On March 7th, one of the first sunny Saturdays this spring, I joined the CSU triathlon team for a morning brick workout. After a short run around Spring Canyon Park, we sent riders down Overland Trail every 20 seconds towards a short circuit around Bingham Hill. Off to a good start, I got up on the hoods to ride through the intersection of Drake and Overland somewhat defensively. Assuming I would stop, an SUV turned left onto Drake road at the worst possible moment. In the half second I had to react, I hopelessly locked up my brakes and crashed into the side of the vehicle. That’s when the seconds felt like minutes and I started to think about everything; my wrecked bike, my parents, Jeff Wicks’ hit and run in Loveland, my job, my girlfriend, my triathlon season, everything. Unable to get any significant breath, I laid there, mind still racing, until someone was slapping my face, trying to wake me up. I remember hearing “former EMT”, “fireman”, “blocking traffic”, and I tried my best to answer this stranger’s questions until the ambulance came. The pain meds they give on the way to the hospital mask a lot of the pain, but later a Ct scan and multiple x-rays showed that I collapsed my right lung and partially collapsed my left lung. I broke my collarbone (again), my scaphoid, my radius, and one rib. But at least I had a perfect view of Horsetooth Rock from my hospital bed, and on that first night my girlfriend and I shared a bowl of Jell-O and watched the sunset
Early the next day I get a text message from a guy I’ve never met, Tom Carter, saying “Don’t eat that crap food they give you at the hospital this morning. I’ll see you in 30 minutes.” Soon I was chowing down on a breakfast sandwich from Backcountry Delicatessen, thinking, “Man, this is too good to be true”. Tom told me all about the Wounded Rider Program and how Dan Porter started the program to help local cyclists hospitalized after bad bike accidents. Tom gave me an Otterbox backpack full of gift cards from local shops (including Backcountry Delicatessen). YGR gave me a a free Road ID that I proudly wear on my other, functional wrist. Podium Sports helped out with the Wounded Rider Program by giving me a coupon for a free massage. There were even a few Chocolate Chip BRAAAP bars hidden away in that bag.
After two-too-many nights in the hospital, I get back home and start assessing the damage to my un-rideable chunk of carbon. It’s easy to get discouraged when your bike is trashed and you know it’s going to be a long time before you can ride again. But that’s when Tom stepped in and told me not to worry, that there are a lot of people anxious to help me. A week later, the guys over at Peloton Cycles gave me a brand new Specialized helmet, and then the folks at ProVelo got me rolling on a new set of wheels. My friends over at Lee’s Cyclery offered a free tune up once I’m up and riding again.
I knew the road to recovery was going to be physically and emotionally taxing, but the Wounded Rider Program made it easy to stick to the optimistic path. I’ve lived in the Fort for a year now, and unfortunately it took a crash to realize this, but I live in a pretty amazing place. The way the Fort Collins cycling community came together to support me during my recovery was truly incredible, and unlike anything else. It definitely speaks to the kindness and selflessness of cyclist in this city. I’m extremely thankful that I can live here and ride with such great people. See you on the road!
Many thanks to WRP Director Tom Carter and all the YGR Supporters that make this program possible.
June 14th transformed lives.
She wasn’t drunk. She wasn’t high. She has no criminal record.
Peggy Brown wasn’t texting, IM’ing, or chatting on the phone. She was driving. A visitor from Des Moines, she was driving to the Sculpture Garden around the picturesque Loveland Lake on Father’s day weekend. She is 72.
Jeff Wicks, my husband, set out on a 4 hour training ride on the same big blue skied Colorado morning. August 3rd beckoned—his first full IRONMAN; A goal for himself in his 40th year.
Their lives collided in Loveland: He, on his recently purchased and pined for beautiful tri bike, she, in her white Mazda protégé.
An abrupt errant turn; an elite athlete making great time on his ride, and a collision. 170 pounds of cyclist flesh pounding into a passenger window…shattering it, and life as we knew it.
Look all ways.
And then. She fled. She left my husband on the asphalt, broken and bleeding. She left a human on the road; his blood on her car amidst the beads of glass.
While Peggy panicked, Jeff bled.
I got the call. “It would be best if you don’t bring your children.”
Still adorning pajamas, I put keys in the ignition and remember little else of the drive. Walking toward the ER, the father of our children bloodied and silent, lay splayed on a gurney. Meatloaf. I heard labored breathing through coagulated nostrils. Meatloaf with life.
Massive road rash, patella edema, fractured wrist, stapled double wrist lacerations, tendon damage, 7 inch moon-shaped stapled shoulder laceration, fractured tooth, at-risk teeth, broken nose, major soft tissue facial trauma, and…head trauma.
