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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got home from the hospital where I had my right hip bolted back together. In more than thirty years of roadbiking, this is the first time I've gone down hard, at speed.

I was out for a Saturday ride after work, feeling strong, on my usual 20 miler. The first part of the route is a nice wide, straight, quiet road with some rolling hills. I'm blasting along and out of nowhere I get splashed in the face. "Weird", I think and carry on. As I come under the overhang of some trees I suddenly see a swarm of what I thought at first were wasps. Just before I ride facefirst into the swarm I can make out they're gyspy moth caterpillars hanging from their silk threads from the tree branches overhead. Splash in the face again. Then again. And again. Now I've got the buggers crawling on me and flapping in the air behind me in bunches, trailing off me by their threads. I slow down, wipe them off, move out more to the center of the road.

The next couple of miles are mercifully free of the beasts and I'm just getting back into rhythm, riding a smooth flat just before the road kicks up into a short, steep hill. There's a big crack in the pavement here that extends out to the middle of the road. I usually go around if the traffic permits or bunny hop otherwise. I look back to check for cars - one about a 1/4 mile back. Just as I'm turning my head back to the front, Whack! - a big mass of caterpillars hits me. I reach up to wipe off my face and just as my hand leaves the hood the front wheel snaps wildly left and I'm suddenly yawing across the road. I correct but too much. Now I'm swinging with greater wildness the other way. Another attempt and just as I finally find the bar with my right hand I realise this is going to hurt and slap down hard directly on the point of my right hip. I felt the impact and then the slide - mostly on my head. My most distinct memory of the impact itself is the sound the helmet made as my right temple skidded along the pavement.

Now I'm dazed, laying butt up, face down on the center stripe like I'm listening for something underground. I'm just on the blind side of a steep hill and tourists are here in full force driving like nuts and I'm gonna get run over. Oh, and I don't know where the car that was behind me is now. I try crawling off the road but can't support any weight on my right leg. I try log-rolling instead. No go - again, the pain is too much. I lie back to think this out a bit and just then the woman who was driving the car behind me comes up and asks "Are you all right?"

Then there's a bunch of people and in the usual way, discussion starts. I only get snatches of it. "We shouldn't move him." "Get me out of the road." "Do you want an ambulance?" "Can someone get my cell phone out of my jersey pocket?" "Hi Hon, you'll get a call from the hospital shortly. I'm smashed up in the middle of the road. Talk to you later." "Someone put my bike off the road." "I'm a nurse." "EMTs are coming".

In the midst of this the EMTs arrive. They were very quick. A local fellow who says his brother is a serious rider takes my bike in for my wife to pick up later. I don't know him or his brother but what could I do? He was as good as his word and my bike was home in a couple of hours.

I'll skip all the medical stuff that happened over the next several days but wrap it up just by saying I broke the neck of the femur and have three screws, a four inch incision and twenty mean-looking staples for sutures. I've got not too much road rash - right side shoulder, elbow (the worst), hip and knee. I've got a bruise on my right temple from the edge of the helmet foam getting rammed into me. Hey Giro - does that have to be so hard and have such a sharp corner along the edge? I can't complain about the helmet though. Without it, I would have peeled the right side of my face off from crown to chin.

The orthos did some good carpentry and the break seems to be healing well. I'm only five days from the crash as I write this and getting around on crutches effectively and will go back to work next week. One mishap in the hospital left me with a split left brow, eight stitches and an ugly shiner. I was up on crutches day two post-op when I lost blood pressure and tumbled. I crushed a nurse in the fall and planted my face on the tile floor. A reminder to take things a little more slowly during rehab.

The bike? I don't know. My wife says it looks ok but she doesn't really know. I haven't had the chance to look at it yet. Last I remember from the crash it was laying with the drive train in deep sand on the side of the road. I'll do a tech autopsy and report back when I can get around a bit better.
 

· It's a Sledgehammer
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I was out last night and was amazed at how many of those catapillars are on the road and dropping from the trees. I had to stop & pull about a dozen out of my hair (yeah, with a helmet on). The pop when you roll over them, gross.

