Thanksgiving Reflections: What Matters Most?

 

When I left my house this Thanksgiving morning, it was already nearly 75 degrees. That's autumn in Los Angeles for you.

I overslept, but there was still a chance I'd make the bunch ride. Decision time. Do I give in to laziness, resign myself to a few solo climbs then head home to start helping with the cooking (i.e., opening the wine, hovering in my girlfriend's orbit, scavenging for scraps)? Or do I find a gear and make the rollout?

This was a very fortunate position to find myself in.

As I clipped in and listened to my Tamagotchi chirp at me (#ThanksWahoo), I decided to get on it and make the group ride. It's Thanksgiving after all, and I'm incredibly grateful for all the friends I've made in the cycling community. What better way to burn a few calories before stuffing my face, than with around 60 other lycra-clad weirdos?

My buddy Fred Mackey didn't get to make this decision for himself this morning.

 
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Fred's recovering from a 6-day stay in the hospital and some pretty serious injuries after finding himself on the receiving end of a hit-and-run.

I've copied his story below, so you can read what he went through, in his own words. Suffice it to say, medical bills resulting from the hit-and-run have created a situation decidedly...sub-optimal.

Think about it this way: when was the last time you left your local bike shop empty handed? I don't know that I've ever left without buying, at the least, a handful of gels ($10), or a new pair of socks ($15+). The more of us able to come together and contribute to the cause, the better off our fellow cyclist will find himself.

For those of you who don't know Fred personally, the help couldn't go toward a nicer guy.

Thank you all in advance for taking the time to read his story. If you're able to contribute to his GoFundMe, all the better.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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FRED'S GOFUNDME: https://www.gofundme.com/help-fred-ride-again

November 9, 2017 is a date I will not forget for the rest of my life.

I was in the home stretch of a bike ride, just two blocks from apartment. As I pedaled across La Brea Avenue, a black, current generation Chevy Camaro cut a left hand turn with zero regard for the concept of right of way and plowed into me. I had zero time to react. By the time my unplanned flight over the Camaro ended with a body crunching thud on the concrete, the car was nearly half a block away.

Not only did the driver fail to stop, a witness apparently stated that they didn't even tap their brakes.

And just like that I found myself on the wrong end of real life version of Grand Theft Auto.

Another witness at the scene was able to provide a partial license plate number to the LAPD but if you ride bikes for long enough in Los Angeles you unfortunately know that the likelihood of a hit and run driver being brought to justice is very slim.

As I write this, I'm very aware that things could have been much, much worse.

However, things aren't exactly the best.

In the collision and subsequent landing, I suffered multiple lacerations and contusions across my entire body. My right side took the worst of it. Multiple tendons in my elbow and hand were torn and I suffered a complex laceration across my knee. My six day stay at Cedars Sinai included three hours worth of surgeries and I will be returning soon for a skin graph procedure to replace what the concrete sheered off.

Fortunately, my health insurance will be covering a large part of my medical expenses but the remainder is shaping up to be a life altering expense. I hope to be back at work within a couple of weeks and begin the process of returning my life to normal.

In the meantime, I must humbly ask for your support.

All my best,

Fred

 
Latha Duncan