Watching Paint Dry



Barring a a comeback of Biblical proportions, I don’t think I’ll fulfill this start roster by Saturday for Suisse.

Bummed? Yes. Angry? Sure. Irate? Umm, that’s a stretch, but yeah think I’ve tapped into that too the past few days. In fact, I think Ron Burgundy sums it up best:

(Alternatively, Peter also sums up the truth pretty well too.)

Let’s do a bit of Quentin Tarantino’ing by showing the final product and backtracking through the meat-and-potatoes to figure out what happened.

Final product:

And now everything else:

Perhaps a few doctors are reading along today, but what I see is a mangled collarbone from a fracture in my early 2003 amateur days (that’s the kink in the collarbone, although truth be told it healed really well) alongside a recent and gnarly fracture of the distal end of my clavicle. Summary: oww.

The emotional roller coaster is partially on account of coming off an exciting podium finish less than one week before. The high highs come crashing down all too quickly to low lows. So maybe among other inspirational quotes that I’ve mentioned uttered from Dear-ol’-Dad lately is, “Pride cometh before a fall.” In this case, literally. Thankfully he hasn’t yet said it to me in this instance or I might bop him in the nose. With my good arm, naturally.

Regardless of that, sparing details here’s how it went down. It was now lap three of Philly’s ten large laps and we were riding into the town of Manayunk where there is a left hand turn. I had approached this section the previous two laps on the right side of the road. Deciding that scoping different options of the course would be prudent for when the you-know-what is hitting the you-know-what later in the race, this time around I opted for the left side of the road going through this particular section. Moving towards the side of the peloton to sprint up the side and gain position, I’m surrounded by 150 of my best friends comprising the peloton and the second I went left, the ground fell out from under me as my front wheel went into this. See that perfectly large, 2″ gap between the right side of the grate and the pavement? Yeah, that ate my wheel like the hungry metal’y-pavement’y jerk it is.

You see, this is where my emotions tend towards angry/frustrated/absolutely irate with emphasis on the last. Why there’s absolutely nothing in the race to warn us cyclists of this danger is absurd. 99% of the time, I’m not one to raise my hand and put up a stink about this sort of thing; dangerous conditions are nearly inevitable over the course of a 256km race. Give me a break, I raced two Giros and didn’t say much about those 6,000+km of menacing hilarity. BUT if the race organizers are going to have us effectively sign our lives away in their waver, they should have the common courtesy and decency to make a safe course. Construction zones, 18″ tall orange cones as “barriers” in the middle of the road (which are unseen by people behind the front row of a hard charging peloton), and with apologies to the people who know what they’re doing, the inept team of folks marshaling the course all really get me revved up here… yup, here at home nursing a broken collarbone, some gory road rash, and bused ribs, precisely and exclusively because of dangerous roads.

There. Broken. Crud.

This is me on the podium last week at nationals. I stole the photo from the internet. But thinking further about it, the photo is of me and it wouldn’t be a worthy photo if it weren’t for my handsome grill being all up front and center. So I think the actual intellectual property rights belong to me, correct? Anyway, apparently I had unbeknownst foresight there on my 3rd tallest podium stool and that something crappy was on the horizon and I’m therefore sticking my tongue out at its general direction. Booo hisssss!

I’ve come to this discovery: if you want to be graciously inundated with messages, I recommend breaking your collarbone one week after a podium performance at nationals. It becomes a double-whammy. I really can’t thank you all enough for the prayers, thoughts of healing, and general well wishes. I’m as flattered right now as I am in pain as I am thankful. The emotional roller coaster hits it’s high points when I see these messages. Virtual high-fives all around! Truly truly truly, thank you.

Similar to last week’s events where Timmy and I had our socks blown off with the number of people selflessly coming out of the woodwork to offer their generous support at nationals, I thank you for offer help of referrals to doctors, medical personnel, access to hospitals, and the like all throughout the eastern seaboard. The few offers of baked goods were also generously received. I also accept the get-well wine and beer offers, coincidentally.

Here’s another beauty of the fam. I think it’s a Christmas card in the making once we photoshop brother Robbie in there somewhere. I’m especially fond of my crying, Mom blinking, and Dad’s right hand.

