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This Is Why We Wear Helmets

Last updated on March 28, 2009

More of Dr. Maristela stitching up my face.

With the nice weather today and a report that most of the Stony Creek mountain bike trails were ridable, I decided to head out there with my new-to-me single speed and give it a go. While exhausing, things went great all the way to the top of Mt. Sheldon, where this photo was taken. After that I started to head down The Roller Coaster, where things were equally fun, until I started into the back half of this trail.

Immediately after descending a rather root-y area and crossing some two-track path (marker #24), there were a couple of decaying logs which I had to ride over. (This crossing / section can be seen in this video, right after 1:45.) As I went to ride over them, my front wheel sort of sank into the log, my bike stopped, and I went over pulling the bike on to me. I immediately knew that things weren’t right, because I could taste blood and felt a little out of it.

After checking parts (teeth, tongue, lip, etc) and taking this photo to assess the wounds (warning, a bit graphic), I realized that I was a bit messed up. At that point I gathered my stuff and started walking back to the parking lot. Thankfully someone (Mike Moss, Stony Creek’s excellent MMBA Trail Coordinator, I presume) had recently posted accurate maps of the trails, which include the numbered intersections making the walk pretty quick.

Once back at the car I put everything away, cleaned myself up a bit, then went to meet Danielle at my house. She then drove me to the Urgent Care facility at M-59 and Heydenreich where I received excellent treatment from a bunch of different nurses and Dr. George Maristela. While there I received a tetanus booster shot, general check-over, five or six injections (very painful) of Lidocaine, and the seven (particularly fine) stitches which were needed to close the wound.

The final tally is a Y-shaped cut on my upper lip which tool seven stitches to close, a cut on my nose, a mole on the left side of my face which was mostly ground/cut off, a bruise on my forehead from the helmet, and various other scrapes and bruises. I also have a seven-day prescription for Cephalexin (Kephlex GEQ). Thankfully there were no problems with my tongue, teeth, neck, skull, or any of the hard to fix / very important parts. This, combined with really great treatment by an excellent doctor and staff made things, so far, not that bad. This fall could have been much, much worse.

I can’t help but think that when the visor came off of my helmet (they clip on loosely) my face hit that, which actually cut me, but I can’t be certain of that. Regardless, I will have to get a new helmet as mine has a nice dent / flat spot in the front, and once one falls hard in a helmet it should get replaced. I think in the future I may forego the visor completely and just wear a cycling hat with flip up/down visor. This will accomplish the same ends as a visor, but without the detachable plasticky bit risk.

Danielle and I brought a camera to the Urgent Care, so (with the doctor’s permission) she took photos all throughout the procedure. If you’d like to see the photos, they can be found in the Stitches! album here. Here are some of the more notable photos:

· Me, a bit cleaned up but with a split upper lip, before leaving the house to go the Urgent care.
· A very, very painful injection of Lidocaine.
· Stitches going into my face.
· Firmly holding the bed frame during the last couple stitches, which I could slightly feel.
· Wincing at the last couple stitches, which hurt a bit.
· Procedure complete, laying there a bit bloody waiting to be cleaned up.
· After being cleaned up, just about time to leave.


  1. jimbotr0n
    jimbotr0n March 28, 2009

    Wow – that first self-assessment picture is very Zombie-Apocalypse-c0nsumer! The embedded bits of trail are a nice touch. I’m glad you got away with just some superficial injuries, I guess a slice from an errant helmet visor is better than a dented head. Here’s to mending quickly – I hear that hop-infused beverages speed healing. :)

  2. c0nsumer
    c0nsumer March 28, 2009

    jumbotr0n: I’ve already confirmed that it’s generally okay to have beer while taking this antibiotic, which is good. :) I’m looking a bit beat up today, but hopefully I’ll look a bit better post-shower.

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