Monday, November 30, 2009

The Epilogue

Touch Down.

In Melbourne, hello shocked parents, hello coffee machine, hello internet.

Hello sanity, normality and recovery. But no time to rest now, half clean wounds, fresh fractures and a gooey gashed faced all lead my parents and I to say hello again to hospital.

Hello Epworth. Helloooooooo nurse! Did I mention the nurse was a chubby hairy ocker bloke named Bill? Well scoff all you want, but he knew how to sponge bath juuuuust right.

So another 3 days were taken from my busy schedule of do nothing so that I could now do nothing while getting loaded with vain stingingly vicious intra-venous antibiotics and have my armada of helpers ferry my coffees from Hudsons on the ground floor.

Life was good. Friends, family, internet fame and some wicked scars.

Stitches came out from the face (all 57 of them!?&$%%##$) and the leg, bruising came down and I even began to hobble around (on my left leg with the fractured pelvis!) with a walking frame.

Once I got home the ordeal was definitely over and it really was time to recover and start organising next year.

In a minor milestone I had my first shower in just under two weeks yesterday, it was unbelievable. I don't want to get too emotional and reflective but is good for life to bowl you a beam ball every now, just to help you appreciated all the things you took for granted.

So that's that, everything is healing nicely and for the first time since I went to France 4 years ago I've gone two whole weeks without riding a bike.

There is a wave of my 'crash photo porn' sweeping the web on all sorts of blogs and sites. So to Fyxo, TFM/Celtic, Goldie's Blog, various facebook and twitter accounts, various email groups and forums and anyone I've missed, thanks for having a read, my 15 minutes of fame has been fun fun fun, but now I really, really have to start studying for my exams! aaahhhhh dam.

Ciao, for now....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rats Under the Bed, Red Tape Overhead

The first part of my brief stay in the Hospital is sunny Sanya was no problem. It was all shits and giggles. The team were visiting me, team Directeur Sportif Patrick Jonker had a constant supply of McDonalds coming, team physio Scott even spent the first night keeping me company and dosing me with painkillers and Dicko (aka Will Dickenson) had loaned me his laptop so I had about 4 days of music to keep me sane in this most insane of situations.

But like any bizarre moment suspended from all time and reality and no matter how far from any semblance of normal life you appear to be; whoever it is in charge upstairs in life slaps you across the face with a big reality check and says

“Hey ****head, you’re in a foreign country with lots of injuries, possibly some brewing infections given you are covered in dirty scabs and scars, you are in no state to fly but the rest of your mates are leaving for the wonderful land of Oz tomorrow, if you don’t get on that flight you are so far up shit creek you can probably see Werribee”

Oh, yeh. Bugger. I crashed on Wednesday, it was now midday Thursday and my flight left at 5 pm Friday. I could not bear any weight on my legs, I could just sit myself upright in bed. I needed painkillers and a miracle.

I received a visit from the Chinese representative of the broker for the Cycling Australia travel/health/crash insurance. His plan: stay in Sanya for 3 more days, then fly to Hong Kong then stay till you are good to go back to Melbourne. That sounded plausible, except what would I do with my 2 bags and bike box? Good luck lugging those around in a wheelchair!

So after a quick consultation with my dad over the phone we decided (or maybe I stated it in a blunt manner with the addition of a few choice adjectives) we had to do everything possible to get me on the team flight. My dad had already spoken to the Australian representative for the insurance company and the plans were coming together. The major red tape barriers we struck were

1) The Doctor had to give me clearance to leave; he planned on visiting me on Friday morning which according to the hospitals regular procedure would not allow me to get on a flight the same afternoon. No reason why, just the way things were done.
That’s not good.

2) The hospital would only clear me to leave once they had been paid, in cash. For the insurance to get the money into my account and for me to get someone to withdraw it would take days.
Now that’s really not good

3) For clearance to be given I needed to upgrade my flight to business class which was mighty costly. The airline would also only accept cash. The insurance company would pay, but they could not get my money to freedom quick enough.
OK I’m screwed.

