It has been a big few days for your Non Pro Cycling blogger folks. A mate spent time in hospital last weekend. My grandad is currently in hospital. On Friday I had to travel to Sydney for a job interview, which has turned out well, and means I will be back in the workforce on the 13th May. Friday night I spent at a pub with a great bunch of blokes, three of whom were going for a ride with me on Saturday morning.
Saturday morning I was woken by the sound of giggling girls and the smell of bacon. What a terrific way to start a day. I had stayed the night at my good friend Brian’s (Smith) place. He beautiful wife Bibi had cooked bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast and we sat at the table chatting away with his two little girls, Ava and Ruby. Then we packed the car and set off for our ride.
We arrived at the meeting point with plenty of time, and waited for Adam, Ben and Brett to show up. Adam was the first to arrive, and not long after, Brett and Ben arrived on their bikes. They had ridden to the meet up point, which was about 20kms for them. We were to meet one more of the group on the way along the M7 cycleway, a terrific piece of infrastructure in western Sydney.
Here is a shot of the boys before we left.
Ben in the BMC kit riding a BMC. Brett, Adam and Brian. Note the beautiful woolen Irish National jersey he is wearing.
We set off on the 250m run to the beginning of the cycleway.
I had to do a quick run back to the car to pick up my forgotten water bottles. Then we were off.
This is the the way it looked for the first part of the ride.
Most of the time Ben was off the front riding with his hands off the bars, basically, showing off. 🙂
It was a pleasant enough ride, not to fast or slow. We hit the Light Horse interchange, a swooping tangle of over passes and high wire fences.
Our group of five was going to meet Chris at some point along the path. Having never met before, we didn’t really know who to look for. The GoPro however sees everything.
That is him passing all five of us with out even realising. It would have been hard to miss us.
I was in my usual bright orange Non Pro Cycling jersey which can be seen for miles I have been told.
As we started up a few slight climbs, little did we realise the significance of this spot on the way back.
It wasn’t long before Chris caught us up. A quick intro and I told him to chase the guys up ahead, and off he went.
Brian and I then enjoyed a pleasant ride along the last 10kms of the cycleway.
As well as seeing some odd shapes and sizes on their bikes along the way, we rode past this bloke who was either ashamed of his lady friend or sheltering her from the sun.
We then rolled into McDonalds, the ONLY choice, for a coffee and Muffin.
Poor old Mr Mop doesn’t look to happy that I am riding over his sparkly floor.
We spent a pleasant half hour or so, chatting and BS’ing like cyclists do, before setting off on the return journey. Little did we know what lay ahead.
The return run has quite a few good long climbs. I tried to get Chris and Ben into a race, but Chris just rode off into the distance, not to be seen til much later on.
I had put in a big effort to chase down Ben up the last of the longer climbs. These soft young blokes can’t even keep in front of a fat old guy like me. 🙂
At the top of the climb we waited for Brian to arrive. Here is a photo of him as he hits the crest of the hill.
I told him to keep going, as we would be stopping in about a kilometre to bid Chris farewell. He continued down the hill. I had to do a U turn so was a fair way behind him.
I had been having issues with my rear derailer, so I was looking down when Brian seemed to veer off the path. He went on to the grass. From what the guys closer said, it looked like he had regained control, but when he went to get back on the cycleway, his front wheel caught the edge of the path and down he went. It was a sickening sight when I got to him.
Brian was in a bad way. He had been winded, and was struggling for breath. Whilst Adam got on the phone to the ambulance, the rest of us tried to figure out how badly he was injured. He didn’t recognise me when I was taling to him. He had a lot of bark off his knee, elbow and shoulder. We wanted to get him off the hot path, so we sat him up and slowly moved him onto the soft grass and into the shade.
It was pretty obvious that he had damaged his collarbone, and also that he was concussed. Every couple of minutes he would say “Sorry boys. Where are we?”
Possibly the hardest thing to do that day was next for me. Ringing Brian’s lovely wife Bibi. It is never nice to be the bearer of bad news. Luckily Bibi was calm and just listened as I explained what had happened. I told her I would call back as soon as we knew more.
After about 20 minutes, it was obvious the ambulance was having issues finding us. I decided to ride off to the nearest cross road to try and wave them down. They were told to look for my bright orange jersey.
I waved down a police car and two officers did their best to help. Two ambulances arrived with in 30 seconds of each other. The cycleway authority were needed to unlock the barriers, which seems slightly ridiculous.
The ambulances took off with me in hot pursuit for 30 seconds until I blew up and had to slow down. By the time I got there, they were assisting Brian and asking us how it happened.
Then, the unthinkable happened. The paramedic cut the beautiful woolen jersey right up the middle!
Oh dear! He was just about to chop through the heart rate monitor when Brian showed him how to undo it.
I have to say, the paramedics were great. They were explaining everything they were doing to Brian, and us if we asked.
Also, kudos to the guys from the M7 Cycleway authority. They let us put Brian’s bike on their truck and gave me all the details needed to pick it up.
After what seemed a long time, Brian was eventually put onto a gurney.
The paramedics wanted Brian’s helmet to show the doctors at the hospital. It has done its job. Cracked in at least two spots all the way through.
Eventually the ambulance took off. Roughly 90 minutes after he had come off the bike, he was on his way to hospital. 45 minutes was waiting for the ambulance and the other 45 minutes was getting him ready for transportation.
We had a chat to the paramedic that helped Brian, and then we were off. Chris left us just up the road, and Ben and Brett not long after.
I was in a bit of a rush to get back to the car and get to Brian’s place, where I had left my overnight bag and other gear. Adam and I were pushing along at a reasonable speed, when, going over some rough stuff, a spoke on my rear wheel let go and we had to stop. After a short time spent twisting the broken spoke around another still intact spoke, we were off again.
We got to the car and Adam and I grabbed a drink and said our goodbyes. It had been a pretty eventful day.
Now it is Monday afternoon. I have spoken to Brian at length about what happened. He seems to think it may have just been a loss of concentration as he looked over his left shoulder and that put him in the grass.
He has a broken collarbone, a lot of bruising and gravel rash. It looks like an 8 week spell from the bike, with at least 3 weeks in a sling. Heal fast and well mate. Here is a photo he took in hospital on Saturday night. I had to censor out the nip slip.
Just a quick thank you to the ambos, policemen and M7 guys for their help. And to Brett, Ben, Adam and Chris for helping Brian and I in a pretty trying time. Kudos to you all.