And coincidentally a friend of mine who stares at computer screens or camera viewfinders for most of the day has taken the time to create the King family 2011 Christmas card, with Robbie superimposed and all. I nearly punctured a lung laughing with my broken ribs. So that hurt, but otherwise things are great. Ho ho ho!

One great irony of my parents being at this race is that this is the first “big” race that they’ve seen me do. But they didn’t actually get to see me do it. Travel is tough with my Dad post-stroke, and I became a professional cyclist after my dad’s stroke, so it’s faaaaar from easy to make it to Europe to watch races, or even to attend Tour(s) of CA/MO/GA and so forth – the aforementioned “big” races. So I was thrilled to have them coming to Philly since it was a mere seven hour drive down! Kind of a stinky poopy bummer that I therefore broke myself. That said, they were then friendly enough to take me home too, so thanks Mom and Dad for your loving company.

I will now fast-forward straight through the undue stress and strain this morning post doc’ appointment during the scheduling of my surgery when insurance went through a brief three hour hiccup at the fright of an out-of-state treatment. Yup, I’ll skip that entirely. So now up to the present, I’m due for surgery on Friday. BAM, pin and plate that badboy back together.

Friday, instead of sooner, because in addition to other problems from which I’m ailing right now, I have some road rash on the back and shoulder and we’re reducing the risk of infection by allowing an extra few days of healing of the skin. Skin. Epidermis. The largest organ in (…on) the body. Nice. Okidoke, you’re the boss doc.

The only really crummy part of the surgery are these pre-op’ instructions from my surgeon. Do not eat or drink after midnight unless otherwise instructed. This includes food, all liquids, hard candy, gum or mints.

No coffee is sad, obviously.

 



Comments

  1. Renee Sicchitano

    Ted,

    that’s my picture of you on the podium sticking your tongue out at who knows what. I’m flattered that you used it, and if it made you laugh in your time of pain, so much the better. Make a poster of it to remind you of that great third place finish.

    I hope your surgery goes well and that you mend quickly and we can see you back out on the roads soon. There’s always next year for a trip to France.

    Renee

    Reply
  2. Andrew

    I was wondering how they were going to handle routing through that area- there are 3-4 separate construction projects happening all at once right around there. I guess the answer is that they didn’t handle routing at all.

    The worst is that a a lot of the construction is to make it more bikeable- that’s a major conduit for riders heading out of the city, but that road also intersects a highway interchange and public transit hub, and it’s just a clusterfuck sandwiched next to the river there.

    Hope your recovery goes well- heal up, come back next year, and you should have clear roads and plenty of fans happy to see you back.

    Reply
  3. Jen

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, then…that x-ray…yikes. Best wishes for a speedy recovery so you can get back to some speedy bike racing!

    Reply
  4. Steve Jacques

    I remember the 2003 break, you were working for Papa Wheelies that summer with the Wyoming kids. So, if you’ve got some free time and want to come sell some Cannondales, we can set you up. People will flock in to buy EVO’s and see you, Ted.

    Seriously though, I too am in pain for you my friend. You’ve been kicking ass all season and have made us locals proud (exclamation point)! You will heal up quickly and be back in the saddle before you know it.

    …and seriously, come by the shop for a visit if you’re in town.

    All the best,
    Steve

    Reply
  5. DoubleB

    Glad you can laugh about it. I know the last few nights of sleep have probably sucked. It was the first bone I ever broke and I can say that its one of the easiest. You will be riding in no time and we can all cheer you on sooner. Best of luck!

    BB

    Reply
  6. Emma

    Wow. The macabre voyeur in me was secretly hoping you’d post an x-ray pic. Having seen it though, that made me more nauseous than anticipated, as did the mentions on plates and pins! I can only imagine how you felt! Hope you heal quick, I don’t think a get well beer would travel too well but I would be more than happy to drink one in your honor! :)

    Reply
  7. Tom Mills

    Ted,
    Your fans in Virginia wish you well and I’m sure you will be back on a trainer in no time after the plate and pin. We wish you a very sucessful surgery and a speedy recovery. I will tell Phil Robb that a new shirt design is in order for your fans. Something inspirational for all of us who have hit the pave hard and lived to tell the tales. Looking forward to seeing you on the podium again soon.

