“When a cyclist is hit by a car the witnesses, family, friends, caretakers, and community at-large also suffer from trauma. My book will share my recovery, my family’s experiences, managing PTSD, and more”
This weekend it was triathlete Matt Russell who was taken out by a driver during the Ironman World Championships and was hospitalized in intensive care. Earlier in the week Tim Don was struck by a driver while preparing for the same race and fractured a vertebrae. This summer there was a similar story involving an older gentleman who got hit a few miles from my house. Last summer it was a father of three children who was killed on that very same road while enjoying his Saturday bike ride. The more egregious stories are featured in the news and, while the circumstances change, the cyclist being hit headline has been used too often and changes need to be made. Each news article does its best to report the physical injuries but the full scope of a crash cannot easily be described, which is why I am writing a book. Below is the first chapter. Today marks three years since my life was nearly ended by an impatient driver.
“I was following Adelaide Perr and witnessed the accident, the severity of her injuries…I will simply say it was the worst single thing I have ever witnessed and left an indelible memory of absolute horror.” – Scott Robinson, cyclist on March 13, 2015
On October 18, 2014, my future husband, Kennett, and I woke to a brisk but sunny Saturday. I walked our seven-month old puppy, Maybellene, along a bike path and up a tiny dirt hill to a street that led to the 1.5-acre dog park near our two-bedroom apartment. When we returned 45 minutes later, Kennett was in the kitchen flipping two plate-sized pancakes. Decked out with peanut butter, banana, and honey, these pancakes were our standard Saturday breakfast. We ate on the couch, at times resting the plates on the coffee table while we perused the Internet.
As athletes we kept our lives simple and full of routines such as the Saturday pancakes. Money went towards training and racing. Nights were spent eating salad and dessert in front of a Netflix show so that we could get to bed early. The reason we ate on the couch was because our dining room area lacked a table and was filled with bikes instead.
As the final bites of pancake were devoured Kennett and I discussed our separate rides for the day. He was going to enjoy an off-season ride with friends and they planned to climb up Lefthand Canyon, a narrow two-lane mountain road. In my off-season from cycling I was training for HITS Lake Havasu iron-distance triathlon. The 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run were only three weeks away. I liked tagging along with Kennett and his fast friends so I decided to ride my first few miles in their pack before separating. I needed one last multi-hour, flat ride to boost my confidence.
We went upstairs to change into our bike kits. I was testing out my old blue triathlon shorts to see if they’d be at least marginally comfortable over a long ride. I also put on Kennett’s old King of the Mountain Jersey that he had won at Sea Otter Cycling Classic the previous year and gifted to me. Even though the short sleeves were snug against my triceps, I loved the red polka dots on this jersey and felt spunky wearing it.
I’m sure we debated what other articles of clothing were necessary for the fall weather. I opted for a pair of black arm warmers and a vest that was given to me by Kennett’s team the previous season. The vest, brightly colored with the Swedish and United States flags, lay against my body better than my other cycling apparel, which made me feel lean and confident. Both the jersey and the vest were irreplaceable and held special meaning to me, but both would later be cut off my body….
Read the full first chapter