Some of you might have already seen my Twitter and Facebook updates from yesterday, but for those who didn’t, I was unfortunately involved in an accident whilst training yesterday afternoon. I was nearly halfway through one of my standard weekly rides towards Riberac, when a car coming in the opposite direction turned across my path. I could see what was about to happen a second before it did. There was no way I could stop in time and the driver had seen me too late to change his course of direction. I heard the sound of carbon on metal, hit the side of his bonnet and went over the car, landing on gravelled tarmac on the right side of my body.
This all happened on the outskirts of a town in front of a garage, so fortunately there were people there to help immediately. Thanks to my helmet I didn’t lose consciousness, so I was immediately aware of what had happened. When I knew I could move my legs, back and neck, my thoughts turned to the pain in my right shoulder, which took the brunt of the impact from landing. All I was thinking was please don’t let it be broken.
The ambulance arrived in less than 10 minutes and I was soon put on a stretcher with a neck brace on. When I arrived at hospital the nurses took really good care of me and quickly took me for some x-rays. I was then taken to a ward to have a few stitches above my hip, which also took a knock when I landed. Within 15 minutes of doing the x-rays they confirmed that nothing was broken, which was a huge relief. I was, and still am, struggling to move my right shoulder, but was assured that within the coming days I should slowly regain mobility. I was lucky to limp out of hospital with nothing more than a few stitches, busted shoulder and a dead leg – it could have been far worse.
Not really sure why I'm smiling...
(Edit: a friend said I'm smiling because I'm alive - he's right)
In hindsight there is not much more I could have done to avoid the accident. My clothes were clearly visible and it was a sunny afternoon – how the driver didn’t see me only he will know. He has admitted full responsibility for the incident.
Until I regain mobility in my shoulder swimming and running is out of the question, but I hope to get some light training done on the Wattbike. I remain hopeful of competing at Ironman 70.3 UK next month, although that decision will be made closer to the time. In the context of the season, this shouldn’t be more than a short-term setback. This has in no way made me question my commitment to training or racing, it was simply bad luck. Unfortunately the law of averages states that accidents happen and it’s a question of when rather than if they’ll occur. All you can hope for is to be lucky enough to get away and live to fight another day. Thank you to everyone for their messages of support and concern – it means a lot.