I’m going to start this email with the end: the Aggies are the 2009 SCCCCCCCC Track Champions! We brought out 12 of the 19 racers on satursay, many of whom had never raced on a velodrome before. Weather was great (even for Houston), and it looked to be an awesome day.
Racing was kicked off with the team sprint–3 man teams, where we all start from a holding position. It’s a 3 lap sprint, where the leader pulls off each successive lap. Our team of myself, hagasita, asnd herc (we called ourselves 2 and a half men) won by 3 seconds at a time of 1:14. I don’t recall the finishes of the other teams (there were so many of us!).
Next up was the flying 200m TT. I was just a few minutes from my start, rolling around in the warmup circle and reached down to tighten my shoe. Since the pedals don’t stop moving, it’s a timing issue to catch it when it comes around. I got it, but when I started to pull my hand back up, I got my fingers in the spokes (the short wheelbase of track bikes causes the front of the shoe and the back of the wheel to overlap by an inch or so, so I was really close). I was only going 8-10 mph, but it pulled my hand up into the back of the fork. Well, it didn’t fit so great. There is now tire burn on the inside of the fork where my hand pushed the wheel to the side, as well as blood on the fork, wheel, and a bent spoke. Since my front wheel stopped moving so quickly and I was leaning forward, I flipped over instantly. Luckily I know how to crash gracefully, and managed to roll out of it and even kept the bike from hitting the ground by holding it above me. I didn’t hit my head.
As always, I popped up, embarassed. I couldn’t understand why there was so much blood, though. I saw it coming out of a hole in my left glove, so I pulled it of and saw bone. Blood was pumping from it fast–turns out I had severed the artery that runs to the pinky/ring finger. I started running over to everyone else to get help (taking my bike of course…).
Izzy from U of H was right there and knew what to do. He sat me down, grabbed my arm hard at the bicep and wrist and lifted it over my head, and the bleeding slowed down pretty quickly. Lee was running to get the van, and Izzy started walking me out of the velodrome. I was fighting off the dizziness, and trying to explain to him that I was about to pass out because I don’t handle injuries like this well. I only know this because he told me, but apparently I started to pass out and he was the only one walking with me at the time, so he slapped my face really hard. It worked long enough to get more people over. The next thing I remember is being carried, thern set down on a truck bed as Lee brought the van around. They put me in the back seat of the van, and Elizabeth jumped in to take over the duty of stopping the blood loss. I was in a semi-conscious state by this time, and was able to thank Izzy for his help and tell people where my wallet was (they had the presence of mind to ask).
On the drive to the hospital, I somehow had a pretty good sense of humor to keep Elizabeth from getting too freaked out. We were sharing/alternating arm-squeezing duty beecause our hands were tired, and I was commenting on how cyclists always have to take care of the bike, and that I would have won the race, and the sequence of thoughts that ran through my mind when I pulled the glove off. The shock and adrenaline were wearing off, and it was beginning to hurt. My hand was starting to fall asleep from the reduced blood flow, but my fingers were holding color alright. I could still wiggle and feel my finger, though, so I wasn’t feaking out.
We finally got there, and everything went smoothly (thanks to the info sheet in my wallet) although not as quickly as i would have liked. I don’t know what possessed her to do this, but the woman that took my vitals made an incredibly tacky amputation joke! I snapped back, “We’re going to leave the finger, thanks.”
I had several bouts of nausea/dizziness as we took x-rays, etc. Very fortunately, they found no bone or tendon damage, so I would only need stitches.
The guy working on me waited when I asked him to. i thought it was a terribly ironic way to finally get up to date on my tetanus booster…. I was very fidgety and shaky as the pain intensified, waiting for the vicoden to kick in. I also did fine with the local numbing, and the stitching wasn’t too bad because I wasn’t looking, could barely feel it, ans made a concerted effort to carry on a conversation with Lee and Elizabeth. I got 7 stitches, in an inch-long u-shape across my pinky knuckle. I have to wear a splint to immobilize the finger for a few days, since the knuckle skin stretches when the finger moves. it’s making it tough to type–properly with my right hand, and hunt/peck with my left index. So much slower, in fact, that I’m not editing my emails any more for typos. Sorry!
I’ve certainly played the what-if game…but I’m very fortunate that it wasn’t worse. I offered to buy izzy a new jersey, since I bled on him a bit, but he said he’d rsther keep it and tease me about it.
The team carried on the rest of the day in the domination, and I was there screaming my head off in support. Herc was once again a selfless teammate to help Shane cement himself as our Track conference chsampion! Whoop!
Pictures of the carnage on my facebook, for those so inclined….
Chad “well, I was scared of needles” Haga