Back in January, during a long road trip to Washington DC to cover the Inauguration and Women’s March, I arrived at an idea. It’s a business concept and experience design program, and I’ve been working on it ever since. Like many people, I’ve been disheartened by the current state of our political discourse. I was inspired to learn and get more personally and positively engaged in ways I haven’t before—maybe contribute in some way to the conversation and solutions so many smart people and organizations are now focused. I’ve reached a tipping point with what I’m likely to accomplish on my own with the project and thought I’d open it up to whoever may find it useful. The PDF presentation is a truncated work in progress you can download here.
I’m driving from Austin, Texas to Washington D.C. this week to cover and participate in the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st, the day after the Presidential inauguration. As a white male, I enjoy a privilege that I did not earn—one that is not shared equally by women and all. I believe that our continued progress in the pursuit of equal opportunity and eliminating racial and gender bias will come under greater threat with the new administration. I’m going to the WMW to demonstrate my solidarity with all women, to help document and add a little more volume to women’s rights and this historic event. Stay tuned for a written account of my experience and a series of photographs from the events and environment there.
After going through many thousands of images, I’ve compiled a couple different photo journals about my life with Wesley. Check out the new webpage with links to a few nice stories and movies, and the larger “Best of Wesley” and “Travels with Wesley” photo albums on Flickr.
I spent about six weeks traveling around Europe, hanging out in Budapest with family and friends, and taking the Trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to Ulan Bator, Mongolia. I returned to the States via New York in order to visit my dad and pick up my car for the long road trip back to Austin, Texas.
I spent the month of August hiking 515 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Oregon/Washington border on the Columbia River to Manning Park, British Columbia. When I thru-hiked the PCT in 2013, Washington was my favorite section and I wanted to revisit it. Not only is it the most difficult, in my opinion, it is also the most intimately beautiful in so many ways and it feels very much like home to me.
I’ve mostly recovered from the bike crash and very happy to be back riding my Moots again. I’ve spent some of the downtime editing a collection of new and old photographs, and making some updates to parts of the website. You can check out some of the changes to: My Egyptian Revolution, USA Cycling CX Nationals, Texas Bike Racing, and the main Photography page.
On Thursday evening, March 24th, I was racing in Austin’s weekly crit races at a small motor speedway called the Driveway Series. It’s a proud local tradition and attended by cyclists of all ages and levels of experience. I race as a Category 4. I was in the second lap of my first race of the evening when I went down coming out of a long sweeping corner carrying a good amount of speed and moving up. Though I remember nothing of the actual accident, I understand now that I most likely clipped my inside pedal and instantly crashed to the ground, head and right shoulder first.
It is now almost a week later and though I am not really fine, I have every reason to believe that I will recover fully in the months to come. I had a concussion, broken collarbone, fractured cheekbone, and damage to the vertebrae and tendons in my neck. I left the hospital on Sunday evening and am staying with family for a few days or for as long as it takes for me to better manage on my own.
Though my shoulder surgery went well and should make a full recovery, my neck injury does worry me some. I will be in a neck brace for several months in the hopes that my spinal column heals and realigns properly. If not, I understand more surgery may be required.
I am a bit unsteady at the moment and have difficulty balancing especially when getting up or sitting down. Perhaps this is the concussion, but I am hopeful this will also improve soon. The neuro surgeon told me that this injury to my neck could have been much more serious, using words that shocked me a bit and I never could have imagined being used in the same sentence as me.
The care I received at the race on Thursday was amazing and helped in preventing what could have been a much more serious injury. Thank you to everyone at the Driveway Series for staging such a great event with some of the best professionals around, including our race marshall, Brant Speed. Thank you to Tice Porterfield and the EMT’s at Capitol Medical Service for their quick and cautious action in protecting me, and to the ambulance driver who explained what was happening to me when I woke up.
Thank you to Kelley Davis Ables for not only helping to put on such a great event in Austin, but for coming to the hospital to visit and check in on me. Thank you to my good friend Paul Perrone for coming to the hospital that night to stay with me in the ER. It is not my nature to ask for help, even though I need it, so this all means so very much to me. Thank you to my dear Aunt Minka for all her love and care for me. I am glad that my dad is now also here again. Perhaps we are helping to take care of each other a little. And a great big hug to all of my friends, near and far, and those here in our amazing cycling community that have sent their well wishes and lovely little tokens of care. Thank you so very much!
As for bike racing, I am humbled. I love the sport so much and riding with all my friends. But I am reminded that when it comes to racing, it is not something to take casually. Perhaps this is obvious, but may be easily forgotten at times. I feel I may have made a stupid mistake which caused my accident and could have very easily contributed to the injury of others. I am happy that it didn’t.
Racing bicycles can be a great experience and tremendous fun, but it’s also one that depends on a trust between riders that we will look out for each other. This includes being honest with yourself about your limitations and experience to do so safely. I may have misjudged my mental readiness that day and am now paying the consequences for it. But even so, while I am learning a valuable lesson, I am so very grateful to my bicycle for all the wonderful people it has brought into my life.
Have fun, be safe, and thank you!