4) I needed the doctor to find me some anti-DVT injections to prevent blood clots while I was on the flight.
I’m not going anywhere am I?

5) Even if all of the above was negotiated the airline still reserved the right to not let me on the plane if they deemed me unfit to fly.
Yep I’m officially rooted.

I was amazingly, incredibly and fantastically fortunate to have my Dad in Australia hassling the insurance company non stop, and Savings and Loans team representatives Steve and Michelle Cunningham in Sanya hassling the hospital, airline and the insurance company. I guess if you make enough noise, hassle enough people, and do it with just the right amount of politeness, you can get stuff done, real quick, and in my case, against all odds.

We bypassed a minor bureaucratic hurdle when the insurance rep in Australia explained to my dad that the Chinese representative who came to visit me initially wanted me to go to Hong Kong because then they would use a certain medi-vac company who he would get extra remuneration from. So it wasn’t so much what he thought was best for me, more so what would net him the best Christmas bonus. I happily nodded but politely declined to follow his course of actions when he visited me on Friday morning.

Come Friday midday the stars had aligned, I was heading home. Steve and Michelle had got their mitts on the $7000 US cash prize pool that had been paid out to Savings and Loans and where throwing money every which way to get me home!

Business class upgrade? Tick
Hospital bill? Tick
DVT Shots? Tick
McDonald’s large chicken fillet burger meal? Big Tick

The two barriers remaining were finding an ambulance to transport me to the airport and once there convincing the airport I was OK to fly. The Australian insurance rep came to the for and made sure that there was an ambulance to get me to the airport, step one done. Then, thanks to some wheeling and dealing, the Chinese doctor who we were consulting allowed us to write up a letter of travel recommendation reading along the lines of:

“According to my medical expertise Jonathan is in a fit state to travel etc” and translated it across to Chinese as best he could for us to present to the airline.

So that was it, add in a good 30 minutes arguing with Chinese airport workers and I was in the clear.

For the following 20 hours I was wheeled, carried, lifted, and flown from good ol Sanya on the Island of Hainan back to Guangzhou in mainland China and onwards to Melbourne Australia.

Home sweet –English speaking, slightly less bureaucratic and slightly more medically competent- home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pedal Pedal Thump

What actually happened to cause me to crash so badly?
What caused such a fine array of injuries?
What sparked the exponential augmentation of grey hairs on my dad’s head?

Well, the short story; I crashed into a big arse rocky ditch. Go fast, hit hard, smash smash, ouch ouch, life sucks, oh well deal with it.

Battered, bruised, broken and beaten by the impact and sudden loss of momentum my left pelvis suffered a few fractures, the tendons in my right shin were neatly sliced in two, my left shoulder got a good knock n’ bruise and my face got the grating of a life time.

The frustrating factor with this crash is that it was merely the result of appalling dire and patently unfair luck, but hey, shit happens right? As I was descending the final hill during stage 8 of the Tour of Hainan I swung full speed (60kph? 70kph? Who knows…but it was quick) into a left hand bend, just as I came to overtake a rider on the inside of the corner his rear tyre blew out and he came off his line. From the apex of the turn he basically straight lined it to the gutter leaving me time to otherwise collide with him, or, fate chance and head for the gutter. Bad move. In hindsight, the four foot deep ditch, full of all things dangerous to a vertebrate with velocity, was a bad choice. Joel Pearson who was on my wheel just feathered the brakes enough to avoid the two of us and has recounted to me that I had no choice but to end up in the gutter. The causer of the crash ended up in the gutter too, so maybe it was fate. I was told by someone else that even Lance Armstrong couldn’t have gotten out of that one, destiny indeed.

