Not a grateful post – thought I would put down the way I saw June 7th – the day of the accident.

We started our ride on Sunday June 7th at 530am. It was a cold winters day so I was in l long nicks and a long jersey. Our group was a mixture of slower and faster riders but the faster riders really looked after the slower riders on the way out to The Gap. Our ride for the day was to be Nebo, Glorious, Mt Samson and then Clear Mountain Road. It was a big ride but we were all training for the Peaks ride and had been building our rides up over the previous weeks. 

We started our ascent to Nebo/Glorious. I was the slowest but I am pretty comfortable with that these days. I see myself as the turtle – slow and steady but I always get there. Deb Aitcheson always keeps me company and often when I am starting to doubt myself in my head she speaks my thoughts out loud and reassures me I can do it. On this particular ride we got to  McAfees which is where we often stop but there was no need to stop so we kept going to Nebo. We got to Nebo and Marcel Bengston was there to take coffee orders for our stop once we reached Mt Glorious. 

I had a short break at Nebo and then another 10km and I reached Mt Glorious. It was lovely Marcel had ordered our coffees and we all sat up at Glorious having a coffee with all the motorbike riders. I can remember looking around thinking I am amazing – they have all done this on their motorbikes and I have done this on my pushie.  Once we had finished our coffees and filled our water bottles we set off for Samford. Before setting off we discussed the descent, how we were feeling and the option if we wanted of getting into the van. I decided I was feeling pretty good and I was keen to continue the ride on my bike not in the van. 

The descent into Samford is very steep. I became anxious immediately. I know the best way to descend is in the drops but I was too anxious to get down into the drops. I got faster and faster and my hands cramped from holding onto the brakes so hard. I had un clipped one of my feet with the intention of pulling over, stopping and regrouping. I would have been quite happy to walk the remainder of descent. Unfortunately I didn’t get to pull over. I let go the brakes to then re engage them and in that split second I lost control. I knew I was going to hit the barrier. I am not sure if I went over the handlebars but I definetly went over the barrier and hit my handlebars very hard. I ended up on the ground and I think I hit it pretty hard. I did not bump my head and I remember everything about the morning and how wonderful everyone was while I was on the ground and we all waited for the ambulance. 

Deb Aitcheson, Dave Shelberg and Marcel Bengston were amazing. They got to me first as they were behind me and saw what happened. I am so sorry that this has happened to them but I couldn’t have been with more special people. Deb and Dave sat with me and kept me awake – much to my disgust…..I would much rather have closed my eyes and had a little sleep. I even think they asked me to sing at one stage! Marcel drove to the bottom of the hill to ring the ambulance. I was not courteous enough to fall in an area that had mobile coverage. My beautiful husband David had got to the bottom of the hill and because we had not got to the bottom got back on his bike and rode back up to us to see what was going on ( what a legend!). Unfortunately he was expecting mechanical failure not his wife lying on the ground. Again I am sorry I did this to him but I am so glad he was riding with us and was able to come in the ambulance with me. 

The other person who was on the scene that day was a lovely man called Peter. He was part of the First Response Team. He sat with me until the ambulance arrived and reassured me and kept me calm. I couldn’t see his face but his tone and manner were wonderful.I hope to meet him in the coming months. We all waited 45 minutes for the ambulance. I can remember feeling my head and legs were ok but I had a very heavy feeling in my left side. I wondered if I had damaged my spleen – it did not occur to me that I had a kidney that I might have damaged. Once the ambulance arrived I remember being moved onto a stretcher and given pain relief via a green whistle. I can’t remember if the paramedics put a drip into me. 

The ambulance trip was a slow one. David called my Dad ( Dad is a retired vascular surgeon) and let him know I had been in an accident. Dad was at the hospital  when we got there. We went to the Royal Brisbane Hospital. I remember getting there and being wheeled into the emergency department. I remember lots of fussing and lots of doctors and having ct scans. Dad liaised with all the doctors and negotiated all the medical jargon for David. The decision was made ( by others not by me) to operate and I remember going in and meeting the lovely anaesthitist Kate and then I remember waking up in intensive care. Instead of whispering sweet love messages to David before I went to be operated on I asked him to do some washing ( because I was embarrassed there was so much not up to date at home) and could he please water the newly planted roses. 

I am very grateful for all the attention I got that day. I am very glad to be alive. 

The injuries I sustained are – damaged left kidney ( it was so badly damaged it had to be removed), torn spleen, damaged pancreas, bruised bowel, fractured ulna, small puncture in my lung, fractured ribs ( I think six), four fractured transverse processess in my lumbar spine, a very small fracture in my fibula, and a small graze on my knee. 


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15 Responses to Not a grateful post – thought I would put down the way I saw June 7th – the day of the accident.

  1. Grant Noble says:

    That descent always scares me. So brave of you to relate that to us. I heard that you had to go back to hospital. I hope everything is all right now.

    • admin says:

      Yes Grant I did have another hospital visit. Because I bruised my bowel so heavily it is not working properly. I was admitted because I was vomiting. It was pretty yucky – but hopefully on the improve now.

  2. Jocelyn Hutton says:

    You’re a hero Jen, and so brave. I can’t think of anyone who would have handled this better. Sending our love for a smooth recovery going forward xx

  3. Paul Myers says:

    I got so anxious reading this blog even though I know you are on the mend, but I had to keep reading. My thoughts have been with you everyday when I am on the bike and just catching up with your Grateful Blogs. I for one, am going to be more cautious than ever when riding and will make sure I ride within my capabilities. Well maybe plus or minus a bit. Missing you out there, but thinking of you, all the same.
    Paul M

    • admin says:

      Thanks Paul. I think many Brisbane cyclists have become a bit more tentative since my accident. I hope that is a good thing for everyone and hasn’t spoilt the wonderful benefits cycling has to offer. I look forward to riding with you again in the future. I miss you.

  4. Domenica says:

    Dear Jen
    You have shown us your amazing strength and gorgeous nature. Thank you for sharing with us your day. Craig and I are thinking of you always. I pray that you have a speedy recovery and you are back doing all the beautiful things you love to do very soon. Keep strong. You have many people who love you lots xx

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