It had ben a good ride. 10 minute warm up, then 1.5 hours in zone 3. I’d a few routes in mind, I prefer it like that – go where the mood takes me. My last few miles brought me into Hatton of Fintray, then the long drag up to Kinmuck and finally the run in through Keithhall and back in to Inverurie. The legs were feeling good and I’d averaged 220 watts.

I raced to the power station at the top of the 10% hill – that was my finish. Doing 35 mph I cruised down the hill. Maybe going a little fast, I started to break as I neared the corner. That’s when it all went badly wrong. I must have hit a patch of black ice or oil on the road. My wheels locked and the bike jerked violently. Down I went, hitting the deck hard. I was only 2 miles from home!

A couple of cars stopped and soon I was in the passenger seat of a Discovery. John, my Good Samaratin, was taking me to the Health Centre, with my bike in the boot of his car. By the time we got there I was in a lot of pain. I knew the collarbone was broken by now. However the ladies on the desk refused to do anything to help us, they wouldn’t even phone an ambulance!

So we went back outside, John putting his jacket around me to keep me warm. I was shivering by now. John called 999 from his mobile, whilst I called Joanna to let her know what had happened.

In no time both Jo and the ambulance had arrived. I was in a lot of pain now, so Andy & Steve the paramedics tried to get a line into the back of my hand to give me some morphine. 5 times they tried, but my hands were so cold they couldn’t get it in. I look like a junkie now! “We’ll just have to give you gas & air”, said Andy. It was good stuff.

As we drove through Inverurie I felt every bump. I was biting down on the gas & air and taking big slugs. The pain was becoming unbearable even with the gas & air, so Andy said we’d have to stop and get the morphine in. That meant having to cut my jerseys off and fit it into my arm.

What a difference the morphine made. Andy was great – he talked to me all the way in to A&E and kept my spirits up. I can’t say enough about him.

Andy & Steve got me onto a bed and wheeled me into admissions. A few minutes later and I was in a wee room and Marie, a lovely student nurse was checking me over and asking loads of questions. Despite the morphine I was still fairly lucid, so managed to answer everything – what day was it, where was I, what was my name, my address, my dob, what was the year.

Next up was Dr Julie, who was a lot younger than me. And cute too! She got the scissors out and cut the rest of my tops off. I wasn’t too fussed about the club kit, but was sad to say goodbye to my new Prendas long sleeved undervest. I tweeted about that this morning and the guys from @Prendas tweeted back offering to do me a deal on a replacement! How’s that for customer service!

Once the jerseys were all off, and the doctor had checked me over it was time for the x-ray. This showed that I had broken the collarbone in 3 places. That would explain the pain! The good news was that the ligaments were still holding everything in place and I wouldn’t need an operation. The prospect of that had been going through my mind in the ambulance!

A few minutes later Marie was back with another nurse and they fitted a special sling that would hold my arm in place. Then I was told I was free to go home.

And so it was, 5 hours after I should have been riding back into the drive, I finally got home. In Jo’s car. And a lot more banged up than I’ve ever been before.

It had been a hell of an experience. I’d experienced pain that had brought me to tears. More importantly I’d had my faith in humanity restored. I have a lot of people to thank.

My Good Samaratin John, the paramedics Steve & Andy, student nurse Marie (who had told the other nurses that I was a professional cyclist – I didn’t have the heart to correct her!), Dr Julie, and of course Joanna.

Thanks guys!

24 thoughts on “Snap!

  1. Ouch, you poor thing. I want to go and have words with the people in the Health Centre – what a bizarre way to behave.
    But never mind – there were more good people than bad and I’m glad you got so much great help. Good news that you don’t need an operation too.
    Take it easy!

    1. Hi Gillian, I prefer to focus on the positive and the wonderful people that helped me in my hour of need. 7-10 days and I’ll be back on the bike (on the turbo anyway!).


  2. Thank heavens for good Samaritans. I got an Air Ambulance ride on morphine when it happened to me. Seems unfair as my cycling was very much more domestic than your exploits.

    Get well soon, sir.

    1. My goodness, that sounds awful Gary! Air Ambulance indeed! It’s incredible how easy it felt to put your trust in these amazing people.


  3. Feeling the same way about the health centre staff and we’ve not actually met yet an I’m 550 miles away.

    That said, wish you a speedy recovery and don’t push yourself too hard. Sounds like your team will keep things ticking along nicely.

    1. thanks for your good wishes Dan. A couple of weeks off the bike will do no harm. I’ll probably get more done at home than I would in the office too!!

  4. Sounds to me like you hit a patch of diesel. Absolutely horrendous.

    Diesel spills are a death-trap for anyone on 2 wheels (I used to cycle lots and have a motorbike now). I think it’s mostly buses that are the issue, as they are routinely filled to the brim when leaving the depot.

    Given the devastation they leave behind, I would like it to be a point-earning offence for you to have fuel leaking from your vehicle… but I don’t see it happening any time soon.

    1. I couldn’t be sure, to tell you the truth Alan. Fair point though! I really hope I never go through that again. My coach reckons that I’ll get back out on the road in about 6 weeks – that would be a nice Christmas present. To be honest though, I’ll be happy training in doors – not taking ANY risks in future!!

  5. Alasdair – having got into cycling v late in life and really just trying to keep fit rather than compete and I am motivated by the desire to measure all things – the zone – the watt output etc etc … it is this measure of all things which appeals to the OCD side of me also … thank you for your blog – again this blog is first class – it is what I try but sadly fail in putting together – your blog/tweets are an encouragement so keep them coming – hope all goes well in the post recovery sessions

    Ali Donn

    1. Hi Alistair, first of all thanks for your very kind comments. I enjoy writing, always have done. I was lucky enough to have a great English teacher called Jim McLaren at school who inspired me. Like you, I like the analytical side of training / racing – it appeals to my accounting brain! I find it great for focusing on what I need to do, and since I got the power meter last winter I’ve improved rapidly.

      From your tweets you seem to love riding your bike – keep that up! I look forward to riding with you one day 🙂


  6. So glad to hear you’re going to be ok. It’s remarkable how often this occurs. It seems that every cyclist is waiting for “The Crash.” Glad there were so many good people to help you through yours.


    1. Hi Martin, thanks. It was a heck of a shock, I went into survival mode but thank goodness for all those magnificent folk. Restores your faith in humanity….

  7. Re the training indoors – it’s a good idea for now but you do need to get back out there before the fear sets in. I know it’s a bit early right now! But it took me months to be able to corner properly again after I came off on a left-hand bend last year. I think that one was diesel, too, or maybe just mud.
    I didn’t even break anything, unlike you, just came down with an almightly thump and got scratches all over. I got back on the bike and rode for the rest of the day – but for months afterwards I was practically slowing to a stop and lifting the bike round every corner.

    1. I’m not too concerned about that to be honest Gillian. I’ve crashed a few times in races and always been okay getting back on the bike. I just haven’t managed to break anything before! I’m not going to take any risks though once I do start going out again – if it’s at all frosty or icy then I’ll be going on the turbo!

  8. Ooh, fancy! A new spin bike, eh? Sounds great!! My gym has a couple of Watt bikes, so once it’s healed I may head in there now & again for a bit of variety. Spent 13 weekends training indoors last winter. One Sunday I managed a mammoth 4 hour turbo session in the garage!!

  9. Well Al I hope you heal as quickly as you hope…I’m here because of AliDonn. Now you must know what Danny Pedroza feels like in MotoGP with a triple break and manhandling 230 BHP…good scripts….keep them flowing.

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