September 20, 2020 Login  


Alex Zanardi bike wreck
Last Post 07/23/2020 12:48 PM by Orange Crush. 10 Replies.
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Dale

Posts:1289

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06/21/2020 04:01 AM
...crap, hated to see this. Such a magnificent person.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/20/motorsport/alex-zanardi-coma-cycling-accident-paralympics/index.html
zootracer

Posts:720

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06/21/2020 11:02 AM
Yeah, saw that. Pretty sad. Very brave individual...
79pmooney

Posts:2413

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06/21/2020 12:47 PM
Dale, that brings up a lot of memories for me. My accident and coma and life after. The daughter of my mom's friend, exactly my age (and put me off big time growing up - she was talented, athletic and smart) had a tumor removed from her spinal cord at the same time. (My mom knew, I had no clue.)

A year later I was in her mom's living room, hearing her talk of her depression not being strong enough to get out of the house. I heard someone who had to go through the same hard work I had to do to race that previous summer. Asked her if she was willing to do that work with me as a coach. Yes. And I got to watch her go from barely able to get out of the house on her crutches to walking 2 miles on (the very so-so) Boston residential streets.

Alex Zinardi is far more famous than my friend. But I see the same passion in both. Both know the confines of a hospital room very well. (My visits never exceeded 3 weeks.) I don't know what is in store for him. I just hope his fire doesn't go out while he still has a living body.

Ben
Cosmic Kid

Posts:3193

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06/22/2020 09:01 AM
Good lord...imagine being in not one, but two horrific accidents like Zanardi.

Awful news....hoping for a full recovery.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2986

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07/21/2020 11:07 AM
He got released from hospital today and is on to neurological recovery centre.
79pmooney

Posts:2413

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07/21/2020 01:02 PM
So he was in the hospital for a month. It was three weeks for me. My mom took me back to my childhood home. 6 weeks later I was back in my apartment and got to see the physical aspects of a life lived by someone else.

Alex's journey is going to be very different from mine, but probably the same "the life I lived before was someone else's. I just know a lot about it. And everyone believes I was there but it was not me." I am slowly re-claiming that life but it's been over 40 years since my current life started.

My best friend, also a woman my age who, as a high school senior, had a life altering accident, told me after mine that it would be 7 years before I would feel the accident was passed and I was out of the shadow; that those years would be crazy and hard beyond conception, that I would not be understood by family and friends and that she knew I was going to make it. She was right. Two gifts kept me away from death by suicide or crazy, hard drugs and institutions. My bike and marijuana, often together.

Aside - another of the gifts I received from others - Jim Heaney, the mechanic at Open Air Cycles in Boston, the local hangout for cyclists/stoners quietly took me under his wing when I showed up a few weeks after getting back to my apartment. I had no idea, but he saw to it that others treated me carefully and that no drugs were to be seen while I was there. After the huge snowstorm, he lent me an old Raleigh DL-1 to get home. The love was back! Thank you, Jim. And later, he gave me a little marijuana to smoke and watched carefully to see how I was going to react. Like my little spin on the exercise bike at PT, it was a glimpse into a world of "normal", just doing and being what I knew. The link to sanity, the slowing of the barrage of everything being new to the point where I just wanted to say 'Stop!" That spring, he and his brother talked the club's sponsoring bike shop to employ me and told me to go there and inquire. The shop's mechanic, a lifelong bike mechanic, patiently put up with me learning how to use tools and assemble bikes. 10 years ago I called Jim and thanked him. His answer; "That's just what friends do."

Alex will have access to far more support than I had. it's a different world now. And he has the love of a country. (It's funny now, but I had no idea I'd become something of a local celebrity after mine. Everyone in the Boston cycling community knew. But since I wasn't well known outside two cycling clubs, not many knew me by sight. And after my last season of racing, I went across the country for work. On my visits back to see friends and family, not many others recognized me. But any bike shop employee could tell me about my accident!)