Sorry about your crash. Hope you heal fast
 

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Wow, what a story. Crash stories always fascinate me in a goulish sort of way, knowing full well that, but for the grace of G_D, there go I. Good luck in your healing. Where are you that you have so many gypsy moths active? I'm in California and have not seen any here, but they were common certain years when I lived and grew up in New Jersey.
 

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dodger150 said:
Sorry for you mishap... been there... rest easy as you heal.

Just curious... where did this happen? I'm in No. VA. I've seen a few gypsie moth cats around here, but nothing like you describe.
NOVA seems to be pretty well contained - I think from previous years when the sprayed.

I do remember a cicada that found my spinning rim a couple years ago :eek:
 

· You're Not the Boss of Me
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Hang in there. I feel your pain, too. I had a major wreck in 1998 followed by 4 ortho surgeries and lots of time on crutches. I can't run any more but the good news is that the sport we all love most is one of the easiest to get back into during rehab.

Ice is your friend, even up to a year after the trauma. So is ibuprofen. So is patience. Keep us posted.
 

· Alien Musician
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CATERPILLARS? The horror!

Sorry to hear about your crash. Last month someone got taken out by a hawk
chasing some other bird and now this month it's caterpillar time. What next?

Here's hoping for a full recovery and let's hope the bike didn't take more damage
than you did...
 

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Ok, it could have been worse. Some caterpillars have poisonous hairs. Every year our ER gets lots of folks coming in w/ caterpillar stings acquired by just by touching the things. I picked one up in the yard once & it was like a jellyfish sting – all itchy & burning almost immediately. I could see if one hit you in the eye you would be in serious trouble. Yeah, attack of the killer caterpillars…
Hope you mend quickly. Damn, just thinking about snapping a femur make me cringe & nauseous. That takes some serious leverage. Bad enough breaking my toe last weekend.
A surgeon friend of mine broke his femur on a bike & said it was worse than when he broke his neck on a motorcycle. Was begging for pain meds in the ambulance. Said it gave him a new outlook on treating his patient’s pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the link to your writeup. As I read, I thought the description was much like mine but your's seems to have taken a less than optimal turn. I feel pretty good, only very minor paid and have good flexibility. My probelem now is to rein myself in and not do more than the healing state of the bone will allow. I hope you get some good news soon for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the good wishes

I'm on Cape Cod.

The gyspy moth caterpillars are a sort of Biblical scourge that comes around every decade or two. Like locusts or mice in Australia, when conditions are right their population explodes and they ravage the countryside.

This area had a massive attack of them back in the early eighties and they defoliated huge acreage. You can still see the effects of that outbreak in the forests now. Back then the roads used to get greasy with their squashed bodies and you could hear them munching the trees (they love the local oak). This outbreak is nothing like that but seems bad in small patches.

I looked at my helmet and clothes earlier.

The Giro Atmos looks like someone beltsanded the right front of it down to the carbon skeleton. It seems to have just ridden on the carbon once the plastic outer was ground off. I'll be getting the same helmet again.

My brand new Sella Italia team jersey got the right shoulder torn up and the EMTs put the scissors to it as well so I'll have to replace that.

Shoes - not a mark that wasn't already there.

I would have thought my Assos bibs would be trashed. To be pounded on the hip hard enough to break the biggest bone in your body and then to slide on asphalt on top of it you'd expect the but to be ripped out - or at least a little pilling! They are unmarked except for a blood stain. btw, the EMTs didn't cut them because I wouldn't let them. I squirmed out of them while strapped to the backboard to keep them from getting cut.
 

· Resident Curmudgeon
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Rotton luck! Sorry to hear you were injured, especially so seriously. I hope you heal quickly, completely, and are riding again asap.
 

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Yeah they are really bad, and they stink too when the hot sun heats up what's left over on the road. I am starting to avoid all really bad streets, which happen to be the most fun to ride. How long till they' re gone? What's their deal?
 

