2011 STP

I'm typing this post one-handed due to a broken collar bone. About an hour into the ride, in Renton, I was second in a paceline. As we approached an intersection, a car approached from the right and our light changed to yellow. I think the guy in front of me was trying to decide whether or not to proceed, then he suddenly decided to stop. I was looking at the same car for just an instant and when my attention returned to the paceline leader, he had come to a rapid stop and I didn't have time to react.

I slammed into his left side pretty violently. I don't recall my exact trajectory but I apparently landed straight on my left side, I think I rolled a bit too. When I stopped, I was laying on my right side and I knew immediately that my collar bone was broken. It took me a while to get up.

One of the other riders helped me up and then called 911. First the police, then the firefighters, then the ambulance arrived. I wound up at Valley Medical Center where they did the usual tests & cleanup. I called my dad and he came down to pick me up and get me on Amtrak back home.

The leader was in pretty poor shape too. When I hit him I either broke or at least separated one of his ribs. He told me that he was having difficulty taking a deep breath and he was quitting the ride to head back home.

Holy cow did my helmet take a hit. The next day I noticed bruising & tenderness in the area of my left temple and if that was the impact point then the helmet spared me some serious dain bramage. Looking at the helmet it is obviously broken, but it fulfilled its prime directive by sacrificing itself for me.

Damage to the bike was several broken spokes in the front wheel and two of my brand-new brake pads were knocked out and missing. My favorite jersey got scuffed a bit in the back where I was carrying my spare tire, my saddle was torn up too. I haven't had a chance to go over the rest of the bike yet. Unfortunately I was too wrapped up in my own problems to ask what damage the other rider had but I think he was changing a flat tire as I rolled out in the ambulance.

So I'm off the bike for 4 to 6 weeks. I'll be getting on the trainer shortly, hopefully I can keep some of my fitness.

Lessons learned:

1. Trust no one unless you've ridden with them before. I got caught up in the excitement of my first STP when I should have instead contacted my regular riding buddies and left with them.

2. Don't get caught up in the excitement. I don't know if I'll even bother trying to do the STP in the future, I feel that I spent a lot of money for a pretty bad experience


  1. Bleh. So sorry you were hurt. I tried to tell myself out there that an accident on a bike is just like an accident anywhere else, i.e. just inherently a fact of life, but with so many people doing any event at one time there are bound to be some scary moments. I hope you continue to have enjoyable rides after this, whether you do STP again or not.

  2. Ouch, sorry pal! Guess you don't want to hear about the blisters on my remote control finger. (Not anonymous, too lazy or unsophisticated to self identify.)