Tuesday, January 29, 2019

John M. Clare - A California Triple Crown Legend

The California Triple Crown family lost a true legend when John M. Clare passed away on Saturday, January 26, 2019.

Let's celebrate John M's life!!

This is a place where people who loved John M. may feel free to write a memory they have of him, a story, or to say goodbye to a good friend. Please share your thoughts by clicking on the "Comments" at the bottom of the tribute below. You need not be a cyclist to share a memory here.

"When someone dies, you don't 'get over it' by forgetting.
You 'get over it' by remembering."
Leslie Marmon

John on the Southern Inyo Double Century course
Photo Courtesy of Hugh Murphy

The California Triple Crown family lost a really good friend
and a true legend of the sport with the passing of John M. Clare
on Saturday, January 26, 2019.

John and his son, Scott, pulling a train on the
 2013 Bass Lake Powerhouse Double Century
John was affectionately know as "The Big Diesel"
 or "Locomotive" for good reason

On Sunday, January 27, Melinda shared the tragic news:
"Dear friends,
Yesterday I posted a rather cryptic message about needing prayer without details. At the time, I didn’t know any details or the status. Now I do.

It is with a heavy heart and a profound sense of sorrow that I let you know that my husband of 35 years, John Michael Clare, died last night on Mt. San Gorgonio. Scott and John were on the descent when John lost his footing and fell in hard, icy snow and he started sliding and couldn’t stop. He fell into a ravine estimated at 500 feet down. Scott was able to yell and communicate with him but then had to leave him to get into cell range to get ems moving. He made it off the hill just as ems arrived.

San Bernardino Search and Rescue were awesome. They had multiple ground crews that hiked in and they made it a county-wide priority alert asking for volunteers. People were coming up until the wee hours of the morning to assist in the search and rescue. Shortly after 3 am, they found his body and notified us. We are in a state of shock as this was not the outcome we anticipated.

I would ask you to please respect and honor our families’ privacy in this time of grief and pain and refrain from calling or texting. I PROMISE if I or my family needs anything, I will reach out (and I already have.) John did not want a church service but he was ok with a celebration of life if that’s what we wanted. I will, of course, keep you posted as more details become available.
With love,


The San Bernardino Sun Newspaper wrote an article describing the tragic accident HERE .

Cheri Walker is a friend of John and Melinda and created a GoFundMe page HERE where you can make a donation to help Melinda.  She also made a MealTrain page HERE where you can sign up to help Melinda with a meal.

Melinda wrote: "I am currently collecting photos of John. Please feel free to upload a few of your favorite photos of him into the Google Photos folder I created."   There are hundreds of photos of John there!!

Melinda wrote: "The celebration of life for John will be Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at 6pm. Location is Cerritos Park East, 13234 E. 166th St., Cerritos, CA 90703. There will be an "open mic" if you would like to share your memories of John. Immediately following the celebration, dinner will be served. We hope you will stay, eat, and visit with family and friends."

Ellen Kirk suggested that we add John's name to the CTC Jerseys. What a great idea!! We'll make that happen with the CTC Jerseys we order this year so we will honor John's memory.

Planet Ultra wrote: "The Solvang Double Century is renamed the John M. Clare Memorial Solvang Double in honor of an amazing man who was a great friend and mentor to so many of us."

George Chung wrote: "Remembering John Clare. A big man with a huge heart. Will always remember your kindness to me and so many others. You always had time for my questions. You were always there for your friends and willing to help out. You were so genuine and sincere. We will always remember your big smile, heartfelt friendship, and your gentle soul. You will be sorely missed by me and so many!"  George shared these beautiful photos:

John was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame in 2012 in recognition of him completing 50 Double Centuries in the California Triple Crown Series.

Just 4 years later in 2016, he was inducted into the California Triple Crown 100 Double Century Club of the Hall of Fame in recognition of him completing 100 Double Centuries in the California Triple Crown Series. He loved these hard rides and he tackled the most challenging of them all as shown in his California Triple Crown History Report HERE

John rode his First organized Century on the 1975 Orange County Wheelmen Century.  He wrote: "My bike broke down early in the ride so I rode my Dad’s bike while he fixed mine. He caught up with me and gave me a Heath Bar since they did not have Powerbars in those days. Still one of my favorites."