Oh Peggy. I know you meant no harm, yet harmed you did. You severely injured and deserted a HUMAN in need. Given you are 72…I implore you to teach your descendants to never follow those tiresteps. Thank-you.
Run from it or learn from it.
Pettiness is not my MO. Holding onto ‘other people’s crap’ that gets flung intentionally or not...won’t help my husband play with his little kiddos with ease, assist him with his return to OtterBox any quicker, get back to training for his ironman dream any sooner, or take any of our pain away.
We. Are. Fractured.
I fed a grown man jello. I helped pick tooth fragments and white mazda protégé paint chip fragments out of his mangled face. Helplessly, I watched an incredibly strong man crumble a little when his daughter was afraid to approach his ‘new face’.
And, Peggy Brown, 72, from Des Moines, Iowa…
I. Forgive. You.
I’m not holding onto the darkness. It’s all yours. I wish you the best.
We’re forging ahead. PT. OT, ST, NeuroPsych, Ortho, and Dentistry beckon. Jeff Wicks really is an Ironman. So there.
Local ultra distance mountain biker, Scott Ruff, became the second recipient of YGR Wounded Rider Program benefits. YGR WRP director, Gretchen Potts met with at the New Belgium Short Track Races on Tuesday. Here's what she had to say.
I met up with Scott Ruff today at the New Belgium Short Track. Its been a few weeks since his accident and he is up and around now. Scott told me that they just removed the bands immobilizing his jaw and it was nice to see him smiling. So the story goes that he was in Fruita, CO with friends riding the Kokopelli trail. They were on the Horsethief Bench portion of the trail system when he went down, over the bars. Unfortunately his chin stopped the fall, and his jaw was broken in two places. He was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery in Grand Junction to repair his jaw. He has had some difficulty with the recovery because his jaw healed "sorta crooked" and his teeth are not lined up.....which makes it real difficult to chew food. Apparently one of the fractures was too close to a major nerve to allow any major bone manipulation. The good news is that this can...and will be fixed....but its gonna take a little time. So we made sure he had lots of Noosa yogurt and plenty of Walrus ice cream to help stem the tide. He was very grateful for the care package and happy to know the NoCo cycling community is looking out for him. He thinks that this year he will sit out the Colorado Trail Race but plans to be back at it next year. Thanks again folks.
Gretchen Potts, YGR Wounded Rider Program Director, dropped off the first ever WRP kit to Jeff Noffsinger on Wednesday. Jeff sustained serious injuries during a high speed crash on Ford hill on Friday May 23rd. Jeff was released from MCR on Tuesday and is recovering from surgery to repair a fractured vertebrae, broken rib, road rash and staples in his head.
Here's what's left of Jeff's helmet, 808s and Pinarello
Big thanks to Gretchen Potts and all the sponsors that make this program possible.
After years of deliberation, I'm excited to announce the YGR Wounded Rider Program. The W.R.P. will support competitive cyclists who are injured while racing and training.
Here is how the program will work, if a local (Northern Colorado) racer goes down and ends up in the emergency room and/or out of work, YGR will supply the rider with a 'crash kit'. The kit will include items to help the rider and his/her family during their recovery and lessen the financial and emotional impact on them. With the support of local, regional and national entities the kit will include; a new helmet, new sunglasses, a RoadID, local beer, restaurant gift cards, massage gift cards, magazines, comfort food, new kit, Neosporin, Tegaderm, bandages, DVDs, toys for his/her kids and something for their spouse... It could be expanded to include house cleaning gift cards, cooking meals and lawn mowing.
Each kit will be customized to the rider; i.e., a single rider living on his/her own that was in the e.r. with road rash will get something completely different than a masters racer who is in the hospital with broken bones and has a wife and kids.
Every time a rider would get hurt, I'd start working on the program. Accidents that included Stuart Culp, Tim Anderson, Steve Porter, Clint Knapp, Matt Kennedy, Steve Workman, Justin Brunner, and myself contributed to the start of the program, the accident that included Paul Bass brought it to fruition.
In order to be eligible for the WRP, the rider must be; local, a racer or closely affiliated with the local scene (grassroots counts), and injured badly enough to earn a trip to the hospital and/or out of work for a while. I'd love to help every single injured rider but the program has limited funds, and I have limited time.
The program is currently supported by;
The First City Cycling Team- Financial backing
ProVelo Bicylces- Helmets
Spex Optical- Sunglasses
Backcountry Delicatessen- gift cards
Tokyo Joe's- gift cards
Jon Garcia Massage- gift cards
Podium Massage- gift cards
Fast Freddie Apparel-kits
Stuart Thomas Commercial Real Estate- restaurant gift cards
BRAAP Nutrition- BRAAAP Bars
Even though I am very excited to get this program established, I hope we rarely use it.