Alex's challenge now is going to be the supreme one - accepting what is, the plate he has been served. Yes, he has to step up and do all this recovery stuff and slowly piece this new life together, but understanding the whole time that this new life is not building or re-building from the past but a whole new ballgame where he doesn't even know the rules.

Alex, find the source of your strength and hang on to it! I rode a miserable trainer in my first post-hospital PT session and it was "I'm on the bike! This is my escape; the place where nothing else matters." Find that place and keep it close. (My Mooney was built to do that. A machine capable of being ridden in any of the 12 months in any of the lower 48 states - because I knew I had to have that to stay alive, sane and free of institutions.) Alex, your journey, your new life starts here. You will never see this but know that I know you are going to do this.

Ben
thinline

Posts:285

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07/23/2020 07:11 AM
Ben,

An inspirational story. I too had my bad accident. A car accident on a mountain road. I was going up and a water tanker truck towing a flat bed with a skid steer on it was coming down with no brakes. As I was approaching a blind left hairpin the truck came slewing around the corner sideways with the flatbed jack-knifing behind it. That's about all I remember until I regained consciousness pinned under the truck with my car crushed like a cheap beer can.

My physical injuries were surprisingly limited, though none of the first responders could later explain to me why I survived (one of those an inch in any direction moments they said) or having survived why mt legs weren't completely crushed. It sure felt like they were during the extraction process. That took about two hours because they had to take the truck off my car while both vehicle were perched atop a crushed guardrail with a steep embankment down to a ravine the end result in case of an error.

But, I did suffer multiple tbis and ptsd. So, I know that road back. That was 10 years ago this September 13. On the anniversary each year I try to make a point of pedaling my bike up that mountain pass and uttering a little f*** you to the spot that tried to take me.

As I sit here with my ankle newly rebuilt with plates and crews and four weeks into 8 weeks of no weight bearing, that was a great reminder to be grateful and know that while the road back is always unique with it challenges, in the end it's just another road to ride.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:3193

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07/23/2020 09:32 AM
I remember that story well, thinline.....hard to believe it has been 10 years. But is has been 11 since my DVT and PE, so there ya go....

Completing my first full Ironman was definitely my *middle finger* to my Achilles and blood clot. For probably close to 2 years, I thought I would never be able to run again, or even walk pain free.

Every journey to recovery starts with a single step....the path isn't straight, the climb is not linear, but we can all get to where we are going.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2986

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07/23/2020 10:05 AM
Holy hell guys.
thinline

Posts:285

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07/23/2020 10:47 AM
OC,  I remember going back to get my brain scanned after 5 or 6 weeks and being told that the injuries were healing well and if I felt strong enough, I could get on my bike trainer for very light spinning for short periods.  The concern was if I exercised with any intensity it would elevate my blood pressure enough to rupture the bleed sites in my brain and I would be back to square one.

I went home, got on my trainer, pedaled with no resistance at a crawl pace for about 20 minutes, got off and cried like a baby because it hit home that I would maybe be able to pedal a bike again.
Orange Crush

Posts:2986

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07/23/2020 12:48 PM
Thinline - these stories are a stark reminder how lucky some of us including myself have been to date.

As a youngster riding to highschool, I slid out on black ice into oncoming traffic. The car coming other way and I came to a halt about a foot apart.

I had a brake cable snatch coming down a big mountain in Austria. The cable snatched just as I was at bottom of hill.

I was hit at full speed by a car on one of local hills but it was only its mirror that nicked my handlebars and somewhat miraculously I stayed upright even though force was strong enough for front wheel to be bumped askew.

On concussion front, I once tried to show my kids how fit old dad still was by leaping at full speed over our picknick table. My forehead hit the huge apple tree branch hanging over the table with a lot of force. Typically this would have been severe concussion material. I got away with just shaking my head at failure to acknowledge presence of the tree branch and no other consequences.

One would think that at some point I'd run out of luck but who knows. ( I will never win the lottery, that is the balance I guess).

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