Monday, June 21, 2010


I was on my way to work, into a mild headwind. I was taking it very, very easy. Then, I got to the funner, hilly section. I tucked and coasted, picking up some good downhill speed. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a deer ahead of me, leaving some taller grass and running for the road. I eased into my brakes at first, but I was on a collision course. I tried to swerve away as best I could while braking hard with the front, sitting up and back to get some more traction to the rear tire, which I kept locking up. I got slowed down before impact, but I don't know by how much. The rest happened in slow motion.

The deer's hooves were on the asphalt, and I could hear it clopping. It was leaning away from me, and slipping. It looked me in the eye. Its tongue was out, too. Not sure what's up with that. My front tire hit the deer right in the ribs. According to the motorist behind me, I knocked it over, then it righted itself and took off.

My left shoe came off, and I landed first on my right shoulder and on the right-rear part of my helmet-covered head. My bike flipped over the deer and landed on me. I rolled over and skidded a while on my left lumbar, foot, knee and left elbow. I kept rolling, coming to rest on my knees, elbows and wrists, all of which took substantial damage.

A motorist called 911 and the paramedics arrived promptly. I was assessed and taken to OP Regional for X-rays and a trauma work-up.

Deer: unharmed.
Helmet: Shattered
Bike: Stem rotated 20* on steerer, easily fixed.
Me: Shallow but wide-covered road rash on right shoulder blade and left lumbar, deep abrasions on both knees, both wrists and on my left pinkie toe, Shattered left thumbnail, and two almost-bone-depth abrasions on my left elbow. I also have a really long shallow gash that runs the entire back of my right hand. No clue where that came from.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Glad your injuries weren't more serious than they are. Even so, sounds like you'll have some recovery time. Great story... I love that you noticed the deer's tongue. :-)

Ken Harris said...

Glad to hear you'll be ok.

nierman said...

Noah - Mark Rainey forwarded this news to me. Your story sounds all too familiar! I just hit a deer last month and she got away as well. I'm finally able to ride a bit, and yesterday morning (second ride since surgery) I hit a squirrel. Critters are crazy this year. I'm saving my wild turkey collision for November.

Hope things heal fast!


Mark said...

Good work, KC! I can just imagine that deer now down at the deer equivalent of a local bar telling his friends about the day he was broadsided by some crazed cyclist. :-)

Noah said...

Should I start painting little deer on The Twelve like WWII Aces did for downed enemy aircraft?

Apertome said...

If anything, the deer should be painting YOU on her side.

It sure is odd the details you remember in a situation like this. I remember when I got hit by a car, feeling its paint brush up against me and being surprised how smooth it was.

I'm glad your injuries weren't more serious, but it sounds like you took quite a beating.

You might want to double/triple check your fork, especially if it's carbon fiber ... if I remember correctly, it is.

When I was recovering from my broken finger when I was hit by aforementioned car, I played the situation back over and over again in my head. I am pretty convinced my finger got caught in the brake lever or handlebar somehow. Maybe that is how you got the gash on your right hand? Just a guess ...

I hope you heal quickly!

Noah said...

I was talking about that with a friend today, actually.

me: I do have to wonder about the integrity of my carbon fiber fork. I'll have to give it a really, really good inspection before I ride it again.
Andrew: Yeah. How to inspect? Know any friendly x-ray techs? Have a "before" image?
me: I'll probably remove it from the bike and look for surface damage only. I do understand that It isn't the best way, but it's what I have.
Andrew: Yep. Or ultrasound

Any other ideas for checking the carbon fork?

Apertome said...

I wish I knew. I would probably take it in to your Trek dealer; maybe they can take a look at it?

Although I can just see doing that with the Trek dealer here. I bet they'd just say, "It looks fine to me ..."

Jon said...

Duuuuude! I'm glad you came out as well as you did, but that's pretty harsh!

Personally, I would just get another fork, if you can swing it. I might have an old road fork that you could use, temporarily, if you want. I replaced a few broken carbon forks through the years at the bike shop, and the story was never pretty...

I've hit one deer on a bike, but I was at the top of a long climb, doing about 5 mph at the time. Doesn't compare.

Noah said...

I'm partially torn. I think I'd like to get a black steel or aluminum fork with the halfway-down eyelets for a front pannier rack. My frame is great with ample eyelets for my needs. A good, durable, rack-ready front fork is all I need to really turn it the rest of the way into a touring bike.

Paul in Minneapolis said...

A few years ago, in N.W. GA. I was on a quite road heading down to a river. About 200 feet something was in the woods ahead.. It was dark. Roughly 100 feet it became visable, big and dark brown... at 70 the cow started crossing the street.. The bike was over 25mph. or ~30 feet per second.. As I hit the breaks, I screamed and the cow moved fasters, allowing me to pass behind it... but just in front of the second cow that I didn't see before...
Glad you weren't hurt any worse and hope you heal fast!

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