Now, hands up, who remembers those big nasty gutters from the Beijing Olympics? Yep, well this one, same deal. Yeh, you’re right, it hurt. The ditch was so deep all the team cars drove past me and didn’t even notice I was in there! Cyclingnews photographer Mark Gunter was the first to notice me and came to the rescue. First up he came too my aid after I pleaded to him for a bottle of water. Funnily enough when he gave me the water all I wanted was more water (having not drunk any)! At this point he realised I was delirious. My personal memory runs to the point where I leave the road thinking “Oh crap!” to waking up in the ambulance some time later. The photos Mark took of me once the ambulance arrived show me sitting staring, looking around, but I have no recollection of that period in time.

The next step in the saga was the hospital. It was there that I realised the worst of my injuries and that I was in for Chinese surgery. Now, I had no idea about the Chinese medical system, good, bad or indifferent, who knew? It was simply the fear of the unknown that worried me. Bottom line, the Chinese surgeon did a great job. My tendons got stapled together and I was loaded with stitches.

Hours later and with a concussed and caffeine deprived achey breakey head I awoke to my room for the next two days. Rock hard mattress, dirty walls, and a weird climate that was not warm yet I found myself covered in tepid sticky sweat. Compounded with multiple visits from nurses that looked surprised to see this weird multi tan lined 6 foot white boy yet never too taken aback to continue prodding me with needles and antibiotic IV drips, it was fair to say I was out of my comfort zone.

The reality of it is however, that when in such a groggy state, you don’t care, you just roll around, sleep a bit, moan a bit, do whatever, just try to occupy your mind for a while and hope it will all come to an end soon.

The next chapter in the saga came in the form of the Airline, Hospital and Insurance drama which will be posted up within the next day or two.

Safe riding,


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gross Ghastly Gore, this will make your eyes sore.

Warning guys, you are about to see some pretty gross photos. They are a little juicy but hey, I love pictures that tell the true story so here it goes

Sitting in the ditch, no memory of this point in time. Check the gash on my left cheek! Geez, bit dirty!

Clean cut to my right shin, rock on.

Sweet memories of a fun trip with a rough finish. I learnt a lot in two weeks, most importantly to enjoy the good times while you can; who knows when you are going to career off a road into a rocky ditch at 70 Kph? Exactly, no one knows, it could happen to you!

But seriously, I got some time off now and some study to start, it never stops!

Have a good one.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Scar Face

Still twiddling my thumbs at the Epworth. For the time been, check the crazy number of silken stitches I ended up with in my face..solid job there. They  took a long time to take out yesterday, was truly a great way to pad out the afternoon and bring the weekend to a close.

And now to peek at my right shin. Basically the tendons here got severed agaisnt the jagged rock face I hit. So the Chinese surgeon stapled the tendons back together then stapled up my leg like so. Some big nasty stitches there!

And spot the dirt and mould  on the roof above me, this is the view from my Hainan hospital bed. Fortunately I was not able to snap photos of the rat under my bed.

I've got loads to write up about the actual tour and about the political drama of getting from the Chinese Hospital to the airport and on the plane! The last 5 days have been draining like no other 5 days of my life!

Quick outlook on the recovery is looking like the broken hip will heal fine on it's own with a few weeks rest and the tendons on my right leg need a similar recovery time.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm Alive!

It's Been a pretty hectic fortnight.

I've got loads of stories, photos and lovely insights from the biggest and fiercest race I've ever started in, plus a whole swag of drama covering my crash and life in a chinese hospital. Be back with the juicy info soon, for the moment there are more pressing issues!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Off to Hainan!

Be back soon!

Will try and blog it up in my spare time.

Now I need to get my pack on.



Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Tony Crino and John Dam are two of the nicest guys you will ever meet in the Melbourne cycling scene.

Out on the boulie yesterday I snapped a derailleur cable and on the recommendation of C-Mckenzie I went and checked out Crino Cycles in Carlton. Tony jumped straight over and helped me out, started fiddling around and got the frayed bits of cable out of the lever and housing. Thank god! That would have taken me hours! After whacking in a new cable Tony was talking about bringing my back so he can check over it completely, all the while I had a good chat with John about old bike racing stories. Great! I even got offered a coffee but I had to politely decline, aiming to keep the shot count at 4 for the day.

