Cutlass
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Blog

5 Years

olds

It's been a while since I've posted anything. No particular reason other than the normal busy this and holidays that, etc.

Today does mark a significant day for me as it has every year since 2012. All of my friends and family know the story but it helps to write it out and reflect on the years since it happened.
Being right-hooked and crushed by a 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass was not on my agenda for Friday January 6, 2012. My plan was to have dinner with some friends and live my normal life. The weather was beautiful - reaching the low 60s by the time I was making my last delivery around 4:30 to a client at Camden Yards. I made the decision to take my vest and jacket off and wear my hoody before I mounted my Reynolds 853 Jamis Eclipse. I'm glad that I made the choice because the cushion the clothing provided prevented my injuries from being worse. 

I won't go into the schematics of how it happened but the flash second of yelling for the driver to stop before turning into me and staring at the bottom of his car seemed like something out of a movie. And then the acceleration to get off of me and consequently dragging me about 10-15 feet. In a daze, on my back, I attempted to stand but was stuck like a turtle on its shell. People from all 4 corners of the intersection rushed to assist me and keep me from moving. I could see the driver of the Cutlass was in disbelief and distraught, not really sure what to do.
A person assisting me asked me a few questions and I asked for them to hand me my phone. This is all still in a very short period of time and I still hadn't pieced how severe my injuries were. I called the client to inform her that I won't be bringing down their filings for the day. She laughed and said "What's up?" at which point my lung, which had collapsed, started pooling with fluid and I was wheezing and gargling pretty badly and said "I just got run over." "Oh my God! Get off the phone! Are you okay?" She couldn't believe I called. The ever dutiful courier.

Finally the EMTs arrive and at this point I thought I was going to die due to how difficult breathing had become and how weak I felt. My biggest fear was being taken to Maryland General Hospital, the closest to the scene of the accident. I had started sobbing in the ambulance not knowing if I would be able to see my loved ones again - you never know in a situation like this, I guess. Thankfully, I was taken to University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center.

Among my list of injuries were 6 fractured vertebrae, a fractured sternum, fractured ribs, scrapes, bruises, sprains. All the good stuff. Thank Science for Dilauded.

shocktrauma

What I just wrote isn't the important part of my story though. The recovery was long. My back still bothers me. My neck still bothers me. Other parts still bother me. I feel pretty old for turning 33 in March. Maintaining fitness has helped a fair bit though.

The Important Shit

Since that day, I have overcome a lot of psychological issues and done a lot of really cool projects.

I have amazing family and amazing friends. I am ever grateful for those that have picked me up and helped me get back on the path to doing what I'm passionate about. I never thought I'd be who I am today if it weren't for those that have helped me.

I got back on the bike. As soon as I could. I have gone to great lengths to find new routes, make new friends to ride with and challenge myself to continue riding as much as it hurts at times. 

I started my own custom wheelbuilding and service business. This has been an amazing and hard journey but I have no regrets in moving forward with it. I love what I do. I love talking to people about bikes. I love hearing about what races, rides and adventures people have done on the wheels I've built for them. I am continually inspired by my customers and their passion for riding. 

Now 2017 brings a new chapter for me by having a great relationship with HandleBar Cafe. In the coming weeks I will be fully operational in a small workspace in my new location. I will have set hours to come see me. We can sit down and discuss your current wheels, wheels you want to have built or wheels needing service. I am excited to be a part of a great community. 

For all of my friends, family and customers that have offered help, advice, criticism, beer, food, rye and rides - THANK YOU! I could not have done any of what I'm doing without you. I appreciate all the support you have given me and I look forward to continued growth in 2017 and new riding adventures! Don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Peace!!

-Tommy