Monday, July 30, 2012

The Ripple

People can be selfish.  Poorly made or hastily thought out decisions can create a ripple effect that can influence the lives of many innocent people. Take for instance the decision to ride a bicycle without a helmet. Despite the fact that said person believes themselves to be the most advanced cyclist in the world..on a 1972-built cut-off jean shorts...the lives that can be altered by the choice to ride helmetless can grow far beyond most peoples' immediate comprehension. From the passers by who witness the blood and carnage, to the emergency responders who have to respond, to the doctors and even family members left in the lurch, riding sans helmet is a selfish act indeed.

Blasting down the bike path and far exceeding it's fifteen mile per hour speed limit, the young lady (let's call her "Apple") swings wide into the oncoming and entirely blind corner. Looking straight down at the front tire and not through and beyond the apex of the turn, the scenario falls together quickly. A loud "HEY!" is all the mother has time to let out before the aforementioned Apple careens into the brightly colored purple baby stroller.  With BOTH ear-buds blasting out Lady Gaga tunes and rendering her hearing holes useless for any and all warnings of impending disaster, Apple races headlong into the baby's wheeled cocoon. Jarred but safe, mother and child stop to survey the damage.

Lying before them is a twenty something girl. The i-pod still blaring, it seems odd that the cost of the electronic device assisting in the wreck actually far exceeds the cost of a helmet. Motionless, Apple's skull has been compromised thanks to the neighbors creosote-soaked railroad tie that doubles as a lawn border. The heavy smell of the petroleum-based creosote in the dense summer air is noticeable. Also noticeable is the plume of dark red liquid slowly, thickly making it's way across the paved trail. Freaking out, the woman stumbles for her cel phone and frantically dials 911. Down along the river, cel service is spotty. It takes a few tries. The plume spreads.

Sitting with his family for the first time in three weeks for dinner, EMT Ambulance Driver Jack Lindgren is enjoying seeing his young family gathered around the table. Smiles and coy looks from his wife would indicate that she may be happy he's home too. It's fitting that right about then, the pager blares. Unfortunately for Jack, he's on call tonight. No choice...and with the angered but understanding glare of his wife, he drops his fork and hits the door, racing off into the unknown.  It's a cyclist. She's down with head trauma, and is bleeding out. The ambulance is floored when Jack nears the intersection with sirens and lights blazing. He slows down and peers through the four way stop just long enough to see the guy coming right for his side door at 45, head down in mid-text...entirely oblivious to the stop sign he just ran. Jack won't be making it to the bike path.

Strapping into the multi-million dollar helicopter, pilot Julie Humes takes one last look at the 25 story drop from the Medi-Flight heli-pad at the hospital. "It's mind boggling how expensive the fuel is for this thing," she thinks to herself. She was just about to witness her sister give birth a few minutes ago when the call came in. Sorry...gotta run. The whine of the turbines above her fades as the 'thup-thup-thup" of the rotor blades give her the necessary lift required to break the bonds of gravity. As she gently guides the craft skyward, she can't help but notice a huge accident in the streets below looks OK, there appears to be an ambulance on the scene already...

Finishing a bone-weary sixteen hour shift at the E.R., surgeon Chris Blumenschein washes his hands for what he thinks is the last time today. Starving and having needed to use the restroom for the last seven hours, he's ready to collapse. Recent budgetary cutbacks have seen many of the other surgeons and assistants lose their jobs or leave for other work...making his job a LOT more complicated. Exhausted, he heads for the bright but artificially illuminated break room. The glow of flourescent lights always seems so unnatural. It smells like microwaved meatloaf in the breakroom, and Chris stomach barks in protest to being empty. A voice crackles over the loudspeaker, saying "Dr. Blumenschein please report to Operating Room 11 immediately."
Running as fast as his worn out legs can carry him, a nurse informs him of an inbound chopper flight with a major head trauma case..little to no pulse. So much for eating and the bathroom.

