Celebrating 5 years of Ironman participation

I Fought Franconia Notch and the Notch Won


This weekend I went up to Franconia Inn with my teammates from Wheelworks Multi Sport.  Franconia, NH is nestled in the White Mountains and is known as a place to train and conquer hills.  Unfortunately, I think they beat me this year.

Saturday morning, we rolled out for a nice and hilly 68 mile ride.  We were only 3 miles away from Franconia Inn, when the winds picked up.   Then, as we biked down through a final pass near Franconia Notch State Park, a gust of wind about 50 mph strong hit us like mack truck.   Natalie fought the wind and fell down on her side.  With the wind so strong, I knew the inevitable was about to happen.  “NATALIE!” I screamed, then hit her and flipped over my handlebars.  With absolutely no control or grace, I took a face dive into the pavement of Rt. 141.

Startled, but alert, my teammates came to my aid.  Beth, with her awesome EMT background, made sure I was alert and stabilized my head and neck.  Unfortunately, I could see the reflection of my very bloody face in her sunglasses, which made me insist, “Take them off!  Take them off!”   Some other folks put blankets and shirts on me until the ambulance came.  A police man arrived first.  Then the ambulance.  Only in NH do the ambulance medics/EMT’s arrive in cycling shorts and hiking boots – on their way back from their respective outdoor adventures.

While I’ve had a few cycling accidents before, this one was by far my most significant one.  Seeing that it resulted in my first backboard, IV, oxygen, ambulance ride and CT scan.  I thought it was worth capturing on film.  Many thanks to Natalie – for putting up with me running her over, accompanying me to the hospital, and being gracious enough to indulge me in the filming.

Aimee came to meet us at the hosptial in Plymouth.  Once I was finally released, we hit up a little ice cream place in town and made it back to the inn in time for the last dinner.   The drive was a little rough – the wind was still so strong that the car shook on the highway and we learned that I had a hard time keeping any food down.  When we got to the dining room at the Inn, everyone cheered for me.  My whole team was so supportive and took such great care of me.  What a great group!  I’m really lucky.

I felt much better this morning.  I even walked around a little trail with Ann before heading home.  Now, I just to make it through this week of explaining what happened and buy a new helmet and sunglasses. I hope I’ll be ready to hit the road in Lake Placid next weekend with my good friends from DC.


Author: sarabstro

My name is Sara Strope. I'm hooked on triathlons. I spend my days building a health tech startup, promoting organ donation, and producing events. Oh, and training!

10 thoughts on “I Fought Franconia Notch and the Notch Won

  1. Wow, such grace under pressure…from a neck brace, no less! Seriously, Sara, you were really brave through it all. Crashing is scary and awful. The winds were truly heinous at various points in the rides we did on Saturday. It was great to know that Beth, Aimee, and others were there to help you out when the pavement + wind combo hit you so hard.

    Chin up — I’m sure you’ll heal up real pretty again soon, and I’m really glad to be your teammate. The dining room cheer made me cry and feel so relieved to know you were OK. We’ll always cheer for a great effort, and I know you did your best to beat that 68-mile road. Just try not to do it with your face next time. 🙂

    Best wishes, -Sunny

  2. Great way to introduce yourself to the whole team, eh?

    I loved your upbeat spirit through the whole ordeal. Rest up!

  3. Dude, ow!!! Glad you’re ok!

  4. Ok, not to say that the injury is hilarious, because it is not, but your documentation is. Felt like I was taking a tour of your bloodied face! Poor girl 😦

    Actually, it was a good call – you can see your injuries a little better with the video rather than the camera phone. Like I said, like keeping your own electronic medical records 🙂

    Feel better hon…

  5. Wow, that is scary that you had such a crazy accident, but I am just glad you were not more injured. You are so brave! Way to capture the hospital footage. You are tough — you’ll be back to 100% in no time. Hope you are feeling better!

  6. Thanks everyone! I saw another doctor today to confirm no fractures – and once the wounds on my face heal, I’m free to get on that bicycle again.

  7. Pingback: Training Weekend 2009 « SBR TV

  8. That looks painful. Great job continuing with the training!

  9. Sara, we hope you recover really soon! XOXO

  10. Sara, it makes for a great story in the future; glad there are no broke bones, teeth or other major structural items. You can make up a different story of what happened if you get bored with the real one. Speedy recovery and get back on the bike soon!


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