His First Double Century was on the 1993 Hemet Double where he rode his 45 pound fat tired Mountain Bike.  He remembers a huge peloton lead by Steve Born and the first century was under 5 hours for him.

Ed Gallegos wrote: "John and I had some great times on our "ponies" and shared these photos:

John held a Master's Degree in Emergency Services Administration.  He was an Assistant Fire Chief and College Professor.

His favorite local 50 mile ride was from his home in Long Beach on the river trails because there are no cars and they can take you to so many cool places.

His favorite place to ride in the world was Southern California because of the awesome coast as well as mountain riding.  Alaska has some very beautiful rides.  Mt. Haleakala on Maui was an awesome climb and descent.

His favorite treat during a ride was Nilla Wafers with Nutella as well as fresh fruit.  After a long ride, he liked pizza or a big greasy cheese burger.

Dee Mann wrote: "I met John when we were both crewing for Hoodoo in 2015. I didn't really get to know him until he offered to help me get my first CTC gold after my knee surgery. We rode DoW. It might be more accurate to say that he pulled me through that course. I have had the pleasure of riding as stoker for 5+ doubles (he would know the exact number- he always did), but I can count the + as all the training riding on the tandem. All the travel time, dinner time, car time, bike time, more car time, all the stories and laughs will not be forgotten! John's passion for cycling was evident. He was always taking care of others while riding and volunteering. Wanting others to have success. I will miss his passion, sense of humor and big heart!"  She shared these great photos:

John volunteered on at least 34 Double Centuries.  He believed we should all give back at least 10% of the time.  He also actively promoted all of the Doubles and recruited many new riders.   He found that mentoring and encouraging others is important to sustain the Doubles for years to come.

Andrew May wrote: "John Clare leaving the lunch stop on his tandem on the 2016 El Camino Double Century.   A friend and mentor who will never be forgotten."

Rob Mann wrote: "It has been hard for me to put into words...but in order to do his memory proud I am going to try to change my feeling sad to feeling thankful that I was able to know John Clare. Like many have said...his constant smile, no BS attitude, and ferocity as a friend were some of the first impressions I had of an "endurance rider" I will miss him greatly and think of the many miles (both on the bike and in the car), the many wonderful stories...but most of all his big heart(even after it got lasered it was still one of the biggest I knew) He will forever be my model of what I want to be like for cycling. My life has forever been changed."  Rob shared these fun photos:

Over the years, John ran across many obstacles. He wrote: "Each ride is different and offers different challenges.  Sometimes it is mechanical issues and sometimes it is physical issues.  No matter what the issue is you must take a step back and look at what your problem is.  Work out a plan to fix it and then do it.  Give yourself time before you DNF."

Chuck Bramwell wrote: "Thank you, Hugh Murphy for this photo.  I remember this moment quite well. John was so amazingly strong on the bike!! We were tackling a good long headwind stretch and John Clare just powered right into it like it was nothing. I blew up and started going backwards but it was a great moment to ride with John and Terri Boykins for a short time.
I am so sad to think that I won't be able to ride again with John Clare. I already miss him a whole bunch."

John's best memory from these many Doubles was getting to share doubles with his Dad and two boys. Specifically, he was feeling crappy the entire day at the 2015 Southern Inyo.  It was his 100th double and he had 8 of his friends taking care of him the entire ride.  They never let him pull.  Finally in the last few hundred yards Loren Smith said, “Lead us in John”.  There were cowbells and cheers as we rolled in. Pretty awesome having people take care of you all day long, riding slower than they normally would, and then having you lead them in.

John's sweet wife, Melinda, makes the best cookies around with secret illegal ingredients … they are known as “Crack”!!

Regarding Lee Mitchell, John wrote: "Lee has helped me on many occasions. Broken lights, flats, tools, encouragement.  The last time I saw Lee was at the 2013 Davis Double. I was riding tandem with my son Scott.  We were flying down a long stretch with a bunch of single bikes in tow and I could see a man dressed as Santa Claus far off in the distance. I knew that had to be Lee. I told the bikes we were towing we were stopping. I introduced Scott to Lee and we took a picture with him. He was not feeling well at all from the chemo but had the sense about him to select the appropriate camera angle for the best shot. As soon as we got the picture Lee rushed over to help a rider with a wheel problem. Special man, we miss him.”

