Friday, June 06, 2008

Went down on way to Two Bits Rally

Today was supposed to be the day for the Two Bits Rally starting in Frisco, CO. My first taste of Rally activities similar to a "scavenger" hunt while riding a motorcycle along a base route.

Instead it was my first taste of a high speed crash on a motorcycle.

BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front: I am ok, just a separated shoulder. Practicing ATGATT and wearing a helmet and Cycleport gear paid off today I am here to tell you.

Frisco, CO is on the other side of the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70, enabling people to cross the Continental Divide. I was approaching this tunnel and had just passed the Loveland Pass Exit when I saw a car with a boat trailer in tow almost jackknife several cars ahead. All traffic started slowing down as they saw this including me.

At the same time I was slowing, what had been wet roads with dry channels made by previous cars became just wet roads and temperatures dropped into the mid thirties. They'd been dropping steadily since Idaho Springs.

I was considering moving over to the shoulder and slowing way down when I felt the front wheel of the motorcycle sliding over to the left on its own volition. I believe I hit a patch of ice that caused this. Yep, ice in June. I wrongly but instinctively rolled off the throttle and I believe that caused my rear wheel to spin and it started moving sideways and forwards on my right. Before I could react, I had hit the pavement and was sliding. I could hear Maria sliding away from me as I finally slid to a stop.

I got up quickly and found myself in the right lane of the two lane I-70 westbound superslab. I looked back and saw that the cars behind me had managed to stop upon seeing me go down. My right shoulder hurt but I trotted over to my motorcycle and used the kill switch. The four way flashers were on, I did not activate them, I wonder if that's some kind of feature?

Regardless, I went to position myself to pick up the motorcycle and that's when I felt a shooting pain in my right shoulder! I could not pick her up. Two guys from two different cars ran over and helped me pick Maria up and wheel her to the north side shoulder of the road.

Upon ascertaining I seemed to be OK, one of the two left to keep going. Randy the one who stayed offered to give me a ride to the hospital in Silverthorne which was the next town past the tunnel. I gladly accepted his offer. Thanks very much Randy and Rhonda, you are truly good samaritans and I will be forever grateful.

All this happened between 0630 and 0645 I think as I was riding to Frisco to check in to the Two bits Rally.

We briefly surveyed the damage to Maria. Her right side mirror had popped off and was toast. The right side valve cover had worn through to the inside and oil was leaking out. The spark plug connector and wire were also toast. Where the mirror mounts, the fairing itself had been ground down by the sliding on the pavement. Damn.

So we left Maria by the side of the road and went to Silverthorne. Turns out they don't have a hospital so we continued on to Frisco, the next town. On the way through Frisco I spotted the Holiday Inn where the other motorcyclists were gathered and pointed them out to Randy and his wife. On the way to Frisco, Randy offered up his cellphone and I checked in with my wife to tell her I was OK and that I'd been in an accident. I had a phone, just could not dig it out of my side pocket.

We get to the ER at St. Anthony's Summit Health Center and I was processed in. Randy and Rhonda took off at this point to notify the guys at the rally that I'd gone down.

The nurse and doctor checked me out and I diagnosed me as having a separated shoulder. They gave me some ibuprofen at my request and gave me a sling and after some x-rays, I was discharged. I am so glad I was wearing ATGATT, that helmet and cycleport gear paid for themselves today.

The helmet was scratched up on the right side, I guess I ended up scraping it along the pavement. The Cycleport jacket's shoulder and right sleeve took the brunt of the crash apparently where I slid along the pavement. That kevlar stuff was barely scuffed! The only damage was that the reflective strip on the right slip had come loose along a 5 inch portion. This is good gear! I believe the shoulder armor was responsible for preventing really major damage to my right shoulder.

While being treated, Phil of the COG (Concours Owners Group), one of the riders in the Two Bits Rally stopped by to check on me and make sure all was well. Thanks Phil!

I was discharged by 0830 or so and I started making calls, to the insurance company (Progressive, great service so far), arrange a tow by Motorcycle Transportation Services who'd done right by me before when I had a flat tire (another good outfit) and the beemer dealer to let them know a wounded motorcycle was going to be showing up.

Matt, of Motorcycle Transportation Services, made it up to Frisco just before noon. There'd been construction traffic slowing things down on the slab. He'd picked up Maria beforehand and then he picked me up at the hospital in Frisco and took me home! Now that's service above and beyond the call!

Maria inside Matt's Motorcycle Towing Van

Hard to tell, but the mounting studs and part of the plastic
were ground down by the slide on pavement

This valve cover is toast as is the spark plug assembly/wiring

I was home shortly after 1400hrs, Matt continued on to the beemer dealer to drop off Maria. I spend the afternoon taking it easy and sorting out the gear I'd taken off the motorcycle before Matt took her to the dealer to await Progressive Insurance's verdict and hopefully eventual repair.

My helmet on the other hand, is toast, I'll be getting a new one through Progressive Insurance.

RE the Cycleport gear, it came through and did its job with flying colors. The parts that did get scuffed up by the pavement don't even show on the camera! Very mild scuffing is what it looks like. Like a I mentioned the only damage I could really find was the seams had ripped that held part of the reflective strip on the right sleeve in place. I think I'll be sending it back to Cycleport for their evaluation though to make sure all is well.

All in all, I was pretty fortunate with this 40mph+ fall off my motorcycle. I've always been a follower of ATGATT and now have the personal proof to go with it. If the motorcycle is repairable, I expect she'll be fixed way before I'm healed up and ready to ride again. It appears to be six to eight weeks before I heal.


Becky said...

Glad you're OK man. Sounds like it happened before there was anything you could do. Take it easy. Good to hear Progressive Ins. is coming through for you; I use them also.


SheRidesABeemer said...

Dang June ice! 6-8 weeks during the summer, hope you can still work the camera! Take care!