Ride Leader: Scott Walker
Date: September 4, 2013
Ride Name: Casey Jones Express
Class: A / AA
Motto: For the Love of the People and the Ride - Michael Blaine
Members: Brad Francisco, Jason Palma, Mike Dent, Paul Bales, Joni King, Benny Budd, Blake Altman, Jean Wright, Michael Blaine, Robert Golding, Josh Hettel
Guests: Eric Williams
Weather: Sunny 80F, WSW winds at 6 mph
AMS: Leaders - 22.2 mph (5 riders)
Mishaps: Serious fall
Mechanicals: None reported
Report: A beautiful evening overshadowed by an unfortunate accident. Paul Bales was having an especially strong ride, looking forward to an upcoming Tri event in Maine on the 14th. This evening he maintained contact with the leaders throughout the first half of the course, until reaching Budd's Creek Rd.
After making it across Budd's Creek and up the hill to 301, Paul was picked up by Josh, who told Paul to "jump on his wheel." Paul did, and they proceeded at a strong pace, rotating the pull between the two of them. Sometime after they turned onto Fairground Rd, Paul got too close and then "touched" Josh's rear wheel. The effect was immediate. Paul lost control of his bike, went down primarily on his shoulder, elbow and side, and then rolled from the forward momentum. Josh was unaffected and reported that what he felt from Paul's touch was extremely light; at first not even enough to make him look back. But after a second, he realized the slight tap he felt wasn't normal and instinctively looked back. Paul was already down.
As Josh was helping Paul, other riders were arriving on scene and 911 was called. Josh also called and left a voicemail on my cell. Once the emergency responders got Paul loaded and then departed for hospital, the remaining riders headed back to the Casey Jones. Upon their return, Joni and Benny immediately loaded up their bikes and headed back to get Paul's bike. A Deputy Sheriff drove up to the Casey parking lot to make sure all the other riders had returned and informed us that Paul was taken to Charles Regional. As I attempted to contact Paul's wife, Lisa (with no success), Jean headed over to the hospital and Blake went into the Restaurant to talk with the manager (looking for another number/method to contact Paul's wife).
After my failed attempts to contact Lisa, I called Jean who told me that she and the other riders had departed the hospital after the Deputy Sheriff (at the hospital) said he had Lisa's number (and would contact her), and that Paul was still undergoing examination, and there was really nothing else she and the other riders could do.
Once I got back home, I called Paul's cell thinking that if Lisa had made it to the hospital she might answer Paul's phone (I still wasn't really sure if anyone had been able to contacted her). To my surprise Paul answered the phone. He said he had a cracked rib and significant trauma (and road rash) but was otherwise ok, was with his wife, and on his way home.
Lessons Learned: Unknown to me at the time, my cell phone ringer was turned off during the ride. So I didn't hear Josh's call or get his voicemail until I looked at my cell because "it was taking too long for everyone to get back." From here on out, I'll check my ringer before we depart.
I couldn't read the numbers provided on the signup form. Once home, and after checking Paul's number on the Website (which was different than the number he provided) I finally Google'd his cell number and learned that I was mistaking his "8" for a "9". After dialing the correct number and speaking with Paul, I applied this finding to Lisa's number and discovered that I had been dialing the wrong number for her as well. Everyone should try to print as neatly as possible on the signup form. When we need emergency contact names and numbers (and unfortunately, we do from time to time) they become very important!
Summary: I'm thankful that Paul, although banged up pretty good, is going to be ok. Thanks to everyone for helping. Even though this was a tough one, everybody immediately stepped up to assist.