Steve Meichtry shared this awesome photo writing: "2014. A little climbing on the tandem with my diesel buddy"

Steve captured some great climbing moments on the 2014 Oceanside Double in a video HERE.  He wrote: "Fun times with John: 2014 Oceanside Double Century. Climbing out of Borrego Springs into a major wind/rain storm on the other side as we headed around Palomar Mountain. Going to really miss this."

John cranked out 46 consecutive doubles from 2013-2015 including in 2013 all 23 doubles with 4 volunteers and in 2014 all 21 doubles with 7 volunteers. 

In 2014, he completed the Grand Tour Quad on the tandem with Steve Meichtry. Steve wrote: "2014 Grand Tour Quad with my awesome buddy John Clare. Going to really miss you my friend!!" and shared this photo:
Steve wrote: "An epic day on a diesel truck!" and shared this video of the day.

In 2014, he was a World 24 hour time trial champion on a tandem with Tony Musorafite.  

As of 2016, the Clare family are simply amazing examples with 286 Doubles completed and 72 family volunteers!!  In 2000, all three generations of Clares completed five doubles together.

Steve Meichtry wrote: "Love ya John!! You will always be with us!!!!" and shared this photo:

Steve made this great video of John's 100th Double Century.

John wrote: "It took me 20 years to get into the Hall of Fame. With my aggressive schedule over the last few years I was able to join my Dad in the exclusive 100 double club in a few short years. He is out there riding with me every mile. He talks to me when I am having a tough time on a ride. It is quite an honor for me and I am humbled by all of the support I have received. I would like to thank all of my family, friends, organizers, fellow riders and volunteers. Without all of you none of this would be possible."

John, you were a great inspiration to me and to many cyclists.

Thanks for leading the way.

Our thoughts and hearts are with your family.

We will honor you in the days and months ahead.

Chuck Bramwell
California Triple Crown Guy

Julie Stokes shared some fun photos of John:

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Bruce Berg ... You Will Be Missed

"Nothing perfect lasts forever.
         Except in our memories."
                  From the poster to the movie: "A River Runs Through It"

This is a place where people who loved Bruce Berg may feel free to write a memory they have of him, a story, or to say goodbye to a good friend.  Please share your thoughts by clicking on the "Comments" at the bottom of the tribute below. You need not be a cyclist to share a memory here.  Please send photos of Bruce that we can share to Chuck Bramwell at cbrams@caltriplecrown.com and to Roland Hoffman at roland@hoffmanplastic.com

A memorial service will be held for Bruce:
Saturday, January 19, 2019
3:00 PM
Hillside Club
2286 Cedar St
Berkeley, CA   94709

Bruce was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame in 2007 in recognition of him completing 50 Double Centuries in the California Triple Crown Series.  He loved these hard rides and he tackled the most challenging of them all as shown in his California Triple Crown History Report HERE

Bruce started riding seriously while going to college in Boulder, Colorado and he was hooked.  He rediscovered his passion for cycling years later in the late 90’s.

His first Double was Death Valley in 1999 and he’s grateful that a more experienced double rider (Bonnie Faigles) was along to provide him with batteries for his headlight when his died.

When he was 61 years old, a typical training week for this architect included 50 miles riding both ways to and from work 4 days a week followed by a Century on Saturday and a 20 mile recovery ride on Sunday.

Bruce's favorite Double was the Terrible Two or the Knoxville Fall Classic Double.  Both are fabulous events put on by fabulous people and ridden through gorgeous country.  For those from Southern California, he said you ought to see the Knoxville country in the Spring!

Bruce was a big believer in not having handlebars too far below the saddle.  For most major rides, he’s rode on a Terry Fly saddle.  The wheels he used were Mavic CD Ceramic’s with  triple cross lacing which are fabulous.  He found them to be much, much better for braking, especially in the rain.

He’d like to spend more time talking to Ken Holloway or Dan Crain.  He really enjoyed the brief times he was able to ride with Ken Holloway and Dan Crain, both of whom had  enormous amounts of knowledge held in heads with fabulous attitudes.

He wrote: “I fairly regularly volunteer on either Knoxville or Devil Mountain.  The Quackcyclists are the BEST!  Best memory was secreting a beer in a cooler in my trunk and giving it to a friend when he came by my rest stop in 100+ degree heat.  That was several years ago and he still sings my praises for that.  Another is using a Hudson Sprayer to cool riders off at the top of Knoxville Grade at the water stop.”

