All good things
All good things
It's been a while since my accident, but I've only the motivation to talk about it recently.
On August 31st I was in the middle of a multi-day group ride into Oregon when I failed to negotiate a right turn properly and committed one of the great motorcycle sins and crossed the double yellow line.
We were at the end of the day, and close to our hotel in prospect. The road was a beautiful back road 2 lane affair with some pretty tight turns. I don't really think that I was going all that fast. Unfortunately, as I entered the right turn I caught an eyeful of a truck in the oncoming lane that I began to fixate on. My bike stood up and entered the opposite lane. I had very little time to decide what to do.
For some reason (and obviously I didn't dwell on this decision very long) I decided that I had a better chance using the opposite shoulder and going around the truck on the passenger side. Ironically, the investigating office later told me that this probably saved my life. Was it the best decision? I have no idea, this happened so fast and there were so many variables that I'll never know.
I swore as the Vstrom's front end exploded on the trucks front passenger side. Exploding pain immediately filled my body and I was thrown from the bike.
From this point on, I became the luckiest man in the world.
The initial impact and fall had just broken my right lower leg and right arm, but did no damage to my pelvis, spine, or head.
I landed down the road embankment, about 20 feet from the road surface. If I had been tossed 10 feet sooner or later the drop would have been 50 feet or more.
I landed in the only area without rocks. I landed on a soft bush. The heaviest bleeding from my leg was limited by the fact that I landed mostly upside down, feet towards to the road.
My fellow riders came to my aid within 30 seconds. I have no words to express the gratitude I have for these men and their caring and friendship. These guys kept me calm and 40 minutes later, carried me out with the emergency responders.
I helicoptered to Rouge Valley medical center, where 6+ hours of surgery put my right arm and leg back together. Unfortunately, we also discovered that I tore the ACL, PCL, & the MCL in my left leg as well. So that makes for 3 broken limbs on this bill.
I had a lot of feelings that day. My wife was 8 months pregnant at the time, and I was initially terrified that I would not be around for my kids. Yes, I know what a lot of you are thinking: that I shouldn't have attempted a long trip so close to the the delivery, but it's a long story and my wife was fine with it (my wife is awesome). I hadn't fully grasped the long road that was in front of me. Now, 50 days later, I'm still staring at a long road and now I get it. Crashing sucks.
Several days later I returned home via medical air transport and spent the next month or so in between 2 hospitals, and 2 nursing facilities.
I had two more surgeries to finish the repair on my legs. The good news is that the doctors expect that I will fully recover. I should be able to start learning to walk again in a month or so, my goal is to be able to return to work by New Years.
But in regards to the title, obviously this accident had drastically changed my life. I have loved, obsessed, and ridden motorcycles for 10 years. As soon as I hit the ground I knew that my riding career was over. I was terrified that I would not see my kids grow up, and I never wanted to feel that way again.
I will always miss riding, but in the end I can't put my wife through this again (not to mention my kids will be old enough to understand very soon). After 10 years, I have no idea how to live without it.
I wish the best of luck to those of you who still ride, I will always watch with envy.