ambulances sped to the fallen riders. We had no official capacity at the race, yet if we had not been where we were, things could have gotten ugly.

This morning I received an email survey asking me about my Mountains to Sound relay experience. That event and this had something in common. No clear methodology to deal with accidents. If you pay money to participate in any non Randonneuring event there should be a number to call, someone on the course, a nurse, a doctor, an EMT, something for Pete’s sake.

I will admit that despite being my Mother’s child, I almost never read the fine print. If there had been an emergency number I would have ignored it, but I would take responsibility for that. Having nothing was pretty poor and I expect race promoters to do better.

Jumping back to being my mother’s child, I do ride with my Road ID pretty much all the time. I wore it for Davis and TdB and anytime I am not riding with Hottie. It won’t call for an ambulance or anything, but if anyone can think of a reason not to wear one of these, let me know and we can start a loud argument.

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