    Sincerely,
    Tom Mills

    Reply
  8. Joy

    Those sorts of grates are all over Pittsburgh, and presumably also Philly. Not only that, they’re not even the worst sort – there’s a type with slots parallel to the road, and a downwards tilt into the gutter, and a gaping maw of an unguarded hole that can swallow not only your entire wheel, but your entire leg. Anyway, local riders may assume, parochially, that nobody’s going to ride the edges of the road. Because there are just too darn many to flag all of them. (Note to PA readers / riders–this isn’t normal, we just think it is.) Good luck on the recovery, and stay awesome.

    Reply
  9. Maggie

    The real question is why aren’t you on the Movistar Team?!

    Glad you’re ok and I’ll see if I can somehow send baked goods AND beers.

    Love!

    Reply
  10. Nicole

    Heal well and quickly. Hope to see you on the roads of Colorado in August.

    Reply
    • nicolio

      Ha, another Nicole from CO wanting to post the exact same thing. Get the plate, preferably titanium & start riding one handed. The BF started riding to Ward two weeks after and I pick him up so he can skip the descent. Too bad you’re in NH, we have a $5,999 plate you could have. J/K

      Reply
  11. Shannon G

    Do not eat or drink after midnight? Will you turn into a Gremlin if you do? Heal fast Gizmo, we want to see you out and riding again soon.

    Reply
  12. Dave

    Ted,
    By no means making fun of the injury but the Christmas card is seriously funny. The shop I work at is now huge Ted King followers and again very sorry for the luck at Philly. Good luck with surgery and shout out if you need anything.

    Vance

    Reply
  13. Ness

    Hi Ted, your Aussie fans are hoping you get well soon. Good luck with the surgery.

    Reply
  14. Patti

    Hope the surgery goes well, and a you have a quick recovery! If I knew how to send beer over the border I would. I guess I’ll just have to drink one in your honour.

    Reply
  15. Steve M

    Ouch, ouch, ouch. We’re sharing the highs and lows right along with you thanks to your generous spirit and great writing. (I’ve got a plate, too, but your bone is way nastier looking.)Be well!

    Reply
  16. Renee

    Ted,

    I grew up in Pittsburgh, and after seeing the picture of the storm drain that caused your accident, I had a flashback to my childhood and the connection with those terrible storm drains. First of all, anyone who lives in PA will tell you they have the worst roads ever. Those storm drains are everywhere in the neighborhoods in Pgh, and at various times they swallowed my roller skates, many baseballs and wiffle balls, and one literally ate my lunch once when I was trying to get on the school bus and my lunch box came open. I think I was in first or second grade at the time, so there was much crying involved and the incident caused me to hate those drains more than most people. So you have my full support should you ever want to petition the PA government to blow up those dangerous things.

    Reply
  17. John

    Enjoyed your article about pinning your number on as a professional. When you got third at nats. I knew who you were from the article.

    So sorry about the crash. You’ll come back even stronger. Get well soon,

    John

    Reply
  18. Colin

    I live four clicks from Manayunk, and know exactly where that crap is. Bunch of shit, right?? How about at the start/finish? I guess it’s going to look nice when it’s finished, but dude, kid, right now, in some of the most picaresque parts of the city, wicked nasty. So, sorry about the injury, way to go on the recent podium, I was stoked when you joined Liquigas, and that old photo of you pointing at Ivan Basso in the workout room cracks me up.

    Reply
  19. Emory

    Hope you heal fast Ted. I remember watching you ride away with the win at the Hanes Park crit right before the news broke that you were headed to Cevelo. It was a super hot day and real hard fought win by you that showed a ton of determination, the same determination that Im sure will serve you well now.

    http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/photos.php?id=/photos/2008/aug08/hanespark08/DSC_0220

    Reply
  20. Aike

    Hello Ted,

    Sorry to hear about your crash and injury. I really hope you will make a strong comeback.

    I was also on the course of the Philly race and honestly if you consider the Philly course to be a dangerous course you can cancel 99% of the belgium races which has the same kind of gaps between the famous concrete road parts….