When asked how long distance cycling has influenced his life, he wrote: “My wife loves getting to go to France every four years while I ride in Paris-Brest Paris and she loves waking up to a quiet house on Saturdays.  So I end up with a happier mate.  I’m much, much healthier and thinner since I got into ultra riding.  It’s connected me to a whole bunch of wonderful people.”

He said that without the California Triple Crown, he probably would have only done 1 or 2 of these things and never had gotten so hooked on these longer rides.

In 2007 when Bruce was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame, this cyclist’s resume included:
50 California Triple Crown Double Centuries
Eight Terrible Two Double Centuries
Two 750 Mile Paris-Brest-Paris’s
A 750 Mile Davis Gold Rush
A 750 Mile Last Chance Randonnee’s

He listed as his best long distance cycling experience his Paris-Brest-Paris in 2003.  Hands down.  The beautiful terrain, 4,000 other riders, many speaking English, and the unbelievable support of all of local people along the route in Normandy and Brittany.  You just have to remember to slow down enough to take advantage of the opportunities.

Rob Hawks wrote: "I am so saddened to pass along to you that one of our membership has passed. Bruce Berg, RUSA # 1349, passed away at home on Saturday, December 22, 2018, surrounded by his family.

Bruce was an early rider on San Francisco Randonneur (SFR) rides and a very long time member of SFR.  Bruce rode PBP in 2003 and 2007. If you have ridden the SFR Fort Bragg 600km and enjoyed the staffed control in Anderson Valley, it was Bruce that first began that improvement to that brevet when he and Jack Holmgren took it on themselves to ask the riders before they left SF what they like to have on the road and they went and got those items and then met riders at Dimmick campground. Bruce was my biggest supporter and best counsel when I became RBA. He frequently staffed the Lighthouse control back when our January 200 went to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, and Bruce was the person that set up the way we host the Fleche NorCal when he found Crepes on Cole would work for our needs and he organized the teams riding the event.

Post-ride dinner after the Grizzly Peak Cyclists self-supported "King Ridge Double Century", July 12, 2008.  Left to right: Bruce Berg, Mark Abrahams, Bob Pacenta, Rob Hawks, Veronica Tunucci (standing), Ernesto Montenero, Jack Joseph.  Photo by Zach Kaplan.

There are many, many other ways that Bruce supported SFR and helped our region grow to what it has become today. I know Bruce personally mentored many new randonneurs. I almost certainly would not be one today if not for his encouragement."

Mark Abrahams wrote: "Bruce was a very active, high-contributing, hearty-riding Grizzly Peak Cyclists member for many years.  He served as President for two years (2002, 2003) and as Vice President twice for a total of over three years (in 2001; again in 2009-2012) as well as in many other volunteer support roles.

He was a frequent and inspiring ride leader -- he led a great many all-day M-pace rides and helped introduce many of us to all sorts of new and beautiful back roads throughout the Bay Area.  He kept those ride groups together in ways that other leaders could not.  People just wanted to ride with him and spend time eating and chatting with him at the regroups.  He was that kind of natural leader.  Bruce was one of the forces in getting GPC to change its club jersey from low-visibility colors to high-vis bright-bright yellow, for increased ride safety.  Since then, many people have complimented our high-vis jerseys without knowing whom to credit.  Bruce's enthusiasm is what drew me into double centuries and drew many others into long distance cycling as well.

Those are just a few among Bruce's many accomplishments and contributions to bicycling.

A personal story: I am the friend mentioned above to whom Bruce handed the unexpected ice-cold beer at Knoxville Double (2003) mid-afternoon when he worked rest stop #4A.  Temps had been over 100 for several hours and my stomach was in full rebellion.  I could not keep anything down, not even the (too-hot) water and energy mix in my uninsulated bottles.

I felt pretty bad, and a bonk plus dehydration was surely near.  Bruce's gift cooled my overheated body core, gave me some much-needed liquid and quick calories, settled my stomach so that I could take in more, and transformed the rest of my ride from pain to pleasure.  The experience taught me how to better care for my body in such conditions.  This story typifies Bruce in a nutshell: he was as dedicated to supporting rides as to riding them; he tended to know exactly what riders needed to keep going and finish; he was there at magic moments when he was needed most; and he had a sly sense of humor."

