Sep 27, 2014

Cannonball Update: Clyde Crouch

Clyde CrouchThe Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run may have ended several days ago, but we continue to get updates from stuff that happened along the 4,000-mile route between Daytona Beach, Florida, and Tacoma, Washington.

Today’s news came in the form of a phone call from Clyde Crouch, who was injured in a crash on September 14.

Clyde was riding on a narrow, twisty two-lane through the Colorado Rockies when his 1928 Henderson went off the road. He said he wasn’t going more than 15 mph when the bike hit a gravel dropoff at the edge of the pavement. He went down, and as he says, “I was the mattress between the bike and the edge of the road .”

As a result of falling on him, the bike was undamaged. And at first, it appeared the same was true for Clyde. Fortunately, though, Vicki “Spitfire” Sanfelipo, an EMT who was riding as part of the Cannonball support crew, happened along. Vicki, who is the founder of the Accident Scene Management program, became the guardian angel of this year’s Cannonball, watching over the physical condition of riders both on and off the bike. She was concerned about possible internal injuries that Clyde might have suffered and pushed for a trip to the hospital.

Eventually, Clyde took an ambulance ride to a Denver hospital, where doctors removed his spleen, stopped internal bleeding and treated him for a collapsed lung and five broken ribs.

The good news is that Clyde is out of the hospital and recovering at home. He reports that the recovery from surgery has progressed rapidly, and he’s now up and around, although the broken ribs are still painful.

Vicki "Spitfire" SanfelipoClyde wants to pass along his thanks to Vicki and Byrne Bramwell, who accompanied him to the hospital. Also, thanks to the other members of the Cannonball support crew, including motorcycle-sweep riders Gary Haynes and Dave Jones, along with the “School Bus of Shame” team—Jimmy Bradley and Jeff Boris—who recovered his machine. He was also thankful for Sheriff's Deputy Josh who made sure that the ambulance crew took him to St. Anthony’s Hospital where they have an excellent Level I Trauma Facility.

Clyde also wants to thank all of the other riders and support-crew members who signed a get-well card, along with Cannonball official photographer Michael Lichter, who provided a panorama shot of the lineup of bikes at the start in Daytona Beach that was signed by many of the riders.

“I just want to say thanks to everyone for their help and remembrance. I’m overwhelmed,” Clyde said.

But he had another message as well. He noted that riding a motorcycle, particularly an old bike, requires full concentration at all times, and that means making frequent rest stops.

The Sheriff's deputy on the scene indicated that he has responded to a number of motorcycle crashes in the tight, decreasing-radius corner where Clyde crashed, many of which have resulted in serious injuries.

“As I was riding along that road,” Clyde said, “I was thinking, ‘I should have stopped and rested a half-hour ago.’ Even though I was going slow, I was tired."

“I know that the Cannonball is different because of the endurance component,” he added. “But most of the time when we ride our old bikes, it helps to take a 5-minute break every 45 minutes to move around, stretch, check the bike, and talk about the route and next stop. After all, this is about camaraderie.”

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