Day 1: Climbing, Descents, Emergency Braking, Rough Roads
So the schedule started with us riding along a trail, with a few stops for instruction (pedal practice, balance, and how to climb), then we got continued to a few climbs (although, they wouldn't be considered climbs in Western PA... more like flats). Anyway, after a brief break for an apricot square at the Williamstown General Store, we got to the Emergency Braking... This is where Day 1 got really interesting.
Emergency braking -> Emergency Room
So, this is a picture of MVG's ear after her attempt at an emergency stop (which resulted in a stop in the emergency room for stiches)... but, I get ahead of myself.
The idea was, we climb a very short hill (probably about a 4% grade), then go down the hill to where the coach was standing to perform an emergency stop (grab the brakes, but don't lock up). This worked for MVG the first time down (although, she was not in the 'drops' of the handlebars), so the next time, she moved to the proper position and went off down the hill... pull... no, too much brake!. MVG launched herself over the handlebars (I think the pedals disengaged at this point) and landed 1) on her head, 2) on her shoulder and then 3) on her back. Thankfully she was wearing a helmet (destroyed by the crash) and a Camelbak (took the brunt of the back impacts).
The view from the top of the hill resembled somebody skipping a stone across a pond... I think there were three skips in all. The bike did NOT skip, it crashed down hard... better the bike than MVG. Everybody rushed down, she was a bit dazed and confused, but didn't lose conciousness (but as the pictures show, she did suffer some injuries). Coach called 9-1-1 to get an ambulance on scene (in case of any spinal damage), the police arrived within about 2 minutes to block the road.
To the hospital
So, this was a day of firsts. MVG's first ride in an ambulance, her first time on a backboard, her first time getting stiches, and our first experience with health care in the US (aside from the annual check-ups). We were pretty impressed with the care... one of our new friends accompanied us in the ambulance (turns out she's an ER doc... so we'll call her 'Doc') for moral support (and to translate for us). She was great - and a great comfort to MVG and myself. We got out of the hospital at about 2:00pm, would have been earlier, but the guy in the next bed had the nerve to stop breathing to get some attention, so the staff rushed over to help him instead of the important stiches to MVG's ear.
Well, that about says it for day 1 of Noho... more later on day 2 and 3.