Zach Kaplan wrote: "Very sad news. I knew Bruce was having a bone marrow transplant over the summer but am still shocked. This photo I took of him at the Bass Lake rest top on the 2008 Bass Lake Powerhouse double century is how I remember him, very strong and always smiling.

I have many fond memories of being on rides with Bruce. It seemed like the longer and more difficult the ride was, the more difficult it was to keep up with him. He was a strong rider with a great attitude and almost always had something humorous to say. Also I understand a very accomplished architect."

Bruce and other Bay Area riders just before the start of PBP in 2007
Kevin Foley, in the left foreground
Jim Bradbury, to the right of Bruce
Donn King, who's got his back to the camera at right
Photo from Dan Brekke

Bruce on a PBP warmup ride to the village of Gambais, 
west of Paris, in August 2007
Photo from Dan Brekke

2006 Fleche group
From left: Rob Hawks, Veronica Tunucci, Bruce, Michael Tigges, and Susan Jacobsen
Photo from Dan Brekke

When Bruce was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame in 2007, we asked him what his personal philosophy was.  He said, "It’s to enjoy what I’m doing.  The best way to do that is to keep a positive attitude.  Don’t let myself get into a negative headset.  Actually, I find it hard to stay in a negative headset when I’m on my bike."

His tips to a new Long Distance cyclist was to:
1 - Stay within yourself.  Don’t pace yourself off of anyone else.
2 - Eat, drink, and eat and drink some more. 
3 - Enjoy what you’re doing. 

"When someone dies, you don't 'get over it' by forgetting.
You 'get over it' by remembering."
Leslie Marmon

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Grateful for Many Things BUT NOT for Rumble Strips on Highway 76

On Saturday October 22, 2016, I was riding the Oceanside Double Century.  I was having a pretty good ride.  My photos from the day are HERE.

The climb up Montezuma from Borrego Springs was brutal with temps on my Garmin up to 108 so that took a lot out of all of us … it was a scorcher. 

I was trying to get past the descent on Highway 76 in the daylight … but with the heat on the climb, the sun went down about a half hour before I got to the descent.

I was descending down Highway 76 in the dark.  I knew that I should keep my speed down because it was dark and the road is steep.  I made it down the first 2 big sweeping switchbacks and remember looking back not to find any cars behind so I was able to take the lane, no problem.

A car came up behind me so I thought I better go the right to let them pass.  I had two headlights on HIGH … each putting out 650 Lumens so I thought I had plenty of lights.

I moved to the right from the center of the car lane over to the bike lane.  Much to my surprise, my bike was suddenly shaking uncontrollably and I quickly lost control of my bike.  I thought my bike was falling apart as it shook violently underneath me.   I applied my brakes to try to get my speed down.  The next thing I know I was heading into the dirt to the right of the asphalt with the bike totally out of control.  I crashed hard and landed on my right side.  I didn’t lose consciousness thanks to my helmet taking the blow.  I sat there thinking that I just need to sit there and see what my injuries are.  As I looked around, my bike lights were lighting up the cause of my crash: the Rumble Strips on the right side of the white line in the bike lane.


You can see my Strava Report HERE.

At mile 153.2 on my Strava, I was traveling at 32.9 MPH.  I crashed at the first 90 degree left turn after switchbacks, 1.6 Miles up from Jilberto’s Taco Shop, and 1.674 Miles up from the intersection of Highway 76 and Valley Center Road.  You can see the Google Earth of the area HERE ... I believe this is where I hit the dirt.  The Google Map is HERE  

If you zoom in on the map on my Strava Report, you can see when I veered to the right and lost control of the bike.  What I didn't know as I veered to the right in the dark was what was in the bike lane ...

Rumble Strips on the downhill section of Highway 76
Photo by Karl Rudnick

The crash was horrific.  The nice people in the car behind me pulled over and the wife walked back up to see if I was OK.  She said I crashed “stupendously”.  The entire family with husband, wife, and 3 kids all saw it happen right in front of their eyes.  As I sat there in the dirt, she asked me a series of basic questions and I was able to convince her that I was mentally OK.  So she helped me up and much to my surprise, I was able to stand up.  I came down hard on my right shoulder and right hip.  I tested my shoulder and could reach in all directions so I was convinced that my shoulder seemed OK.  She and I then walked my bike to the other side of Highway 76 to load it into their mini-van.  Looking back, I have no idea how I was able to do this.  They drove me down to the next Rest Stop on Cole Grade Road.  I was able to walk and take the bike to the Rest Stop area.

