My trip to Asia reached a premature end. During the descent from Hehuanshan Pass, the highest road in southeast Asia, a car going in the opposite direction suddenly turned left right in front of me. Even though I was going at moderate speed, I could not avoid it. I hit the car’s side head-first…
I was very lucky to escape without life-changing injuries, but the impact was hard enough to break my shoulder, my arm, one or two vertebrae and a few ribs. Stefan, our German engineer in Taiwan, accompanied me to the hospital, first in Puli and then in Taichung. Care in Taiwan seemed overwhelmed by these complex injuries, and I was lucky that my friend Natsuko immediately came from Tokyo and got me on a plane to Seattle. The 20-hour trip was a bit of an ordeal, and we were so happy when we saw Hahn at the Seattle airport. He already had made arrangements, so we checked into the hospital, and a few days ago, surgery bolted my collarbone back together, so that my scapula can heal as well. (Two fractures had my left arm no longer connected to my torso by bones.) I am extremely grateful to these friends who have ensured that my outlook is as good as possible. Fortunately, a full recovery is expected.
I am encouraged that all the healing happens simultaneously, so the multiple injuries don’t mean it’ll take much longer to heal. I am looking forward to riding with my Seattle friends when the new cycling season starts again.
Meanwhile, the awesome crew at Compass Bicycles will fill your orders and handle Bicycle Quarterly subscriptions with their usual efficiency. Sometimes blog comments and other areas that I handle may take a bit longer in the coming months as I focus on healing first and foremost.
As I work through this long road to recovery, I remember the great cyclotouring adventures of the past month-and-a-half. One memorable trip was a 5-hour ship voyage to a mini-Hawaii off the Japanese coast, where we spent two beautiful days of cyclotouring organized by the Tokyo Cycling Association.
I’ll think of the amazing bikes and great company at the Hirose Owners’ Meeting. I’ll recall riding a 600 km Super Randonnée with 11,000 m of elevation gain through the autumn leaves of the Shinshu and Yatsugatake Mountains. I will cherish touring through the clouds in the mountains above Kyoto.
Visiting the factories that make our Compass products in Japan and Taiwan always is instructive, and discussing new ideas and projects was fun. And even the climb up the 3,422 m (11,227 ft) Hehuanshan was a great experience until it’s premature end. I’ll be busy writing all this up for Bicycle Quarterly and this blog over the coming months.
In the mean time, wish me well, and ride safely!
Click here for an update on Jan’s recovery.