Thursday, May 17, 2007

L' Incidente

Things have gone way off course...
I write this from Rome, having left Sicily and abandoned this years Motogiro competition. Lo and I are OK, but the last couple days have been rather hard!
Here is the story.
We spent a couple days in Siracusa, enjoying the city and getting used to the time zone. And then we left in our car to go exploring. We drove to Noto, a simple but beautiful town. It is the town with the same name as that of close friends and so it was especially interesting for us. Then we headed to Ragusa and went to the old town for a late lunch, a great meal in a small piazza. We left Ragusa and we were unsure whether to go to Caltagirone or directly to our at a small farm in the countryside...
There was an intersection of two highways, and we went the wrong direction at first so we turned around to correct our turn. Lorraine was driving. The intersection of these two small highways required us to turn left, across the oncoming lane onto an on ramp for the other highway. Lo turned... and we were hit hard from behind! Apparently the driver behind us attempted to pass us on the left in the intersection. She hit us very hard (she was probably traveling at 60 mph or so) and we then bounced into the guardrail of the on ramp. The shock of the impact was giant, setting off the curtain airbags on both sides of the car. It was amazing how loud these airbags were. I was momentarily deafened. Our car was essentially destroyed and as we could not exit either side, we ended up climbing out the passenger side window. Los neck hurt and she could not hear from her left ear. My left temple hurt; I assume I hit the center mirror with my head. The driver of the other car was hurt. Witnesses came to our aid and the ambulances arrived to take us all away.
I wont detail all of the rest of the story, but in short we escaped the rather inadequate Sicilian medical system, spent a day recovering in Ragusa and then fled to Rome for modern and expert medical help. Between Los hearing loss, whiplash and my banged up head we decided "discretion is the better part of valor" and we should withdraw from this years Motogiro. We spent several days recovering, talking to doctors and drinking and eating here in Rome. Today, an ear specialist has told us Los hearing will return in her left ear after 10 to 20 days and she should be fine. A good regular doctor says her whiplash should recover but that she should continue to wear a neck brace. My temple injury should be OK, but I should not risk another impact for a while. We will return to California early, but we think we are healthy enough to spend a couple days more in Rome salvaging a bit of vacation from this trip.
I'm extremely disappointed that Ill be missing this years Motogiro. Its the 50th anniversary of the final 1957 race and sure to be special for the original racers who still come back for this revival. But taking enough care so Lo and I can healthily return next year is the priority.
I must thank all of you for your great support and the donations to the Lance Armstrong Foundation! Obviously I'd hoped to honor those donations with a great effort in this years race, but regardless, it is a great cause. Thank you all very much!


  1. Carl,

    I'm glad you're not seriously hurt.
    I stumbled upon your blog while looking up some reference material on your Ducati Single page (yes mine is still in my garage, not running). My hobbies got re-prioritized with the kids and all.

    I wish you and Lorraine a swift recovery.


    PS: did you move to socal?

  2. Hi Carl,
    Glad you both will be ok. There were quite a few in the Giro who had troubles as well, thankfully few were major.
    Hugh soldiered on after an upset till his crank stopped cranking, and I was just visiting with Neil and Ann Cowan in Scotland; he is getting around a bit better now after bruises from a slow get-off.. The first day especially was a challenge for many.
    We were thinking of you and sad that you missed it, but there will be next year.
    I had a rear blow-out at 'speed' but rode it out. There were other delays but the mighty Turismo finished again, ~26th, 22nd in class. Jim Dillard and I rode together again; we have a similar 'conservative' pace that worked well this year. That doesn't apply to the descent from Etna; 19 km in not much time, but the new tyres worked out great.
    Great time over-all, then I returned to the UK and rode around until just today on my 'UK' Elefant. Scotland was great riding.
    Take care, till the next one.