Saturday, June 4, 2011

Finally, I'm a Real Cyclist!

Several years ago my coach, Craig, told me "You're not a real cyclist until you break your collarbone." Well, I'm a real cyclist now. Last week, while riding the bike path for a recovery spin, a squirrel ran across the path, juked left and right and while trying to avoid hitting the little guy, I dumped it and landed on my shoulder. As soon as I sat up, I knew something was amiss and decided that with the power of a positive attitude, my bones could not be broken. Nope, no way! A good samaritan stopped to see if I was okay. He asked "Your legs look pretty strong, do you do this often?" To which I responded "Crash? No. Ride? Yes, although you probably wouldn't have guessed that."He helped me dust myself off, asked if I went to church then helped me get on my way. I rode home with my arm cradled against my stomach still saying to myself "Nothing's broken! Everything's just fine!" and went straight to the sports med to get cleaned up.

The initial diagnosis was a separated shoulder. This was determined by the trainer feeling for breaks along the collarbone and then, at the shoulder joint, jamming his finger into what he thought was the AC joint (and what I later came to realize was just the break in the bone) which was unpleasant to say the least. They gave me a sling and told me that I'd be good to go in a week to ten days. After a few hours in the sling and feeling some things moving around in there I went back and got x-rays. Sure enough, it was broken. Not even my charming, positive attitude could heal that bone. Who are we kidding, I'm a realist.
They're wily buggers

After a visit to an orthopedist to rule out the need for surgery, very little changed as far as treatment, but the time frame grew considerably. The orthopedist said 6-8 weeks for my frail, bird-like bones to heal. Hopefully it doesn't take that long because it's summer, the weather is nice and I have racing to get to. Thankfully it's mini arm and not my good arm because that would have been tragic. I'm in an ever stylish navy blue sling with white trim that seems to wrap around my torso. It's a lot of sling for a little arm!

Being juked by a rodent was not my finest moment, but I hope he went home and hugged his squirrel kids and his squirrel wife. Hopefully the sun shone brighter and the grass seemed greener because that is one lucky squirrel.

Every athlete has their setbacks, suffers their injuries and has a wrench thrown in their plans at some point in their career, right? Given the situation, it could definitely be much, much worse. A collarbone break is a common cycling injury and, in all seriousness, would probably have just a matter of time until it broke anyway. Best to get it out of the way now. And, I'm finally a real cyclist!

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