Sobbing hopelessly at the sight of what appears to be a very dead young lady, the mother is happy to hear the copter hold a hover overhead. The basket swings out and the EMT on board the helicopter hops in. The chopper requires three staffers to run, all three had things to do. Jumping from the basket and removing the backboard, the man deftly slides the lifeless body into the basket and signals the winch operator to bring it up. As the basket rises, Apples' lifeforce sprays across the EMT as the breeze carries it from her hair. Hopefully he didn't just get Hepatitus from the blood getting in his eyes...risks of the job, I guess.

Back at the hospital, the table is readied. Apple arrives and in a flash is in the O.R. More dead than alive, she needs a lot of blood, and quickly. Just down the hall the ambulance driver lies in a state of coma, also taking in blood which is already in very short supply thanks to recent summer storms that devasted the state just days before.  The Fickle Finger Of  Fate clearly cares little for bad situations made worse by selfish humans. It would be a few hours before his wife would receive the call. She will have a decision to make soon, as his coma is quickly devouring any savings and insurance coverage they had. 

Apple, as it would happen, lives. Living is a very relative notion however. Her parents had just retired, and on a fixed income, were a little concerned as to how they were going to honestly make it. They didn't talk about it much as it scared the hell out of both of them. Now having to take care of a their daughter's full-time medical bills and needs will ensure that they both will enjoy meals of canned cat food for the rest of their lives. Any travel plans or notions of  "alone-time" are gone, as Apple needs someone's attention twenty four hours a day.

It's tragic, for sure. More in the sense that a forty dollar helmet could have saved all of this. It's a scenario that plays out in one form or another every day. The reality of the situation is that helmets do in fact save lives. They save lives that you may never have even met...lives that are full and rich...lives that are worth living. The number of cyclists I see without them is mind boggling. Five thousand dollar bike, three hundred dollar racing shoes, two thousand dollar wheelsets...and not a helmet in sight. It's kind of amazing, really. What's less cool?  Wearing a helmet, or being an inadvertent accomplice to someone else's death? Get on it people. Helmets don't just save your life.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Backboner on MIX 107.9 radio!

This morning's radio broadcast on Columbus' #1 radio station, MIX 107.9, was filled with ridiculousness once again thanks to D.J. Mark Dantzer, FOX 28/ABC 6's Maria Durant, and yours truly. Talking about bikes, cancer, Pelotonia and the pending In Stile fundraiser at Via Vecchia Winery was fun. Of course...true to form..I managed to sneak in a Tater-Tot reference on the air, and even a Milli Vanilli shout-out. You should all be so proud.:)  here's the link to the edited podcast!

Watch ABC on August 1st at 7:45 a.m. for Maria and I's live show on the fundraiser and what you need to know about your bike before Pelotonia!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Win #2 In Eastfork!

Hey, Chris
I just wanted to give you a run down of the race at East Fork State park located just outside of Cincinnati, OH. They started the race two hours early because of the heat advisory issued, still the race started 10am with temperature hovering around 98 degrees.  The first lap started with a steep road climb just like last year, but this year my class was combined with two other class because of lack of racers not showing because of the heat and the early start, last their was over 300 riders last year, but this year was around 150.
Yet, I found myself around 10th just after the mile long run out on the road just before we jumped into the single track, I tried to stay up front knowing that the next two mile would be to tight to pass, one ride tagged a tree about thirty feet ahead of me just before an open section of trail giving me the chance to jump up to third, now I just needed to hold on and not make any mistakes. With nine miles down and nine more to go the temperature moved up to 106 starting the second lap, the 1st place rider was only 100 yards ahead of me heading back into the single track.

I over took 2nd in the first mile of the second lap, knowing everyone was feel the heat by now in their legs, I began to slowly close in on 1st. With amino vital still in the tank i felt Ok, I marked the 1st place rider about 20sec. ahead of me not wanting to make a run at the spot yet, I waited to see how he was climbing on some of the short steep stuff, noticing that I was gaining ground on the climbs.
I waited until the last mile just after a creek crossing that was up hill to the finish with a few sweeping turns and a switchback climb to the finish I was able to over take 1st. Now it was time to bring it home, my Sigma computer said I had a mile left, so I needed to gap 2nd place as fast as I could without boiling my brain inside my head and/or tagging a tree. Topping out at the finish with my Hydrapak empty and about a 15sec gap over 2nd, I held on for the win.
Talk later