A Bumpy Ride
I could have never anticipated what was to come so early on this trip. Brandon and I started biking from Calgary, heading west towards Highway 40 on the forestry trunk road towards Hinton. The first 10-15 kilometres of the road were still on pavement, so once it turned to gravel and dirt we began celebrating. Our bike expedition through the foothills and up north was beginning to set in and we were in awe of the beautiful country side we were riding through.
However, on Saturday, April 30th, things took a turn for the worse. We had stopped for lunch around 2:00pm and began riding again shortly after. While still adjusting to the weight of the bikes and tackling some larger hill climbs, we took advantage of every down hill and flat section possible. Mid-afternoon, on one particular downhill, Brandon rode on ahead. I was excited for the downhill, but soon my arms and the handlebar started to wobble. The shaking increased as a hit some ruts in the washboard gravel road. At that point, I screamed for Brandon and the next thing I remember was lying on the road. Within minutes there was a crowd of probably 5-10 people hovering over me who were ATVing in the area. We were out of cell reception, so a couple of the guys drove away to call 911.
The emergency responders from the community of Benchlands came next, stabilizing my neck with a brace and giving me oxygen. Within 45 minutes an ambulance from Cochrane had arrived and rushed me to Foothills Hospital in Calgary about an hour and 15 minutes away. Thankfully, Brandon was able to come in the ambulance with me and call our family, as I laid there high as a kite.
Once we arrived at the hospital I was bumped to number one on the emergency department triage immediately. That's when the severity of my accident really sank in. The worst part was being moved on and off of different surfaces as the ER nurses prepared me for CT scans and x-rays. The brace around my neck continued to push into the road rash and swollen areas I had all along my face. These tests results were needed to ensure I would be okay. From that point on, all we could do was sit, wait and hope for the best.
Over an hour later, we were told that all the results came back positive and there was no internal damage. The doctors and ER nurses could hardly believe I had been so lucky. Brandon mentioned to me later that some of the nurses told him I had most likely fractured my skull. However, I had no broken bones, no fractured skull, not even any broken teeth. Soon after, the nurse wanted to get my on my feet, test out my mobility and see if I could walk. Around 11:00 pm, I was cleared to go, and Brandon and his mom (who had arrived earlier) took me home.
Five days later, I still feel that I have a lot to process from the accident. While my helmet is cracked all along the side, it truly saved my life, and with an accident that could have ended a hell of a lot worse, I came out of it with road rash and bruising all over my body, two black eyes, a bad concussion, but ultimately, my life.
There are so many people who I can not even begin to send my love and gratitude to. To all of the first responders and group of people who were by my side from the start, to Sam and Ben who drove Brandon and I's bikes back to Calgary, to the Benchlands EMS, to the paramedics from Cochrane, to all of the nurses and doctors at Foothills, to Brandon, Tracy and Jim for their continual love and support as I heal back at home in Calgary, to my Dad, Mom and siblings for your endless support, and to all of my friends, family and everyone else who has sent me well wishes, love and good vibes. I'm beyond words of how incredibly thankful I am to you all!!
Now while the accident itself is over and I continue to recover, I know the most taxing and difficult part is ahead...
When Brandon and I headed out we were definitely ready to leave the city, hit the dirt road and begin our journey. Now that we are back home, it will take a lot of patience on both our parts to allow the time for my recovery. We have already began planning how we can alter our route and look forward to the day we can hit the saddle and try again! For now, I'll be resting, icing and scaring all the small children down the street.
Thanks again for all your love. xoxo.