Adrenaline (C9H13NO3)

By Peter Helmenstine - 12/30/04


I was out for an afternoon ride last Thursday (12/23/04) cruising down the Great Highway along the ocean. It was a beautiful day out so I thought I'd go for a ride before the sun set. It was getting late and I wanted to get home before dark so I got into the left hand lane to turn around. I pulled up behind another car and waited for the light to turn red. When it turned green I decided to pass the car in front of me on the outside lane. When I came from around the car I noticed gravel on shoulder of the road but couldn't stop to avoid it. I went right through it and started to lose control.

At this point I knew I was going to lay the bike down. I always knew this day would come while owning a bike. It was just a matter of time. I thought "This is it! You've always waited for it, now here it is. Let's just hope it's not too bad."

As I went through the gravel the bike started to lose traction. I hit the brakes and I slid into the grass. Once I hit the grass I decided I need to stop because I was going to cruise into a merging lane. I locked up the brakes and the bike started to slide as if it were on ice.

From the moment I hit the gravel it seemed like an eternity. I knew I had to get off the bike as soon as possible but I couldn't find a way. The bike leaned to the right one final time and I braced for the fall. I don't actually remember hitting the pavement but I do remember bouncing off my hip, shoulder and head, thankfully thinking "I'm conscious... still..." I rolled around and faced the direction of the fall watching my bike slide down the street. Before today's ride the bike was in perfect condition. It was no longer.

Although the bike did fall on the grass it slid off and onto the pavement scraping a $350 piece of plastic. Seeing the metal grind on the street and knowing how many exposed parts there are I figured it's going to be quite expensive to fix. I now realize after talking to my friends that I wasn't really thinking of myself during the fall, only my bike. Although at the time of the fall my body didn't hurt.

As I slid through the street I had a fear in the back of my head that this is a merging lane and there could be a truck ready to roll right over me. I couldn't see into the merging lane because of an obstructing tree. Because there was nothing I could do about it, I didn't worry about it.

After the bike slid into the curb and bounced to a stop, I got up, walked over to the bike and picked it right up. I picked up a 500lb bike without even flinching but noticed that my shoulder felt kind of different. I knew that "different" feeling wasn't good. The adrenaline kept me from feeling any pain.

The bike was pointed uphill and I had to rock it back and fourth, putting more pressure on my shoulder, in order to get it to face downhill. I climbed on the bike, turned it on, didn't stop to notice the bike turned off the in the fall, and thought "Could I ride home?"

I thought for a second, "How much pain am I in? Will I hear it from my friends after I get home? Yes! Of course. How much will it cost to get the bike home? How long will I have to sit there waiting for someone to come? Should I call an ambulance? No, that'll take too long."

So I rode off towards home 7 miles away thinking. "I'm crazy. I can't believe I just wrecked and now I'm riding home. Does my shoulder hurt? Can I make it without passing out? Oh man a stoplight!"

Somehow I made it all the way back home without incident. I pulled up in front of my house and parked the bike. Getting off was quite difficult and I noticed the pain was really starting to kick in. I made it inside, opened the garage door and parked the bike.

I then went inside, took off all my motorcycle gear, sat on the couch and called my buddy Keith to take me to the hospital. While sitting there waiting for Keith, the adrenaline wore off allowing for the pain to become more real. My shoulder was throbbing at each heart beat and the two bones rubbing felt like fire. I knew I really needed to go to the hospital then. I started shutting down.

At the hospital I learned through a number of x-rays that I've suffered from a broken right collarbone, a possible fracture on my left hand which is also very sprained and bruised, a couple banged up knees and a bruised hip. All in all I think I'm damn lucky, especially when I look at my helmet and see where I hit my head.

I'm selling the motorcycle. I love that bike but it's just too dangerous. I got lucky. I knew I was going to fall but I just wasn't sure how or when. I knew it was getting close though. I was being too dangerous on it. I started feeding off the power of the bike and how nimble it was vs. the other cars. I haven't even reached the bikes limits yet. I took risks that I shouldn't have. I just fed off the energy and the power of the bike pushing it to places I really shouldn't have gone. It truly is addictive. The first rush I had on the bike just made me want more. That is why I have to sell it.