I then had to make a difficult decision: do I get back on the bike and continue?  I had already tackled most of the difficult portions of the ride.  It was a nice night.  Lynn Billie Irwin was there making incredible smoothies for everyone. 

Lynn took this photo shortly after the crash  
Looking back, I have no idea how I was able to stand up!!
This shows the power of adrenaline

I made a decision that even though I had tackled most of the difficult portions of the ride, that it would be best for me not to get back on the bike.  I had learned from others that once you crash, the adrenaline kicks in and you think you are doing much better than you actually are.  So often, cyclists who get back on their bike after a crash end up crashing again.  I knew the crash was high speed and bad so I called it a day.  Looking back, this was absolutely the right decision even though it was very depressing at the time.  Fortunately for me, Richard Ciolek-Torello was there and loaded my bike into his SAG Wagon then drove me back to the finish in Oceanside.  I was able to load the bike into my van and drive home.  Looking back, I have no idea how I was able to do that.  At home, I was able to walk up the stairs to take a shower and had dinner with my wife, Carol.  Looking back, I have no idea how I was able to do that.  I slept real good Saturday night but when I woke up Sunday, I felt like a truck had driven over me.  I nearly passed out as Carol was helping me to the Bathroom.  When trying to walk, my right upper thigh and hip hurt a lot with every step. My right leg would buckle whenever I put weight on it.

On Monday 10/24/16, I went to the Doctor to get checked out.  It was painful to move around even with a walker.  My Doctor concluded that it was a miracle but that it didn’t look like I broke any bones … just had a LOT of soft tissue damage.  X-Rays of my Right Leg and Hip didn't show any fractures.  She thought there might be a bone bruise.  So she recommended that I Ice the area, Stretch, and Rest.

On Tuesday 10/25/16, in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep, I started to relive the crash.  I wondered if anyone else had crashed on those rumble strips.  I did a google on "palomar mountain highway 76 rumble strips cycling accidents".  The very first link was labelled "Rumble Strips Hwy 76 - Caltrans - California" which you can see HERE.  This well written document by Karl Rudnick on June 4, 2015 to Seth Cutter, Caltrans District 11 Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator does an excellent job of describing the Rumble Strips on Highway 76.  I reached out to Karl and found him to be so helpful.  He knew so much about those Rumble Strips and had done so much good work documenting them then bringing the problem to the attention of CalTrans.  He put me in contact with many other cyclists who are working with CalTrans to change the policy of installing rumble strips on country roads like Highway 76 in San Diego.  Karl is a serious cyclist as well as shown HERE.

On Wednesday 10/26/16, a giant bruise of all colors showed up on my hip … about a foot long and 6 inches wide.  I’m icing a couple of times a day and taking plenty of Advil.  I was able to ride the Ergometer (indoor trainer) Tuesday night with no pain once so I spun for 15 minutes so I could get some blood flow. 

For the first week, I could only walk with the aid of a walker.  


On 10/31/16, the giant bruise had grown to be a monster about 18 inches long and 12 inches wide as shown here.

So why do I show this?  Because it gives you a glimpse at how much this crash hurt and how bad the injury was.  I was BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE not to have broken more bones!!

Bicycle Advocate Darell Dickey wrote to me and other Bicycle Advocates in California: 

"My sincere condolences and happy thoughts for a speedy recovery from your injuries.

For the rest of us, can we please respect Chuck’s situation and stop calling everything bad that happens on the road an “accident.”

This was entirely avoidable. This was not an act of god that was not foreseen. This crash happened because of poor infrastructure. That is not an accident. This was an “on purpose.”

Vanishingly few crashes are accidents. Let’s not continue to use the euphemism that works against our goal of road safety."

On 10/27/16, I wrote to Karl: "I am now 65 years old so I believe it’s time for me to shy away from the really hard Doubles … I am really hurting today.  The bruise on my right thigh and hip are huge.  I can only get to the bathroom with a walker … my right leg is all messed up.  I imagine I will need some serious Physical Therapy to get my right leg working again … I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with a walker or a cane.  I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck today."

For the second week, I progressed up to walking with a cane but needed it since my right leg buckled when I put weight on it.