So if you live in the general vicinity I say get over and check this place out. You'll get great service from two guys who seem to go above and beyond the call of duty.

On a side note what an awesome day it was at Kinglake today, cyclists everywhere, even passed a recumbent going up Wild Dog.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Crash Bandicoot Part 2

Some more good'uns to add to my list I started compiling yesterday. Ah the memories, or lack thereof...

6) Tour of Tassie 2007. Coming fast (45-50k) down a hill then hit a little flat section, dog runs out from a driveway to my right, guy in front hits the dog, I hit him/dog. Fly into ditch. Knocked out. Convulse, jerk around then just flop dead still (or so I'm told), then just wake up like nothing happened. 3 days in Burnie hospital as punishment for being in the 2nd group on the road! Left hip skin once again appears to be missing. Helmet pancaked.

7) Tour of Murray, massive winds and wet road. Race is getting thrown in the gutter, I am looking to move to my right into the working line and get a sit, gap appears to be open, I start moving, someone from behind me wants the gap too, big gust of wind, handlebars lock, BANG, down we go. Hip and butt skin gone gone gone. Next 100k of racing take around 3.5 hours, epic headwind. Very lonely day! Notice in the shower apparent lack of left hip skin.

8) Some muppet crashes in front at Sandown, I go left to avoid it and he just about side rolls under my front wheel. Then Crowie runs me over. Broken collarbone and frame. Thems the breaks.

9) Tour of Thailand. Sitting 3rd GC, team meeting emphasises staying up the front and avoiding the crashes. 2nd corner, hook handlebars and bam. Down I go. Left Hip skin gone once more, quietly pleased with expert knowledge at treating disappearance of hip skin.

10) Tour of Gippsland, 4 laps to go, final crit, getting hectic. Getting Laangers to the front for the sprint, bunch gets squeezed, I hit a gap that disapears too quickly. Bars hooked, down we go. Broken helmet, hip skin gone (yes the left one), shoulder skin gone, knee skin gone, lots o' bruising and 2 fractured bones in my pelvis

Off for a trundle now!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crash Bandicoot

Well, while having a laugh and thinking about all my crash memories, I thought, heck, this would make a great blog post. It's rough, raw, poorly edited and thrown together in no time. Just a quick statement summary, some causal factors and the end result. I'll try and update the list if I have any repressed memories come to the fore in the next couple of days!

Jono's List of Creative Ways to Loose Skin and Maybe Get a Day Off School
1) Young tacker, sprinting against mate on bike path, back wheel slips of the edge of the path and slides out. I eat dirt. More memorably, friends mum bandages me up with elastoplast, 2 hours later the red pussy blisters under the bandage reveal a latex allergy!

2) MTBing with old man, loose front wheel in some mud and slip out, old man proceeds to run up my ****. Thanks dad.

3) Exploring 'cliff' trails round yarra bend/studley park, **** myself on one section and end up falling off the edge clinging to shrubs to keep myself outta the yarra! Friend struggles to come to my aid as he is busy not wetting his pants with laughter. What are mates for...

4) Ride too fast round off-camber, greasy and wet corner near home, that I knew was off-camber, greasy and wet. Good bye left hip skin.

5) Racing down a silly hill in a crazy bunch in a juniors race in Italy. We hit a dark tunnel, pitch black wearing sunnies, going very fast, nerves high, fingering brakes in anticpation. What was I anticipating? Well, I thought maybe, just maybe, there was a good chance I migh.. BANG CRASH BANG SCREAM SCREECH CLATTER SCRAPE. I ram straight into the guy from behind. Mass pile up ensues. 45 degree handlebars for the last 1 hour of the stage, sore back!

Numbers 6+ to come in the next instalment of "Don't ride on Jono's wheel!"

I loooove cycling

EDIT- Does anyone else find it hilarious Google Ads are now pushing first aid kits?!