    I know from close by what the organisers of the Philly race do to make the biggest one day cyclingevent in the Usa to happen. Going so public about your view on the course is not helping the organisers to make this course more secure. As much as i understand your disapointment and comments on the course i think you also should consider the organisers work and effort.
    I send my guys on a recon ride like 98% of the other riders did. And we discussed this issues of the course. My riders came prepared…

    Put your energy in a fast return!

    Aike

    Reply
    • iamtedking

      In all honesty I have not taken my views public. I respect when organizers and course marshals take the time to indicate dangers in the road. Other high standing races such as Tours of California and USPro championships and others DO indicate such dangers. These egregious dangers and lack of care to point them out to the racers is simply asking for disaster. I am not writing this as a surly bike racer nursing a broken collarbone. I am saying this as an incredibly thoughtful professional cyclist trying to respect his profession.

      Oh and the Belgian bit? Try me pal, I’ve raced dozens of races in Belgium and hundreds of European races. I know that they make American races look like a pleasant jaunt in the park. I know they’re dangerous. But those races have the personnel and infrastructure to point out such obstacles. There is an enormous fleet of motorcycles caring for the course, taking fans off the course, and making for a safe race. Two Giro’s Aike. Two. I can’t even begin to explain how dangerous that race is. Makes Philly look like a walk in the park. Did you not read that part of my blog entry?

      Look, that course was dangerous. The talk after the race was the state of the danger. I’m looking out for my livelihood and profession. Dangerous races for the sake of NASCAR entertainment can remain elsewhere. I tastefully discussed these same issues with the organization. If you look at the state of Philly as compared to years past, you can guess that they need to make a seizable change if they want to continue in the coming years because without the resources, teams will look at this year and recent failing years and simply take their teams elsewhere.

      Reply
  21. DJ

    Ted, good luck with the surgery tomorrow! What a bummer after your knee injury earlier in the year…hope you recover soon and well!!

    Reply
  22. mike hale

    Ted rode our local Grasshopper series in Sonoma County in late April and was such a cool guy. I was stoked to be sitting on his wheel while we passed my mailbox (it was at the start, ok). Your large fan base in NorCal wishes you a super speedy recovery and a start at next years Tour. Tell me where to ship the wine and I’ll send some home grown for your down week.

    Peace,
    Dario

    Reply
  23. david

    Sorry to hear of your latest set back. If you are heading to NH for recovery, I can tell you the fried clams here in Maine are tasting pretty good.

    Heal quickly.
    David

    Reply
  24. Nate Rogers

    hey ted –
    know i haven’t seen you or been in touch in years, but i’ve been keeping up with how you’re doing. was stoked to see you killing it last week on tv, and really bummed to read about your recent setback. wishing you a fast recovery bud – hope to ride with you again one day soon.
    take care!
    -nate

    Reply
  25. Boozan

    Nothing says pro bike racer than a plate holding together the old collarbone. Get well soon! GMSR is fast approaching.

    Reply
  26. Mike Iavarone

    Ted,
    Mike in California, Lucas’s friend and the acupuncturist you worked a bit with this winter.
    I wanted to extend my sympathy for your recent injury. I can imagine your anger and frustration at this time and for good reason. Try to put that energy into a positive energy to get yourself healed so you can come back better than ever.
    Stai Bene
    Mike L.Ac, MTCM, CMT

    Reply
  27. Corey

    Sorry to see this happened to you and I hope you recover well and quickly. I shattered my jaw last season thanks to a similar encounter with a metal grate…sadly, mine wasn’t in a race, I was just going to the store after a ride (and on my way to a race later that day). Needless to say, I’m racing with a lot of emotion in the tank this season (eating through a straw gets you pretty pissed off…and hungry) which has led to some pretty decent finishes. Good luck again and all the best.

    Reply
  28. Dour Scot

    I’m guessing the drain shrank in the rain, yes? That is some broken bone.

    Hope you get back on your bike soon and back to Europe too. Meanwhile, why no bike books in your reading list?

    Reply
  29. Kashy

    Glad to hear you are back in the saddle Ted. So sorry this happened and what an unfortunate incident. I share your views on why you should be frustrated.

    From Sonoma County where you crushed it at Pine Flat at the Grass Hopper!

    Kashy

    Reply

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