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Lost: Crash Details

Help Wanted!

Did anyone notice a crash on Friday, July 27 on the road between Springville and Viola?

I believe it occurred at the bottom of a hill, almost exactly half-way between these two little towns and the ambulance was on the scene in just a matter of minutes. In fact, the ambulance was at the top of the same hill and received notice of the accident from an alert (and very caring) RAGBRAI rider who circled back before the ambulance had even received the 911 call.

Thankfully, the fallen rider also received immediate aid and comfort from a medical professional (M.D.)…she was a fellow RAGBRAIr, possibly from Colorado, who stopped to lend a hand.

The crash occurred at the 30.1 mile mark of this 40 mile day, probably sometime in the late morning.

One gentleman was thrown from his bike and left in the ambulance for St. Luke’s hospital in Cedar Rapids. He was wearing a white helmet, Pearl-Izumi bike shorts, a RAGBRAI XL 40th Jersey, sunglasses, and black compression stockings.

We would appreciate any information as to what actually happened, but believe a rider or riders may have either collided and gone down in front of him or possibly re-entered the right lane suddenly and unannounced.

The rider is fine, but would like very much to know what actually set this accident into motion so as to avoid its happening ever again.

Thank you!

Best…and safe rides!
Miami Beach

40 Replies

Anonymous, August 6, 2012 at 8:10 am

“zinzen1 sent you a new message: Subject: Fallen rider… “Thanks very much, Steve, however the rider is a highly skilled, trained and experienced bicyclist…and as such his bike, both before and after, were and are in perfect condition. I went over it personally and except for some serious scraping on the right pedal-face, the bike was pristine…not even a small scratch anywhere, including the handlebars and special grips he uses. Except for some road rash on his right leg and knee (now, miraculously, having healed almost completely) and a shoulder injury currently being treated, the mystery of the fall remains precisely that, a total mystery…thus his asking me to make inquiry as to what may have happened. The medical personnel told me his fist question was about the others injured when he went down…”are they alright?”…so we know there were others. Some riders reported two riders suddenly tangling and going down in front of him and that his going left would have jeopardized a paceline of riders; so, knowing him, he would never have taken that route out. Still others say one or two riders suddenly rolled into the right lane in front of him, w/o the traditional protocol “rider(s) on” announcement…that they were busy talking and possibly did not see or hear him as they suddenly jumped in. Nobody knows what actually happened, at least not yet. In the meantime, please keep this kind and very gentle man in your thoughts and prayers and…ride safe!”

If the rider was highly skilled as you say, he would have been practicing defensive riding and allowed space or enough room to stop safely. It would appear your client was at fault by following too closely..Do not send me emails but you are welcome to respond on this forum.


zinzen1, August 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm

“If the rider was highly skilled as you say, he would have been practicing defensive riding and allowed space or enough room to stop safely. It would appear your client was at fault by following too closely..Do not send me emails but you are welcome to respond on this forum.”

Thanks very much for your response, Steve!

And I (and he) certainly hear you as far as managing the space, as well as the road, between yourself and fellow riders, but he has been doing that for many, many years. That is one of the reasons that this crash remains such a mystery to all involved.

I am sure you understand…might possibly have even seen firsthand…that driving defensively is not a guarantee of rider safety, though it certainly increases the odds. All one has to do is watch the TDF to see the truth about the damage done to seasoned, highly defensive cyclists as a result of the unpredictable, unexpected or downright stupid things done by over enthusiastic spectators or less savvy riders, especially amateurs.

For the record, I am a teacher and he is a very dear friend and mentor. He is not my or anyone else’s “client.”

Thanks again!



Jboz, August 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Zinzen – I’m not questioning your motives, but I have been reading these prolific posts, and I am curious about something. If the rider is OK, then it sounds like a fairly minor brush-up, of which there were probably hundreds. Why the tenacity of your quest for additional information. This sounds like one of those things that happen, and probably defies explanation. So, why not just let it drop? The incessant requests for additional information just doesn’t square with the fact that as you state, he was not seriously injured. Am I missing something here?


bikegirl, August 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Zinzen: it is very likely you will never know what happened. It is annoying, I know, but part of life.

A good friend of mine wrecked several years back. He lost some teeth and has had several dental surgies as a result of that wreck. To this day, he has no clue what actually happened. I speculate that he passed out/bonked and then wrecked. The details of the accident are lost forever.

Two years ago, I wrecked. I know what I was doing before losing balance and what happeend after waking up in the middle of the road, but I have no clue what transpired in between. I have tried to figure it out from the bike damage and my injuries (none serous), but I can’t imagine what happened to result in the damage sustained. I know uneven pavement precipated the whole event but I don’t know how I got from there to where I got up. Bugs the crap out of me wanting to figure it out, but I never will know.

I was at a rodeo once when a bull rider blacked out, smacked his head on the bull, and went flying off. It took a while for them to figure out he blacked out first then hit the bull not the other way around.

It might be possible that your friend lost consciousness first, then wrecked. The heat, length of riding each day, low blood sugar, electrolyte imbalance, not eating enough, not hydrating enough, etc etc could lead to full unconsciousness or a brief laspe in consciousness where any number of things could have happened to put him rubber side up.

