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Old 03-21-2013, 10:14 AM   #27
Sideoff OP
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Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Hood River, OR
Oddometer: 470
It's a long, all-dirt ride from PL down into nicaragua and I was really excited to get back on the road!! After all those days on boats i couldn't wait to get back on the bike and actually ride.

Grabbed some breakfast in PL. Briefly met a missionary named Alex who lives in PL (he'll come back into the story later) who stopped in the same restaurant to get coffee. Got my exit stamps and canceled my honduras vehicle permit in PL at the immigration/customs offices in PL without difficulty.

Hit the road. It was an easy, flat ride and I was ripping along with music playing in my helmet, feeling good. About 50 miles outside PL I stopped at this military checkpoint and had a nice chat with the soldiers.



About 15 miles after that checkpoint I suddenly came up on a series of three dips in the road right in front of me. Hit the brakes but it was too late. Caught air off the first dip, hammered into the uphill part of the second dip, boosted up and forward in an awkward position with the front wheel way too low. Front wheel hit the uphill of the third dip at too steep an angle. I went somersaulting over the bars with the bike following behind. Took some hits on the head, shoulder, and legs, finally coming to a rest about 20 feet past the bike.

Took a quick inventory. Neck, shoulder, and left shin hurt but not too bad. Shoulder worked. Neck was fine. Ankle probably sprained. Ok, shit, I'm going to walk away! Then I tried to stand up. Felt a lot of pain shoot through my whole body. Caught me by surprise. Fell back onto the ground. Looked down my leg and saw that my ankle was dangling awkwardly to the left. Turned my leg and knee to the right but ankle did not follow, only terrible pain. Oh shit, I realized, my ankle is no longer connected to my knee. FFFFF!!!

Figured I was really on my own here. Spent about 30 minutes dragging around on my butt with my hands gathering bags and various bike parts back into one pile near the bike. Plan was to get the bike vertical and then either re-attach bags or hide them in the bushes and slowly ride back to the military checkpoint I had passed in 1st gear (since my left leg was the broken one).

Bike had landed with wheels up on a small hill and i knew i wouldn't be able to get it upright like that. With my functional leg I dragged it onto flat ground and disconnected the remaining bags to reduce the weight. Tried putting my back to the bike and lifting like I would normally do, but with one leg. Could get the bike 1 ft of the ground but then was stuck there. With only one leg I couldn't re-adjust my grip to lift any further. A couple times I tried using my left leg but it was useless. Tried to put weight on it but the pain was unbearable, plus my calf just buckled under the weight. Left me cursing, sweating, and rolling around on the ground. Also tried lifting the bike forwards but it was no use, couldn't even get it to budge like that.

Tried everything I could think of. As hard as this was for me to accept at the time, it was not possible to get the 450lb bike upright using one leg. At least not in the condition I was in at the time. Every attempt was causing me to sweat and curse and get more and more tired and I was at risk of using up my limited water supply. I knew that I could easily be spending the night there and needed to conserve my water. Plus I was totally exhausted and in a lot of pain. Didn't know whether my leg was bleeding inside the boot or not but did not want to take it off to check.

Realized that I was not going to ride myself out of this situation. I had two options: wait for help or try to walk. Dragged around on my butt until I found a walking stick. Tried to walk but quickly established that hopping 15 miles was going to be outrageously difficult. Decided that my smartest move was to sit tight and see if anyone came along. I had a SPOT locator beacon, at this point I hit the 911 emergency button. I bought rescue insurance through SPOT, and I also bought a separate travel emergency health insurance policy which included medical evacuation. I just needed to get to somewhere where I had communications.

Propped up against the pile of bags and sat back to wait. Figured I might as well take a few pics while I was there.





In this pic, if you look really closely at the road, you can kind of see the little dips that sent me flying. After riding 9,000 miles to get to this spot including thousands and thousands of miles of dirt, I couldn't believe I was sitting on this easy, graded road with a broken leg. But so it goes. The surprise is what got me. I should have been riding more conservatively.



After snapping these pics I sat back, shut my eyes, and waited.
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