So, it looks like my days of riding on the street are over. A few weeks ago Cooper had a mishap on his bike and got pitched over the front of it. The bike landed on him and he wound up with a badly broken collar bone, some broken ribs and some road rash. He had to have a surgery on the collar bone in order to prevent it from punching through the skin.
Then, a couple weeks after that I had a small incident. I was at a track day at the Streets of Willow Springs.
After lunch – probably the fourth or fifth session of the day, I crashed. In and of itself, not such a big deal. I was headed to the left turn at the end of the chicane, a couple of turns before the start finish and I lost the front tire through the corner. It was really a minor get off.
The problem was that I somehow hit my thumb on something hard. When the bike came to rest on its left side, my left leg was trapped under it and I couldn’t get out of the way. I stuck my hand up to make sure the corner worker saw me and got the red flag out. That was when I started to feel that me left hand was throbbing a bit. Kind of like when you smack a finger with a hammer…
I saw a tiny pinprick of blood on the thumb of the glove. I thought, “Hmmm, I should see if I’m bleeding”, and removed my glove. What I saw made me go cold in that 90 degree desert heat. The tip of my thumb, from the nail to the tip, was hanging down near my palm. There was a stringy bloody strand holding it on and blood dripping everywhere.
Awesome. I guess I won’t be going back out on the track in the next session.
So, it’s off to the hospital in the ambulance for me. Miranda (who was wonderful the entire time) drove out to meet me and several hours later I was sent home with my thumb held together with a couple of stitches, “because it makes a better bandage than just removing it and wrapping it”. The following Monday I went to a hand specialist in Beverly Hills. He told me that essentially, I’m going to lose the tip of my thumb, it’s unlikely that the nail plate survived so I probably won’t regrow the nail, and that he just wants to wait for the dead flesh to separate from the living and see how much survived. That was three weeks ago and yesterday he started cutting away the dead stuff.
So, at this point, I’m waiting for the dead parts finish separating. Once they do I’m looking at a minor surgery to kind of put things back together. If the bone is too close to the tip of my thumb it will get trimmed down a bit.
And before you ask, no, this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop riding motorcycles. It did make me realize that I really don’t want to ride on the street at all anymore. If I’d had to wait long for treatment it would have been a whole lot more stressful. If I’d actually hit something hard when I went down, I would have been immeasurably worse off. I’m comfortable with the risk at the race track where everybody there is focused and the environment is one that puts safety first. It’s not worth the risk to me to have to contend with SUV’s, cellphones and fast food on the road when you’re as vulnerable as you are on a motorcycle.
They’re not that horrible, but if you’re easily grossed out, don’t click on these links.
Here are links to some of my favorite pictures of it all. I’ve got a bunch of photos in my gallery.