This day started out perfect. It was sunny and pleasant and winds were calm as we left the campground around 6 AM. Breakfast at the campground had hit a new low (pre-packaged burritos) so we stopped at McDonald's on the way out of town. Dianne and I were riding with Bob, but we were not drafting since it was not windy.
At 9 miles into the ride, the unexpected happened--a group of cyclists had just passed the 3 of us and called out to another cyclist that they were passing on the left. That cyclist then steered LEFT instead of right, causing the group that had just passed us to take sudden evasive action. They went in all directions, braking hard, Bob braked hard in front of me, I braked hard, but not hard enough--my front wheel kissed Bob's rear wheel and my bike and I went down. After my helmet bounced off the pavement it contacted Dianne's wheel; fortunately she did not hit the road too. She thought she was going to run over my head!
When I got up I found I had a bent finger. I could see its inner workings so one of the people who stayed with me called the BRAN emergency number. The medic came and agreed with me (gee, ya think?) that I needed professional medical attention.
A SAG driver named Bill came and loaded my bike in the back of the truck and took me to Aurora Memorial Hospital. The doctor there thought I had a severed tendon so he called an Orthopedist in Grand Island.They dressed my other wounds, wrapped up my hand and called Bill to come back for me.
When we arrived at Central Nebraska Orthopedics, Dr. Cahoy saw me immediately. He sent me to the Surgery Center a block away and they prepped me for surgery. The tendon was not severed, just tangled up in the exposed joint. I underwent surgery, made it through recovery, and Bill hauled me to our next stop: Brainard. Everyone else had a very nice ride; the weather was perfect and the terrain was a little hilly.
At Brainard I found Dianne and we asked the first local volunteer we saw if he knew of a place I could sleep indoors for the night. He called his wife and they graciously invited me to their home. We attended the closing meeting at the park, where I presented my song, sung to the tune of "Don't Fence Me In".
Oh give me wind, lots of wind, on Nebraska's open plains. Don't draft on me.
Let me ride in the sunshine and keep riding when it rains. Don't draft on me.
Let me lie in my tent in the evening breeze, listen to the campers as they snore and wheeze,
I'll ride across Nebraska but I ask you please:Don't draft on me.
The song was well received. Below you can see Sarah and Matt, from Lincoln and Bob, whose wheel I touched this morning. Bob's wife Marlene is going to give me a ride tomorrow, since I am not ready to get back on the bike.