Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Inherent risk

There's sad news to report. Daniella Izquierdo, a rider from Miami who was seriously injured at the Six Gap cycling tour, died yesterday. Daniella had been in a coma since the crash and despite hopeful indications, her brain activity stopped.

Daniella crashed about 10 minutes behind me, on the treacherous Hogpen descent. I found myself at the brink of panic making that downhill while others zipped by in aero positions.

Daniella was found face down on the shoulder of the road. A trauma surgeon riding the event was one of the first on the scene and immediately called for an air evacuation. Despite prompt efforts by ride organizers and emergency personnel, Daniella didn't make the journey back.

This seems the appropriate time to focus on inherent risk in endurance sport activity. We train, we ride, we race...and if we're in a fit state of being, may feel infallible.

Years ago, my brother ended up in the hospital after collapsing at the FANS 24-hour run in Minneapolis. Seems that some sort of electrolyte imbalance took him down. There was a happy ending to that story, but the epilogue could have been different.

I am very sorry about Daniella's fate and have compassion for her, her family and her friends. Let's all take a macro view of the sport we love and manage risk to the best of our abilities. I'm in this for the long haul and it's important to remember that this shell of a body has limitations.

Inherent risk. Let's pay attention and be safe.

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