For anyone who rides a bike there is always the risk of a fall. That risk is diretly proportionate to how hard you push the boundaries, if you’re just cruising, you’re less likely to have a fall. However if you’re racing you have to accept that one day, you’re going to part ways with some skin, it’s part of the “game”!
I’ve had my share of falls off bicycles and motor bikes over the years and I’ve learnt that the falls off bicycles probably hurt more than the moto falls did, which I put down to the lower speed and wearing less protection. The problem with racing bicycles is that you tend to do it in the lightest gear possible, which gives you little protection when you fall. Lycra leaves town just before your skin is about to in a fall, giving you zero protection, only the chamois in your Knicks will save your butt!
During a recent criterium race I had a high speed crash on the last lap right before the sprint, hitting the hot mix at 50kph, I landed on my left upper leg and buttock. It made a great YouTube video, but it was about to teach me a lot about pain and wound treatment. I quickly burnt a big hole in the Knicks, which then burnt a large patch of skin off before I stopped sitting on the same spot. It didn’t really hurt that much as the adrenalin was pumping hard! Once I got back to the start/finish I had an onside paramedic take a look at the wound, he said I needed to clean out all the dirt, dust and gravel then was lodged in there, so I said to him can you do it now? He said of course and proceeded to vigorously scrape/wash the wound with saline and gauze, this hurt beyond words is all I can say. He clean it up beautifully, but it was not a positive experience, my partner had to walk away as it was making her feel ill. When I got home I had a hot shower, the initial stinging was unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my life, it was indescribable, it actually made me feel sick, but I knew it had to be cleaned again because I was quite sweaty after the race and if I didn’t clean it in the shower it was a good chance to get infected, so I toughed it out with a few expletives.
The paramedic gave me a stack of non-stick dressings and said to keep it clean and dressed. I then got the best price of advice off all time from a fellow rider, Mark Fagg, who had a similar crash a few months prior. He recommended a product called Ungvita. So after a visit to the chemist, I went home and applied a good thick coating of Ungvita and the non-stick dressing, with a bandage over the top to keep the dressing in place. I changed the dressing morning and night for about seven days. In that time it healed beyond belief, the Ungvita kept away any infection, it kept the skin moist and supple and stopped anything sticking to the wound. I was pretty amazed at how well and how quickly it healed, I now keep two tubes of Ungvita and the same non-stick dressing at home for the next episode.
A few key things if you want to look after a wound like this and have it heal fast:
-get it cleaned up ASAP, preferably by someone else who has a strong stomach and who understands how important it is to get all the foreign materials out.
-get in the shower and keep the whole limb clean everyday, morning and night.
-avoid getting sweaty as much as possible and if you do, clean the wound again and dress it.
Stick to the routine and you’ll back in the mix in no time! Hopefully this information helps a fellow rider!
If you have a fall I highly recommend you seek expert medical advice immediately, I am not a medical practitioner, nor am I trained in anything of the sort, just sharing my own experience in the hope it helps another rider. All the best, Paul Beretta