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Monday, March 23, 2009

An Open Letter to Lance Armstrong

Dear Lance,

News of your clavicle crushing cycling crash has caused concern and consternation here. I know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but really, you shouldn't have. I'm slowly getting better and have been on the bike quite a bit recently. Still, it was a nice gesture and I appreciate the support.

They say you were coming down a narrow, rough-surfaced, rural European road. Sounds eerily familiar. It only took a hose in the road to bring me down. You, the professional that you are, needed fully 20 other riders to get you into that embarrassing handlebars-below-the-wheels orientation. And I do admire the attitude evidenced in your statement, "That's cycling. It's nobody's fault. Crashes happen all the time." That was my reaction - hose happens, you just have to get over it.

The picture of you sitting by the side of the road also brought back memories. There you are in that shoulder-favoring pose that says, "Try to move my arm and you'll be a week removing what's left of my bike from your..." But what you actually said was, "It's pretty painful." Yeah, I know the feeling. Too bad you didn't have an ENT surgeon with you as I did. They can do wonders with a couple of pair of tights. No, I mean using them to fashion a sling and brace. It really helped ease the pain. But remember when you get back out on the road again, make sure he goes down the hill first.

In another amazing parallel to our accidents, I hear you walked to the waiting ambulance. Me too. Except it was a station wagon. Driven by the local farmer's wife. I bet you had lights and sirens. Me? Not so much as a toot of the horn. Oh well, you are the big-name pro. And speaking of clinics as we are, the one where I've been treated is having a special program you might want to look into; it's called Taking Steps to Prevent Falls.

I also read that Jacinto Vidarte, spokesman for the Vuelta Ciclista Castilla y Leon race, says you may be out for as long as three to four weeks. Not bad, as it took me that long to figure out how to get dressed in under 30 minutes. But hang in there. I was on the road two months after my crash. Rode 13.3 miles. Of course it was another 3 weeks before I got back on a bike again and then it was attached to the floor in my basement. But if you really work at it, you might get back in shape a little faster.

Say, did your Spanish doctor suggest an afternoon of surgery before you headed home? From my current perspective (sporting a "non-union" of the left clavicle) maybe you should have listened to him if he did. But, I'm sure you'll get the best of care and will soon be winging your way to a complete recovery. Even so, it seems we are facing similar issues in the immediate future. For instance, it doesn't look like you'll be able to compete in this year's Giro d'Italia. Me either. Bummer.

So you see, I know how you feel. Well, not how it feels to win Le Tour de France seven times. But I'm pretty sure we aren't too far apart on the broken clavicle thing. Next time you're in La Crosse, give me a call. We'll meet at the Bodega and compare x-rays.

Ride on,


P.S. I was really glad to see you were wearing your helmet.


Anonymous said...

Hard to be harassed by a hose, humbled by a hose . . . hard to be hosed!

Jack said...

Not THAT hard, as it turns out.

Missy said...

It appears your daughter acquires her adoration of alliteration from you!


hadassahrose said...