Oct 28, 2008


This is a fun picture of the the new frame and fork. I was able to salvage the wheels, PowerTap computer hub with the wireless wattage meter and other bits and pieces.

As I mentioned in my prior post about having no ill-will or hard feelings about the person who hit me, she and her family have turned out to be very fine, caring people with the utmost in character and integrity.

The girl’s father called me the next day and was clearly concerned about my physical condition. He took the time to care, and I appreciated his kind gesture.

It was important to me that he knew that I thought that I was OK and that he should not have any concern about any sort of trumped-up fake injuries, attorneys, neck problems or anything of the sort. Accidents happen, this was clearly an accident and I was not about to play any games or further traumatize this girl or her family.

Sure I am sore and bruised up; so be it. I am delighted and excited to be alive and doing fine. This is great news!! There is no need to get litigious or settle a score. I will not be part of the problem; I want to be part of the solution by demonstrating that we can forgive and forget, that we can be neighborly and all get along, even when there is an accident.

The family very quickly understood that my dreams of Ironman glory were at risk and that I had to get my bike repaired immediately because the race is only three weeks away!

I am so happy to report that they graciously paid to have the bike repaired and that I should be back on the road again by the weekend. The damages were substantial, but much of the bike could still be salvaged. I am happy (and relieved) to report that the Zipp 606 wheel set and the Wireless PowerTap 2.4 Power Meter will be OK (that could have been another $3,500 on top of everything else!).

It was very important to me that the driver not be punished or severely reprimanded or scolded. I really did feel very badly for her. She is a very nice, sweet young lady and I really would hate for this to damage her record or cause her any trouble.

I am just so grateful and happy that there were no severe injuries, that I will be back on my training schedule within a couple of days and that if I had to get hit, at least I was lucky enough to deal with a family that understood the importance of my dream and that I needed them to resolve this issue quickly so that I could get back on the road as quickly as possible.

So to the young lady I say:

“Please do not feel badly at all. I forgive you completely and am not mad, upset or angry with you in any way.”

To her father and family I say:

“Thank you for getting me back on the road quickly and for understanding the importance for me to complete this Ironman journey with the least amount of interruption.”

To all cyclists out there I say:

“Even when you are totally alert, accidents can and will happen. ALWAYS wear a helmet and ALWAYS carry ROAD ID (www.RoadID.com)”


Well my luck recently ran out....I was hit by a car while on my bike.

I was traveling about 16 mph and was broadsided or "T-Boned" by a very young lady making a left hand turn into a side street. She tried to merge between oncoming traffic and was so focused on the traffic that she did not see me coming in the bike lane.

It was a complete accident and I am not upset with her nor harbor any ill-feelings toward her. Accidents happen and I am just thankful and elated to be alive. Period.

I was just minding my own business and clearly in the bike lane. But there was nothing I could do; there was not even time to try and brake. The moment I saw the car was the exact same moment I saw my bike get pulled under her bumper. There was zero time to react.

I hit the hood of the PT Cruiser, rolled off and according to witnesses, rolled side over side 15 - 20 times, shoulder to shoulder, somehow settling face-down on my stomach on the sidewalk. Remarkably, my Oakley Radar sunglasses were still attached! The one thing I remember was this uncontrollable rolling and rolling.

I just lay on my stomach for a long time trying to process what had happened. I did not want to move anything and instead, did sort of a mental checklist on every part of my body before I decided to try and move. I did not feel any pain at that moment and that really worried me.

Had I severed my spinal column? Was I paralyzed? I was too scared at the moment to try and move. I didn’t want to know.

So many people were gathered around and asking me so many questions at the same time that it was hard to process anything.

People kept scouring the street bringing me pieces of my bike and piling them up next to me; I do remember that part. I also remember people asking me, "Who is David? Who is David?"

Apparently, I kept saying that David will see the workout data and I have to finish the workout, this is the most important workout of the year and my last major brick workout prior to the full Ironman. David, of course, is none other than the world-famous David Warden, my triathlon coach who took me on as a charity case about a year ago. (Check him out at www.tri-talk.com, listen to his Podcasts on iTunes and look for his upcoming book. He is quite literally, the world's leading expert.)

I was at about mile 90 of my ride when I was struck at about 3:35 pm. The day called for 112 miles or 6.5 hours on the bike, whichever came first, then an additional run for 1.5 hours.