I increased my Vitamin D and Calcium supplements to 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 a day and 4,000 IU of Calcium for the next 3 weeks.

Coach Robert Kahler recommended that I ride the Ergometer every day to help with the healing.  Looking back, I think this made a world of difference in my recovery.  I know it helped my mental outlook.

On 11/03/16, I hobbled into my Doctor's office.  She couldn't figure out why I was walking with a cane and limping since the x-rays didn't show any fractures.  So she ordered a MRI to see what was really going on.

On 11/08/16, I had the MRI which showed a large hematoma and 3 fractures of my pelvis and hip bones.  The Orthopedic Doc said it was OK to continue to ride the Ergometer and recommended a lot of Swimming and Jacuzzi time which I did.  He recommended that I continue to walk with a cane until I no longer needed it.  I was quickly seeing how easy it is to become reliant on a cane to walk to I set a goal to not walk with the cane as soon as I could walk pain free.  He said it would take 6 to 8 weeks for this injury to heal. 

I work out at Mr. Jill's Body Firm.  I'm positive that those workouts helped my crash so I wasn't injured more as I hit the dirt.  My trainer, Roxy Kahler, was so helpful in my recovery.  She explained that I was limping because my hip flexor muscle on the inside of my upper leg was sore because it had been overcompensating for the muscles on the outside of my leg by the giant bruise.  She taught me how to stretch my hip flexor by standing and rotating my leg in circles.  This was really painful at first but became less so as my leg recovered.  This stretch helped my recovery immensely.

On 11/21/16, I spoke to John Swann on the phone from Davis.  Karl had put me into contact with John who had been doing some heavy lifting on the Rumble Strip Subcommittee.  He asked me to testify in a meeting with the California Bicycling Advocacy Committee under the auspices of CalTrans on 12/01/16.  It turns out that my crash showcases well the problems with cyclists and Rumble Strips.  John described it as "driving a car and then your steering wheel falls off."  John is retired now and bike advocacy is his part time job.  He had a horrible experience with Rumble Strips himself in 2010 in Vancouver.  He didn't crash but it was a close call and very scary.  We both agreed that decision makers at CalTrans need to understand how bad these Rumble Strips can be for cyclists.

On 12/01/16, I was on a phone call to Sacramento with John Swann who was in attendance at the meeting of the California Bicycling Advocacy Committee along with Karl Rudnick who also phoned in.  John did a great job of describing my horrific crash and I was able to testify that these Rumble Strips on steep descents like Highway 76 where cyclists are descending fast can be EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.  Once I ran into those Rumble Strips at 32 MPH, there was no way I could have kept the bike under control.  I challenge any cyclist who hit those Rumble Strips at that speed to keep their bike under control and not crash.  I testified that I was lucky to be alive but the next guy may not be.  Karl also testified as to the danger especially since he rides his bike often in that area on Highway 76.  Thank you to John and Karl for helping to get the word out so fast.

It is now January 7, 2017.  I was able to ride 92 miles today on the Carbon Canyon Century.

I am blessed beyond measure!!  I had plenty of time to think about how I'm no longer a youngster who just can just bounce back from crashes like this.  I'm 65 years old and it's hard to recover from these things for sure.  

One of my favorite Church hymns is "Count Your Blessings" ...

"So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;

See what God hath done."

I'm a firm believer that it makes a HUGE difference to have an attitude of gratitude ... and by Counting Your Blessings you can focus on all of the things in your life to be thankful for.

Certainly I am thankful that my crash took me into the hard packed dirt on the shoulder.

Certainly I am thankful for the many incredibly beautiful country roads in California that are so fun to ride a bike on and thankful to CalTrans for all they do to allow cyclists to ride on these roads. 

Certainly I am thankful for a Guardian Angel who was watching over me and brought me in for a relatively soft landing.  It could have been so much worse.

Certainly I am thankful for so many friends and family members who gave me a hand.

Certainly I am thankful for cyclists like Karl Rudnick and John Swann who work hard on trying to solve problems like this.

But more than anything, I am thankful for my much better half, Carol, who picked me up and helped me every step in this recovery.  There is no way I could have recovered so well from this without her help.  It's really easy to lose your sense of humor when things hurt so bad .... but she never lost her sense of humor and that made a HUGE difference!!  As many people know, I married WAY above myself the day she decided to marry me.