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    • VilTri

      Exactly a year ago my life was changed. I was hit by a car while racing my bike at 2017 Donner Lake 70.3 triathlon. That morning I stood in front of the lake enjoying the warm rays of sunrise. I didn't know it at the time just how much my life would change in hours to come.

      As a car crossed the lane into the incoming traffic I was right there, descending at full speed. It happened in an instant. I hit the car head on...

      After a few seconds of flipping in the air, tumbling on the ground and some 30 feet away from where my carbon fiber bike laid split in half, I openned my eyes and saw the underside of a parked car. The exhaust pipe and back wheel was inches from my face.

      Fast forward the ambulance, hospital, rehab and countless hours of reliving the nightmare in my head. I knew that this was one of the defining moments of my life and I had to get up and move forward. And so I did. From having friends carry me in their arms, to my girlfriend diligently putting my socks on, to slowly walking across the house.

      Step-by-step I started to move again, a little more, a little faster. As my body healed my mind grew. I re-evaluated my life choices, priorities and goals. It was a hard reset. Yet what came out was a realization that I love what I do. The daily grind, the challenge, the people I've met and the people I love. They all inspire me to be a better person. I now understand the meaning of cherishing every moment and moving on. When you come so close... yet live to tell the tale, you realize just how important it is to live a life with people you love, loving what you do.

      Here I stand a year later before the start of 2018 Donner Lake 70.3 triathlon. Ready to finish what I've started...

    • Keenan
      Keenan Wells

      I remember when this happened and I couldn't believe how you came out of that without even more serious injuries than you had. I can't imagine what must have been going through your head in those moments before, during, and after. I'm really happy that you've made a full recovery, and it's inspiring to see how strong you've bounced back!

      ---

      If there's one moment that really put things in perspective for me, it was probably when my apartment in Oakland burnt down in March 2015. It was a pretty terrible fire that started in the building adjacent to ours around 3am. Sadly, two people died.

      My unit was completely destroyed and pretty much everything I owned was gone. When I walked into my unit and saw the carnage, I had a strange reaction: I laughed. It wasn't really funny, but I guess it just didn't seem real.

      I was very lucky. Lucky I wasn't there that night. Lucky that Sylvie, my girlfriend at the time, let me move in with her in the aftermath. Lucky that I had renter's insurance. I was able to replace a lot of my things. A lot of people in the building didn't, and truly lost everything they owned. Two people lost their lives.

      Needless to say, it really put things in to perspective. What if Sylvie and I were there that night? Would we have made it out? I don't really know the answers to these questions, but what matters is that we're here now.

      Sylvie and I are now happily married and are excited to start a family. The fire taught me lessons I'll carry with me forever: stuff is just stuff, and every day is a gift.

      PS - Get renter's insurance! Hopefully you'll never have to use it, but if you need it, it's worth it.

    • vegasphotog
      Robert Baker

      Interesting thread and happy to know everyone has survived! As I get close to tapping on the sixties door, I have always been a risk-taker and the older I get I hope to believe my risks are including more calculations. I remember riding my motorcycle in the Navy back in the early 80's across country using a mechanical lock on the throttle as a cruise control and I laid back on my seabag and feet up on the handlebars doing 80mph. God certaining must look after fools.

      Four years ago I was doing one of my fav hikes up in Red Rock...done the Keystone Thrust a bunch of times as you come up from a long slope backside to a sheer cliff drop that gives you a great perspective of Mt. Wilson and the Valley.

      At the time I had been actively practicing yoga for a few years and this whole thing doing selfies in yoga poses in weird places was getting really popular. That is not why I was doing it but I did think that there was a connection and purpose to capture a yoga pose in an extreme nature setting. Rarely could I get a gal to opt-in to my creative adventures so I was left to setting up my camera on a timer.

      This particular time I now know in hindsight I was distracted and as I looked over my left shoulder to see if the timer light was blinking on my camera 20 yards away, I lost my balance on the cliff edge and fell to the left side down a steep couloir filled with metamorphic-type lava rock that sliced and peeled my left calf like a sardine tin canister. As I was sliding slowing down the couloir, I saw my sunglasses and visors go over a 300 ft ledge that was surely going to be my death.

      As I have read before, things got real slow. Fortunately my lard ass and gravity must have been enough for my body to stop . As I looked up towards my feet and the top of the couloir, and quickly assessed my injuries, I saw my leg was filleted and suspected I had a mild concussion.

      My recent experience with yoga paid off as a I just focused on my breathing and slowly righted myself and started crawling towards the top. I was in quite a bit of pain and it probably took me twenty minutes to get back to the flat summit.

      Fortunately, I had left my cell phone adjacent to my camera, albeit with only 60% charge and 3/4 of a bottle of water. Even though phone reception is not good, the 911 call got through and about an hour later I was hoisted out by helicopter.

      I had to compression wrap my leg with scoops of silver sulfadiazine every other day for 6 months to ensure I did not get an infection.

      Probably because I am older, but, that event changed me and I have curtailed exposed adventuring by 90%. I still hike and go to exposed areas but it does give me the willies and watching movies like Fast and Furious scene where the jump the Lambo from building to building I almost could not watch.

      I have saved the most graphic photo for my friends and it is not appropriate here. In fact this might not be appropriate and I am happy to remove upon request.

    • ranjani

      It was not a tragedy but an opportunity in disguise.
      This happened when I was 20, in college and thought I was idealistic when I fell for a married man, an intellectual with a darker side. We ere very close and talked frequently on the phone. I did the stupidest mistake of my life when I sent him an email one day that I had started loving him and that it would be better if we didnt contact each other again. His wife saw my email and he sent me a message (Get lost!) that would change my life for the better. The humiliation, shock transformed into a person I was meant to be. I am now a happily married, ambitious woman with two wonderful girls (a toddler and a baby) who is into educational research. If this invertebrate hadn't humiliated me then, I would never have become the person I am now. He thought he broke me. No, he didn't. I matured into a strong woman. I became me.

    • Chris

      For me it was my beautiful mother descending into schizophrenia. She had graduated with a masters degree from Cornell and worked in her dream job as a cancer researcher, but this horrible mental illness caused her to believe scary conspiracy theories.

      And so the rest of her life she lived on and off the streets in a terrible state of anxiety, sometimes with me.

      It gave me a great appreciation for the angels who are social workers, volunteers, nurses...who labor in anonymity without much pay out of the goodness of their hearts, while we idolize and give unimaginable wealth and political power to the ones who can throw a fastball.

    You've been invited!