The scene was surreal. About 50 spectators, an ambulance, police cars, a fire truck, paramedics and the Harbor Patrol. That’s a lot of tax payer dollars at work!

The great news, in fact, the miraculous news, is that I barely have a scratch. There are hardly any external signs on my body that I was hit by a car at that speed.

It was a cold, foggy morning in Carpinteria and as I set out from our beach house, I decided to wear three, yes THREE, long sleeve shirts, a full set of fingered gloves and also my bike gloves. All these extra layers were 100% responsible for saving my arms, hands, back and elbows from certain road rash. The outer bike jersey was really ripped up, but it took the brunt of the asphalt abrasions. The other layers prevented any abrasion at all to my skin. It really was miraculous. And lucky. Sort of like wearing two pairs of socks for long runs in order to avoid blisters; those extra layers really make all the difference.

Fortunately, my feet sprang out of the toe clips pretty fast, as the car smashed the bike right out from under me and I was immediately released; the toe clips did their job and I have no twisted ankles or broken bones in the lower legs, ankles or feet. In fact, I barely have a scratch on the lower legs despite being thrown, hitting the hood and rolling about 20 - 30 feet. Just amazing!

To be clear, as I was told the story by the eyewitnesses, I more “rolled” than was actually thrown. Rolled off the hood, rolled down the street, etc.

My bike helmet stayed on and my head was not hurt, but my neck is really sore and very stiff today and my shoulders ache from taking the brunt of all the rolling. It has now been about two days since the accident.

The first-responders were the witnesses and they were fantastic, they included a male nurse and a middle-aged man who saw the whole thing happen right in front of him as he and his friends were in the car waiting to make a right hand turn. He was shocked that I was alive and breathing and he took great care of me. I wish I had his name to thank him personally. He kept me calm and was upbeat.

I’m not too proud to readily admit that I was a bit scared. I really did not want to know how bad the injuries were. I just wanted to lay there for a few minutes and process this all mentally before I took any physical action to check for injuries.

The bike was really trashed. Bits and pieces of carbon and my PowerTap power meter, broke off. The brake/shifter combo is thrashed and my Zipp 606 high profile carbon rims may be cracked. My Look Carbon-Titanium pedals were ground down from the bike sliding and bouncing on the asphalt and my rear derailleur was severely bent. Most disappointing, however, was the Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL2 Carbon frame, which took a direct hit, broadside and got smashed by the car.

I did not want to accept any medical attention for fear of the costs. I know it sounds stupid at this point, and I do have medical insurance, but about 18 months ago my wife needed to use emergency treatment when she contracted West Nile from an infected mosquito and hardly anything was covered. Despite all of our insurance coverage, I was paying for all kinds of additional "non-covered" tests, procedures, drugs, etc. for months and months! It even got to the point that they threatened to ding my credit over a dispute over the ambulance charges which were obviously and so clearly over-inflated. All these additional bills kept showing up out of nowhere. Doctors I never heard of, never met, never knew were involved were sending us bills. It seems that all the extra tests that the hospital ordered were not covered and I had to pay for all of those as well. The ambulance ride, everything. So I was not going to go through that again!! I tried to stand up (it took two attempts, as I was still a bit wobbly) and I was able to answer the basic questions that the paramedics ask to see if one might have a concussion. They let me go ahead and refuse the ambulance and I thanked them for that!

That does say something about our insurance system, doesn't it?! Guy takes a direct hit by a car but does not want to be checked out, even though he has insurance, all due to a bad experience with constant bills from a recent event where hardly anything is covered at all. But that's another issue and my good friends at The Regence Group, a BlueCross and BlueShield health care company with excellent leadership, is working hard to change. Regence is committed to change our national health care system to give us all more choice and power in directing our health care. They are the real deal and I have every confidence in their ability to change the way we all access health care. Look them up online at www.Regence.com.

Back to the story...

A fellow triathlete who had witnessed the accident begun re-assembling what was left of my bike and putting things back in order so we could see what was going on. He was very concerned that I should not ride the bike, as he was certain that the carbon frame was cracked from the direct hit of the car and going under the bumper. But nonetheless, he did a great job reassembling things and I am very grateful. I was very worried about the bike. (All told, I think there is $10 - $12K tied up in that machine!) The wheel set was crunched and bent, but by releasing the brake calipers, he was able to get the rims to spin just enough to miss the brake pads and to get the bike back on the road.