The mystery stinks, but it may remain a mystery.


hnschipper, August 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Even if you did find out what actually happened (which is doubtful you ever will), how will you be able to avoid it happening ever again? Accidents happen. Sometimes they’re unavoidable. Sometimes you’ll never figure out what happened. Let it go.


zinzen1, August 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Many thanks for sharing you story and insights, Bikegirl! I could actually feel both your and your friend’s pain as I read your words.

My friend is a seasoned cyclist who has lectured many times on the importance of proper nutrition, hydration and the maintenance of key electrolytes…he has been my mentor in this as well as many other areas of safe riding, especially endurance riding complicated by 105-115º temperatures. However, Friday was a relatively cooler day and with only 40 miles, less of a challenge to most experienced riders.

I very much appreciate your taking the time to respond to my request for help, but am afraid this crash is a conundrum which is not going to surrender so easily.

Best…and safe rides!



zinzen1, August 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Thank you for responding…and for not questioning my motives (which I assure you are sincere), Jboz! I appreciate that.

It is not your fault, but I think you are missing a few things here.

The rider is o.k., meaning he will surely survive and ride again, however, besides the rapidly healing ‘road rash’, several ribs were cracked and he suffered an AC separation or dislocation…which is, from what I understand, an horrific, painful and debilitating injury that cannot be addressed effectively without major surgery, followed by many months of PT and a good deal of discomfort along the way.

When I Googled this injury, which has many different levels of severity, I came to better understand his need to know what happened last Friday.

I also believe his knowing other riders were both nearby and involved has him wondering if/when someone will report what they saw.

However, his and his family’s, and to a lesser extent my search for the truth here is less about the injuries…every cyclist knows they come with the territory, and more about the need to understand what happened and why.

I do not know if I would be so keen about finding an answer as he is, but then nothing like this has ever happened to me, so I won’t judge him.

He is a unique and very inspiring individual, e.g., he is not mad or angry at anyone (I think I would be), nor is he seeking to identify those who may have been involved. Up to this point, I would say the principal emotion I have seen is sadness.

I suppose that is why I have tried to be of some assistance.

Thanks again for responding…and safe rides!



hnschipper, August 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm

There is a relatively small number percentage of RAGBRAI riders who use these forums. The chances aren’t great that those who did witness the accident or were involved somehow are ever going to see your posts.


zinzen1, August 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Thank you very much, hnschipper!

I have no experience with this medium and so, to the chagrin of some, have re-sent my original message in several different ‘forum strings’ with the hope of eventually reaching one of those riders who might know something about this accident.

If you have any other specific recommendations, I would welcome them.

Best…and safe rides!



Jboz, August 6, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Zinzen, your explanation is starting to make sense to me. The cynic in me (and probably others as well) interpreted your initial inquiries as looking for someone to blame, and potentially someone with deep pockets to initiate a lawsuit against. This is why some here, including myself, were initially put off by your posts. When a car accident happens, it’s not uncommon for lawyers representing an injured party to post similar notices looking for witnesses. If your inquires were not an attempt to build a case for a lawsuit, then I was mistaken. I can completely understand an individual who was disoriented by a bike accident looking for some clarity…unfortunately, he most likely will not find it. I hope he finds solace in knowing that these things happen, and that if he survived with only bumps and bruises, he fared better than many on this ride.


Unavailable, August 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Very interesting reading……I was going to make an extended comment but after rereading the posts, I felt that they not only contraticted themselves in several places but seemed to have a “hidden agenda”. Maybe your intentions are a heartfelt desire to solve a mystery and maybe they are of another nature but I feel that there is nothing that I could add that would help anyone so I will refrain from extrapolation. I hope that your friend recovers to ride again


Unavailable, August 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Postscript….please do not misconstrue my comment as an admission of any knowelege pretaining to the afore mentioned topic. Please do not E-mail or message me. Thank you


zinzen1, August 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Jboz –

I am glad my explanation…and motive…is now making sense to you and, I hope, to other readers as well.

I can assure you that no lawyers, case or search for witnesses is involved in any way and never has been. Were that the situation, well, my friend would not be the person he is and who each of us knows him to be. He is a rider and a thinker and certainly not a member of the litigious society.

His sister once told me that if a person were injured and needed blood quickly, he would use a basketball needle to draw it from his own arm. When she added that he would do this for a stranger, I was speechless.

Over many years, I have since come to know that her comments were in no way an exaggeration; he really is that concerned, caring and unselfish.

When I spoke to a friend who had just visited him, he said he was amazed that when he told him how lucky he was to not have sustained more serious injuries his simple reply was: “Thank you for helping me. My life is a blessing.”

What a model for us all.

Thanks again for showing your concern.

Best…and safe rides!



zinzen1, August 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm

The Elec”Trek” Horseman…

Thank you, Kurt!



jwsknk, August 7, 2012 at 8:26 am

could be the tirggers never had a clue what they set in motion behind them and even ot they do read this, still won’t know.I saw a couple hit the ground (1 in a town along with about 100 other witnesses who all turned to look about the same time, and 1 on the open road) but never saw the why for either, neither one was in a large group. Just suddenly biker down.


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