Ironman Mont Tremblant

Monday, May 25, 2015

Chris' Crash

It has been a while since I've posted anything.  After my disappointing finish at Ironman Mont Tremblant last year, I decided to reload for 2015 and sign up for my third Ironman.  Trouble is that most of my friends have dropped out but Chris Mac who has done multiple Ironmans was planning to still race.  Chris is a friend of Paul S and I connected with him a couple of weeks ago to have someone to ride with during the long rides on the weekend (100-170 km)

On Saturday Touraj and I met at Chris' house at 7:30 am.  It was freezing cold (5 degrees) but sunny.  The plan was to meet up with Rom and ride up to Lake Simcoe as Chris wanted to get in a 150 km ride. We rode north up to Udora where Rom turned to head back home.  Chris, Touraj and I head up to Lake Simcoe and then headed west along Lake Drive until the road looped back up to Metro Road.  We'd been riding for about 4.5 hours and I was starving as I did not eat a lot for dinner the night before.  We decided to head east back to Kennedy and Metro Road where there was a little corner store to refuel before heading back home.

Metro Road is a nice flat road with a wide shoulder.  We had a tail wind so with Chris in the lead, I was about 20 feet behind him and Touraj was about 200 meters behind me.  We were doing about 40 km/hr when I saw Chris in aero position, run over a piece of metal.  I saw the metal fly in the air and at the same time I saw Chris fall forward and then to the left.  The left side of his face hit the ground and his bike cartwheeled towards the middle of the road.  Chris was lying on the ground, half on the road and half on the shoulder.  His bike was in the middle of the road but only about three feet apart.  Because I was so close behind him, I had no time to brake but managed to steer through the small gap of Chris and his bike.  I stopped as fast as I could and dropped my bike.  I ran back to Chris who was lying in a fetal position, not moving but bleeding badly from his nose.

At the same time, there was a motorcyle gang riding in the opposite direction.  They saw the crash and stopped.  I yelled at some of the bikers to call 911.  One of the bikers said he was a fireman and immediately began to assess Chris.  He was relaying information to the 911 operator when he started asking questions about Chris' age, allergies.  I pointed out Chris has Road ID which has his vital information.  I guess Chris had a slightly different version than mine as he had a 800 number and the firefighter/biker talked to the Road ID operator to get more information about Chris.

By this time, there were a group of bikers around us directing traffic.  After what seemed like an hour, several police cars showed up.  They blocked the traffic at Warden and Woodbine.  Finally the paramedics and fire truck arrived.  They quickly took over the scene and loaded him into the ambulance but did not leave.  I took Chris' Road ID and called his house.  I had only met Chris' wife very briefly and couldn't remember her name.  I explained the situation.  She was pretty calm and not freaking out but obviously worried.  Originlly the parmedics said they were going to take him to Southlake hospital in Newmarket but after assessing Chris they changed their minds.  They called in the air ambulance to airlift him to either Sunnybrook or St Mike's Hospital in Toronto (75 km away).

The helicopter arrived and circled around for several minutes.  The pilot was trying to find a landing spot as there were trees on either side of the road.  Finally they settled on a golf course beside the road.  Several police, firefighters and paramedics hustled Chris out of the ambulance and to the golf course.  They hoisted him over the fence and made their way to the helicopter.  The weight of the helicopter sunk the wheels half way into the fairway.  The helicopter took off but we still didn't know which hospital they were taking him.  I had Chris' wife on the phone and she was near Sunnybrook Hospital but then we found out they were taking him to St Mike's Hospital downtown Toronto.  Both hospitals have world class trauma facilities.

After the helicopter left, the police said we had to stay for statements except they didn't know whether traffic officers or the regular officers (ie the ones on the scene) would take our statement.  So we waited, and waited and waited.  In the mean time, I called Paul S as he was friends/neighbors of Chris.  At first he joked asking if I had a flat tire and need a lift, but I explained the situation.  They were out of town at a race but would head back the next morning.

I also called Tammy to come pick us up (we were about 50 km away from home) and not really in the mood to ride back.  I told Tammy to drive up Hwy 404 and then go over to Woodbine Ave and drive north until she hit Metro Road where the police had blocked the intersection.  She made it up to Keswick and then got lost.  Despite asking for directions several times, she couldn't find where we were.  While we were giving our statements to the police (they finally decided the local ones on the scene would take our statement), Tammy called very upset.  She was at Metro Road and Kennedy.  How she got there is beyond me because she some how bypassed us and went too far east.  I told her she was only two minutes away but drive west on Metro Road.  After I finished my statement she arrived to the accident scene.  The police said we were free to go but Touraj said he wanted to ride home.  I was starving and stopped off at a Harvey's Hamburger.  I cleaned up in the washroom and then ordered a giant hamburger and fries to go.  I wanted to get downtown to see how Chris was doing.

After a quick shower and more food, I headed to St Mike's hospital.  I went to emergency and asked for Chris M but they told me they had no one by that name.  I said he came in by air ambulance around 1 pm today (Saturday).  They couldn't find anyone by that name so rather than waste time arguing, I called Chris' wife and she said they were on the 9th floor of ICU (Intensive Care Unit) so I headed up where she met me by the elevator.  She seemed to be in control and not freaking out and took me into ICU.  Chris was in rough shape but didn't appear to have any other broken bones.  I only stayed in ICU for a couple of minutes and then we went to one of the private lounges where Chris' family was waiting.  I told them what had happened and were very relieved to know that help was almost immediate.

Sunday morning, I went for my long run and as I was running across McCowan at Major Mackenzie, a speeding car turning southbound onto McCowan decided she didn't have to stop for me (I had the green light) and just missed me by three feet.  Maybe I should buy some lottery tickets