While I was struggling to figure out what exactly had happened and was still face down on the ground, someone saw the chain on the back of my neck and reached into my shirt to grab my “Road ID” dog tags and called my business partner, who then called my wife. She tried to call, but I never knew it because my cell phone was crunched and fell apart in the accident! But some guys put it back together for me while they were gathering up all my stuff from the street, and the first call was from my wife.

I will never forget her first words.....

"I'm coming to pick you up. It's OVER!!!"

I didn’t know exactly what “It’s OVER!” meant. Today’s ride? My training? This whole Ironman dream? Biking on the streets? Whatever it meant, I could tell that she was pretty damn serious and more than just a little upset.

I said, "I am fine, and even though my bike is ruined, I have to try and finish the workout! Don't come! I will see you in about 45 minutes, but I have to try and finish the workout. This is the most important workout of the year."

I had a funny feeling that my wife was coming up and that she'd track me down, so I had to plan a quick exit.

I thanked everyone profusely because I was so genuinely happy to be alive; crazy as it seems, I was smiling broadly, just so genuinely happy that I was not seriously injured, or worse.

I tried to act manly and tough for some reason, sort of like I had an obligation to live up to the Ironman name and reputation of pushing through the pain; ignoring pain. I had a standard to keep and was representing all Ironmen worldwide. I can’t explain it, but I would think that other Ironmen might understand.

I grabbed three Tylenol from a stranger, downed them quickly with my energy drink and took off VERY slowly in the opposite direction of home; the wheels were wobbly and the gears could not shift due to the broken derailleur and the jammed/bent brake/shifter lever, but I was going to try and finish my workout. This could happen in the Ironman event, I could get banged up in a bike accident during the event and I would still have to find a way to finish, so this would just be another test!

Time must have been going in very slow motion (plus I couldn’t shift gears!), but before I knew it, my wife and son had driven all the way up to Santa Barbara from Carpinteria and found me limping down the road.

She drove her new Range Rover right next to me and told me to put the bike in the back of car; I wouldn't do it, but I did stop to talk to her and thank her for caring. I told her the story of what had happened and that I was not injured, but she thought I might have internal injuries or a head injury.

She couldn’t understand why I was so excited and happy, but just to be alive and be OK from that accident made me very grateful and energetic! I smiled broadly for a photo that she could send to my business partner to tell him that I was OK.

She followed behind me, which of course ANY man will tell you is all at once: embarrassing (ever had your Mother follow you home on your bike as a kid!!), exciting (to try and beat her home with only one gear and half a brake), and endearing (to know that someone actually cares).

As soon as I arrived home, I started making my plans for the 1.5 hour run. I changed my clothes and got into the running gear, fueled up, grabbed my water bottles and was off.

The run was quite difficult as I now had a new fear of cars that I have never had before. Soon it got dark and I was very worried about cars. I am sure that the fear will pass at some point.

I was tired from the 106 mile bike ride and ended up walking and jogging. I was also very hungry. I stopped by a liquor store and bought a bag of chips, some peanut crackers, a bag of salted peanuts, a 5-hour energy shot and a PowerAde. I ate all this while I was running down the road, pulling items one by one from the plastic grocery bag.

I completed the run in total darkness by following the white line on the side of the road.

It was a long day. A lucky day to be sure. I am very grateful that I was not seriously injured and I am happy that I completed the entire workout despite the hurdles and challenges of the day.

If I can finish this workout despite the events of the day, I know that I can complete the full Tempe Ironman Triathlon on November 23, 2008!

Oct 23, 2008

Hip Update and Peaking for Ironman

Well the hip issue has never been fully resolved.

We've changed the training load in terms of intensity and speed, and now I am completely off of the Cervelo P3C Time Trial bike altogether. All my rides will remain on the Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL with my Zipp 606 wheelset. A great ride to be sure, but certainly lacking in the aerodynamic advantages I would gain on the TT bike!

So the intensity of the hip pain has resided, but I am left with a daily, low grade ache that is more or less constant. Funny thing is that it does not seem to hurt too badly on the runs, but certainly flares up on the long bike rides.

We have now resorted to the Cortisone steroid shots that go deep into the hip socket; that is about the longest needle that can be used to make an injection into the human body according to my pain management doctor. I have not been brave enough to watch him make the injection or to even look at the needle...apparently it is shocking, but I don't want to know for sure!

