Streets of San Francisco
San Franciso, CA
For the fourth and final year Red Bull held the Streets of San Francisco and the Big Air event. For the third time the event took place on steep De Haro street.
Friday, July 26
Red Bull put us up in a splendid hotel near Market and Embacardo. I had a room on the 15th floor. Even though it was foggy in the morning, I had some great views.
And looking in the other direction.
The hotel itself had this huge sculpture in the center.
As seen from my floor.
After seeing some of the sights,
I was able to see Ultimate X, showing at a theatre blocks from the hotel.
It was time to head to the welcome party. A group of us rode over in style.
The party was at a small bar
near the bottom of the hill.
Chaput spent most of the party showing people his clip from last year.
The backyard was a bit small, but I guess it fit us all.
Once we got registered and got our wheels, people started to float out.
Saturday, July 27
Today was race day, and it ended differently that I expected.
Our pit area
was a little small, so some people set up where ever they could.
Practically everyone was adding padding to their luges.
Even Mason was getting into the act.
We had a short riders meeting, first we had a few words from the police officer that was running the show,
I forget his name, but he did ask us back!
We were going to take two practice runs. As usual we had starting gates at the Red Bull arch.
The course, from the starting gate is a bit intimidating as you can only see the finish line.
Everyone was anxious for the first practice run, there were quite a few new riders.
Tom Mason even took extra measures.
The first run went on without a hitch.
We got back in the truck for practice run two.
I decided to go for it, and for the first time in three years I landed on the cheese grater and didn't have to throw my feet out to steady myself. As I approached the ramp I decided to throw my feet out anyways, since this was a practice run. Because I had strips of titanium on the bottom of my shoes, I really didn't slow down. I hit the ramp, and when I landed jerked to the right. Heading straight for the hay bales. I almost pulled it out, running along the hay bales, until I collided with one that was sticking out a bit. Five seconds later I lay in the middle of the street
with a broken right arm and a broken left leg,
as well as a broken nose.
Tom Mason took a snapshot of me before the ambulance whisked me away.
My second run, as I saw it.
The worst five seconds of my life:
These are the individual frames from the second run. At some point the camera fell off my head. By the way Darren, sorry, I don't know how you managed to miss my board.
To add insult to injury, my leathers, not even a year old, were cut off.
I think I have Erek Scheffer to thank for the following photos, as I spent most of the rest of the day in ER.
I'm guessing some of the paramedics.
A race shot.
The race ramp. A little bigger than last year.
Some guys were slaloming.
Unfortunately I wasn't the only one who got hurt. A photographer got hurt when a run away luge hit his leg. Richard had stitches in his jaw when he got hit with his on luge. I heard though that, while we didn't go farther than last year, we did go bigger.
Tom Mason stopped by the hospital and took a pic of me before I went into surgery.
Anatomy of the wreck
What happened? Why did I wreck? Why did I break two limbs? Why did I break my nose?
I don't truly understand what happened that caused me to wreck. Part of the problem is that I was moving across the street. As you can see in this video(this guy is quite large.)
Some people think that I tilted my board by putting my feet down. Its possible that a loose rear wheel caused my board to veer to the right as I left to the ramp. As I landed perhaps I was not centered on the board, causing the board to shoot to the right.
As I headed towards the hay bales, I did everything I could do to get away from the hay. I almost succeeded when I hit one of the hay bales that was sticking out. I was going between 50 and 60 mph, I've hit the hay at over 70 and got up and walked away. I'm guessing, as I hit the hay (see frame 3 above) my feet punch through the hay. But my hand doesn't. I think I broke my hand here, and it spun me. Exposing my left leg to the next set of hay bales. See frame 11. My left leg is then broken. At some point my nose is broken when the helmet slams into the ground and is twisted.
To make matters worse, I believe the hay was stacked wrong. I think if the hay was parallel to the road, I wouldn't have gotten hurt.
About Two weeks later.
Since it was almost two weeks after the accident, I was going back in for surgery to repair my nose. The claim is after about 10 days the nose needs to be rebroken again! Maybe its me, but my nose doesn't look too abnormal in the pre surgery picture.
After the surgery I would look my worst.
A cast on my nose (one week), a cast on my right arm (three weeks), a cast on my left foot (4 months), a bandage under my nose (several days) and a wheel chair (two months).
Saturday, August 24
Its been four weeks since the accident.
I ended up in the hospital for a week. Sunday night I had a five hour surgery, placing several rods, screws, and plates in my limbs. A couple of weeks later I had another surgery to fix my nose.
I'll be in a wheel chair for a few more weeks. I'm back to work, and have been riding the exercise bike to work on my leg.
There are too many people to thank here. I just want to say that I am proud to be a part of the luge community. A lot of people stepped forward to help me out, collect my equipment, and help me get home. People called me and emailed me. This really helped me from going to crazy while I was in the hospital. Thanks everyone.