"... and DOWN goes [Joe] Frazier" -- Howard Cosell

My unassisted crash on Euclid Avenue: How a bad ride ended even worse
Thursday August 11 2005


So I'm cycling the Berkeley Hills race course like I do once a week or so thinking I'm having a bad day on the bike. The sort of day when you keep looking at your tires for signs of a flat or you think your brakes must be rubbing. After a lackluster 19 mile loop around the course, I head back up Wildcat Canyon (the Berkeley version of Old La Honda for those who live in the south bay) and over the Berkeley Hills ridge and start my way back down Euclid Ave. At this point, I'm feeling a little disconsolate at the prospect of producing a similar performance this Saturday at the Patterson Pass Road Race, a tough 69 mile race in the heat near Livermore.

But now I'm descending Euclid. It's a nice descent with good payment so I'm having fun again. The only tricky part is right before you get to Eunice Ave. There's a quick, left hand curve. I'm only an eighth of a mile from the house at this point so I have done it many times. I'm carving a beautiful turn when BANG! I hit the deck so fast I land on my face which I've never done before... at least not literally. Construction trucks have been using Euclid while the street parallel to it (Spruce Ave) is being repaved. I hit a nice grease spot which took out my front wheel just as though I were cycling on ice. See the grease evidence on my left shoulder. A driver pulls over and a couple of pedestrians approach as I collect myself off the road. Of course, I immediately check my bike for damage and I'm momentarily pleased that it seems to have suffered very little. But while checking my bike, I start dripping on it and as I look up at the people gathered around me, each turns away with a look of disgust as I make eye contact. I get the hint. I then start feeling a little sick myself and sit on the grass. A guy I know from the local dog park and a former cop takes control at this point. He calls 911 which I think isn't necessary and in less than 5 minutes there is a motorcycle cop, a fire truck and a paramedic van at my feet and clogging traffic. I'm feeling a little embarrassed and even more so when they put me on the gurney and ship me off to Alta Bates Hospital. Once I arrive at least 10 people treat me like I'm royalty. What service or maybe just a slow day. They are very impressed with my new Sidi Ergo cycling shoes and are equally impressed at how much they cost. I say "... and that's the discount price." A couple nurses fumble with the many buckles and straps trying to get them off and I fear they are going to cut them off so I make sure not to pass out. Doctors and technicians then pepper me with questions and a nice looking nurse comes in to clean me up and asks whether I need any help taking my clothes off. A friendly place or what!!

All the fuss was about two cuts above and below my eye caused by my prescription sunglasses at impact. It's ironic that in the eight years I've owned them I've never dropped them even once! Now one lens has very deep scratches and the frames are badly damaged. I'm sure most people are tired of them anyway so it's a good time to get a new pair. The cut below my eye was apparently a really good one and they weren't sure whether they could sew it up. But they did a fine job don't you think?

There was some concern that I might have broken my orbital bone because I couldn't close my eye so another doctor, the chief doctor, examined me and decided to ship me off for a CAT scan. Apparently, they found lots of problems inside my head but nothing related to the accident. wink I didn't think a CAT scan was warranted and, in retrospect, I probably couldn't close my eye because it was still numb from the lidocane. With all the fuss about my eye nobody once checked out my nose. At dinner, my wife thought it looked a little askew and it looks kind of off in the photos. It is sore come to think of it. All in all, she likes the new look and said "You were too good-looking anyway."

Just thought I'd share my mishap from earlier today before my eye closes and the ensuing headache sets in.

good night and see you out there,