I have not experienced tremendous relief so far from the Cortisone shot. That's pretty disappointing. But I am on a daily regimen of Celebrex and and long lasting pain killer called Ultram. The two, in combination are providing some relief, although I do believe I was responding a bit more favorably to the Mobic.

The only way to stop this pain altogether is to stop working out, which is not a viable option at this point. I have trained for nearly a year and I do not intend to stop just one-month prior to the start of the full Tempe Ironman!

This weekend I have what my coach calls, "The most important workout of the year." I will ride my bike from our beach house in Carpinteria, down the California coast to our full time residence in Long Beach, about 115 miles by bike. Then the moment I arrive, I am to immediately change into my running gear and go out for about 1.5 - 2 hours at the run pace I intend to use during the full Ironman.

This will take me almost all the daylight hours to complete this one workout. But after this workout, I will have nearly peaked and will then start on my formal taper which should bring me to the full Ironman in top form.

Oct 20, 2008

Stop to encourage the Newbies

From a distance, I saw him struggling in the center median.

He’d run about 20 seconds, then walk for a minute or longer.

I slowed down so I could observe him. I noticed he was an exceptionally-large man and he was really having a tough time. I on the other hand, was feeling great and effortlessly keeping about an 8:30 pace.

I turned off my iPod and ran up beside him to encourage him. “Good morning! How ya doing?”

He could barely respond because he was so out of breath. I slowed to a jog and said, “I’ve been there man. I give you all the credit in the world. I know it seems tough right now, but soon, you’ll be running the entire time and you’ll drop a lot of weight. I’ve already lost close to 50 pounds.”

I explained that the Galloway running method suggests that for Newbies, a run-walk protocol is just fine and if done properly, can provide nearly the same aerobic benefit as running the entire time, but with a much reduced chance of injury. (see: www.JeffGalloway.com)

His reaction was fantastic. He was just so appreciative that someone would stop to encourage him. He had been pretty embarrassed to get out there and often had been the victim of rude and hurtful comments by passersby. But he kept at it.

He was extremely grateful that an “athlete” would stop to encourage him. While I still do not consider myself an athlete, I started to think about this a bit more on the balance of my 14 mile run that morning.

To this brave guy, I looked slim. To him, I was running at break-neck speed. To him, completing a couple of half Ironman events and a 50K Ultra marathon would be inconceivable and unobtainable dreams.

They were for me, and at my heaviest, I was still maybe 75 pounds lighter than he was that morning.

If he sticks with it, he can achieve these milestones as well. Plus, his self-confidence and feelings of self-worth will skyrocket!

I’ve since made it a point to encourage anyone who is struggling or obviously new to sport and fitness. The heavier, the bigger, the older…the better.

I really have to hand it to some of these people. They are absolutely huge, yet they are out there doing something. They are trying. They are working hard. Sometimes I see guys well over 300 pounds on beach cruiser bikes struggling on the riverbed trail. An hour or two later, on my return trip, I will see them again, still at it. Still pushing hard.

These guys really deserve the encouragement and they get both that, and my ultimate respect. Frankly, I think I have a really soft place in my heart for these guys, because I WAS one of those guys. I can totally relate.

I cannot relate as well to the finely-tuned, 8% body fat athlete who has always been active and fit. I certainly respect their discipline and all the inevitable pain to maintain that level of fitness. But these finely-tuned athletes have absolutely no idea about being fat.

They don’t understand the humiliation, the ribs and barbs and hurtful comments, the embarrassment when your belly bounces around as you jog, the way your pectorals actually bounce around like female breasts, the huge “spare tire” that encircles your entire waist line.

Friends, these are humiliating issues that big people deal with everytime they step out of the house and try to do something about it. I don’t care if they are walking, riding a beach cruiser, or at the gym doing yoga, spin or weights. It is still embarrassing and humiliating.

For them to receive a positive comment and encouragement from someone who embodies everything they are hoping to achieve can mean the world to them. To get encouragement from a honed and finely-tuned athlete can keep them on a high for days.

I say that no workout is so important that I cannot slow down for just 30 seconds, ask them how they are doing, tell them how much I respect what they are doing and to offer encouragement because I’ve been there, I personally know how tough this part of the process can be and that I know that they will be successful if they are patient and disciplined.

If you are an athlete, take the time to encourage those who are working hard and struggling to get in shape and improve their fitness. I think this just makes the world a little bit better place for all of us.