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TrailMix said:
I just got home from the hospital where I had my right hip bolted back together. In more than thirty years of roadbiking, this is the first time I've gone down hard, at speed.

I was out for a Saturday ride after work, feeling strong, on my usual 20 miler. The first part of the route is a nice wide, straight, quiet road with some rolling hills. I'm blasting along and out of nowhere I get splashed in the face. "Weird", I think and carry on. As I come under the overhang of some trees I suddenly see a swarm of what I thought at first were wasps. Just before I ride facefirst into the swarm I can make out they're gyspy moth caterpillars hanging from their silk threads from the tree branches overhead. Splash in the face again. Then again. And again. Now I've got the buggers crawling on me and flapping in the air behind me in bunches, trailing off me by their threads. I slow down, wipe them off, move out more to the center of the road.

The next couple of miles are mercifully free of the beasts and I'm just getting back into rhythm, riding a smooth flat just before the road kicks up into a short, steep hill. There's a big crack in the pavement here that extends out to the middle of the road. I usually go around if the traffic permits or bunny hop otherwise. I look back to check for cars - one about a 1/4 mile back. Just as I'm turning my head back to the front, Whack! - a big mass of caterpillars hits me. I reach up to wipe off my face and just as my hand leaves the hood the front wheel snaps wildly left and I'm suddenly yawing across the road. I correct but too much. Now I'm swinging with greater wildness the other way. Another attempt and just as I finally find the bar with my right hand I realise this is going to hurt and slap down hard directly on the point of my right hip. I felt the impact and then the slide - mostly on my head. My most distinct memory of the impact itself is the sound the helmet made as my right temple skidded along the pavement.

Now I'm dazed, laying butt up, face down on the center stripe like I'm listening for something underground. I'm just on the blind side of a steep hill and tourists are here in full force driving like nuts and I'm gonna get run over. Oh, and I don't know where the car that was behind me is now. I try crawling off the road but can't support any weight on my right leg. I try log-rolling instead. No go - again, the pain is too much. I lie back to think this out a bit and just then the woman who was driving the car behind me comes up and asks "Are you all right?"

Then there's a bunch of people and in the usual way, discussion starts. I only get snatches of it. "We shouldn't move him." "Get me out of the road." "Do you want an ambulance?" "Can someone get my cell phone out of my jersey pocket?" "Hi Hon, you'll get a call from the hospital shortly. I'm smashed up in the middle of the road. Talk to you later." "Someone put my bike off the road." "I'm a nurse." "EMTs are coming".

In the midst of this the EMTs arrive. They were very quick. A local fellow who says his brother is a serious rider takes my bike in for my wife to pick up later. I don't know him or his brother but what could I do? He was as good as his word and my bike was home in a couple of hours.

I'll skip all the medical stuff that happened over the next several days but wrap it up just by saying I broke the neck of the femur and have three screws, a four inch incision and twenty mean-looking staples for sutures. I've got not too much road rash - right side shoulder, elbow (the worst), hip and knee. I've got a bruise on my right temple from the edge of the helmet foam getting rammed into me. Hey Giro - does that have to be so hard and have such a sharp corner along the edge? I can't complain about the helmet though. Without it, I would have peeled the right side of my face off from crown to chin.

The orthos did some good carpentry and the break seems to be healing well. I'm only five days from the crash as I write this and getting around on crutches effectively and will go back to work next week. One mishap in the hospital left me with a split left brow, eight stitches and an ugly shiner. I was up on crutches day two post-op when I lost blood pressure and tumbled. I crushed a nurse in the fall and planted my face on the tile floor. A reminder to take things a little more slowly during rehab.

The bike? I don't know. My wife says it looks ok but she doesn't really know. I haven't had the chance to look at it yet. Last I remember from the crash it was laying with the drive train in deep sand on the side of the road. I'll do a tech autopsy and report back when I can get around a bit better.
Sorry to hear about your crash! I broke my leg 2 weeks ago I feel your pain. take care.
 
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