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by Kristen Legan
July 28, 2015
Photography by Kristen Legan
WOMEN'S CYCLING BROUGHT TO YOU BY ORBEA
“There are two types of cyclists: those who have crashed and those who will” is an old cycling adage. While we all try our best to avoid collisions and falls, the fact is, crashes are just part of cycling.
Like so many cyclists, my first bike crash happened while racing a crit. One of the racers misjudged a corner and proceeded to take down nearly the entire field. With brakes squealing, bikes crunching, and random water bottles whizzing through the air, we all hit the pavement and slid to a painful stop against a curb.
Luckily, our speed at the time of the crash was relatively slow and nobody was seriously injured. After checking for broken bones and busted bikes, most of us were able to get back on our bikes and limp across the finish line.
Only after crossing the line did I realize that half of my butt cheek was hanging out of my ripped up kit and blood was starting to trickle down my leg. At that moment, the adrenaline from the crash suddenly wore off and my scraped up hip began to scream with pain.
Time to visit the medical tent.
Road rash doesn’t usually require a hospital visit as long as you thoroughly clean the wound and keep it protected from infection. If your crash happens at a race, visit the race medics for help in cleaning and dressing your road rash. They will have all the bandages and ointments to get you home where you can give it a more thorough cleaning.
If you crash while training and don’t have easy access to medical equipment, spray your road rash with water from your bottle and try to remove any large debris from the affected area.
I’ve talked with several wound care specialists and a couple professional cyclists who know a thing or two about road rash. Their expert advice on caring for skin wounds caused from bike crashes can be broken down into three phases:
There are two options for covering your road rash: hydrocolloid dressing and non-adhesive gauze pads. I personally love hydrocolloid dressing because it keeps everything contained throughout the healing process. Gauze pads are less expensive but you’ll need to replace them on a regular basis.
*** While these tips and trick are how I personally take care of my crash wounds, it is always advised to ask your doctor before treating yourself for any injury.
Kristen is an athlete, writer and coach. She raced triathlon professionally from 2009-2013, but has since switched her focus to exclusively racing bikes. In 2012, she was one of six women to complete the entire Tour de France route as part of the Reve Tour. Living, training and working in Boulder, Colorado, Kristen coaches for APEX coaching and has a degree in Molecular Biology & Neurology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.