08 May 2014

Car vs. Bike in Boulder, Colorado :: Bruce Snyder's Status

On Thursday, April 24, 2014, I was in a very serious cycling accident in Boulder, Colorado while riding my new Cervélo S3 during the lunch hour and I am currently hospitalized in Denver, Colorado for at least the next 60 days. 

Damage Report

In the wreckage, I suffered 11 fractured ribs (10 on the left side, most in multiple places, and one on the right), fractures of the L3 and L4 spinal vertebrae, one collapsed/punctured lung, one deflated lung, a nasty laceration on my left hip that required stitches and loads of road rash all over my back and left hip from being run over and rolled by the car. The worst part was being conscious through the entire ordeal, i.e., I knew I was being run over by a car.

Current Status 

After undergoing emergency spinal surgery involving the insertion of mounting hardware, rods and screws from the L2 - L5 vertebrae to support the fusion between L3 - L4. Also, L3 and L4 were dislocated which is what damaged the disc between them requiring the fusion. They also had to clean out much debris from various spinal process fractures (fractures on T9, L1, L2, L3, L4) that punctured the spinal dura and required repair. There was also damage to the left psoas muscle and I experienced an ileus, a disruption of the normal propulsive ability of the gastrointestinal tract. Luckily they removed my chest tube while I was in the ICU under heavy pain meds. When getting out of bed, first I must put on a rigid clamshell brace from my armpits to my pelvis, two pieces that velcros very tightly together. This is not fun due to all the rib fractures. I am now able to control everything from the knees up with the exception of my butt. I do feel my feet somewhat as I can distinguish sharp vs. dull touches in some areas but I am not able to flex my feet/ankles or wiggle my toes at this time. After the surgery, I was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Boulder Community Hospital for 10 days or so. Since this time, I have been transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado. Craig is a world-renowned hospital for it's spinal and brain injury rehabilitation programs.

(For those who are curious, I'm told that the bike was left almost untouched. But I will certainly have my family take it to Excel Sports in Boulder to be fully evaluated. )

A Very Special Thank You 

There is one guy who deserves a special thank you for his compassion for a stranger in distress. Gareth, your voice rescued me and got me through the initial accident and your clear thinking helped me more than you will ever know. After you visited me at the Boulder Hospital, I totally fell apart just because I heard your voice again. We will meet again, my brother. 

Also, a special thank you to Mike O. for introducing Gareth and I after the accident. Thanks, buddy. 

To My Family and Friends 

My wife Janene has truly been my rock through this entire ordeal. Never did she waver and, for me, the sun rises and sets with her. She and my girls have given me such strength when I needed it most. I am truly blessed with my family and friends.

My brother, Michael, was like a sentry -- by my side, from early morning until late into the night, supporting me in any way he could. I love you, Michael!

The moment my brother, my parents and my in-laws received the news of the accident, they packed their cars and hauled ass through the night 1000 miles to be by my side. I love you all so much and I could not have gotten this far without you. You are all amazing!

Thank you to my close friends for whom this experience only brought us closer. Karen, Dan, Anna, Sarah, and Sasha, I love you guys! Filip, you are very special to me and your dedication to visiting me and helping me keep my spirits high is stellar, thank you! Mike O., the chicken curry was delicious! Who knew this dude can cook *and* write code, thank you! Tim R., you have been my cycling buddy for a number of years and we were riding together the day of the accident just prior to its occurrence. You've stayed by me and met my family and helped in any way you can, thank you!

To all my friends and neighbors who immediately mobilized to provide my family with more delicious meals than they could possibly keep up with eating, you have really made us feel loved and watched over. Not only has Louisville, Colorado been ranked as one of the best places to live in the USA by Money Magazine for the last several years, the community of friends and neighbors is like an extended family -- you guys are the best!

Thank You To Everyone 

Thank you for all of your phone calls, emails, texts, tweets, concerns, hospital visits and well-wishes from everyone around the world. The level of compassion that I have experienced from near and far has been absolutely overwhelming for me. Please understand that I am not able to communicate directly with every single person simply due to the sheer volume of communications and the amount of time I am now spending doing rehab at Craig Hospital. I still get exhausted fairly easily doing rehab and just trying to live my life right now at Craig Hospital -- and this is coming from someone who could easily run 10 miles or ride 30+ miles at lunch just a couple weeks ago. This whole experience is absolutely flooding me emotionally and physically.

The Gory Details 

For those who want more details as the shit went down, please see the Caring Bridge :: Bruce Snyder website set up my extraordinary friend Jamie Hogan. This website is where Janene has been posting updates about my experience since the beginning. I will be adding my experiences henceforth here on my blog as I travel the winding road of recovery.


Life is precious and I am so very happy to be alive.

And please, please do not ever text and drive. 


  1. Good to see you are doing (slightly) better !

    Don't worry, it will take time, but you are going to recover ! The body is such a flexible machine, it beats any computer program when it comes to auto-fix itself ;-)

    I wish you the best for the coming weeks !

  2. It is so great to hear from you directly, Bruce. Your blog post obviously comes from your heart and that is nice to see. You are a man of high integrity and passion for others even in your own distress. You are strong both physically and mentally - both strong attributes for your recovery. Know that I am thinking about you often and praying for a full recovery. If there is anyone who can do it, it is you! Take care of yourself! We miss you around here!

  3. I agree with Troy - it's nice to hear the story from you personally. Your recovery will likely be long, but I know you can do it. Will stop by and visit with my folks next week.

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  5. Hi Bruce, glad to hear you are healing well. You are such a strong person and I'm sure you will be back on that bike sooner than you think!

    Your Montreal hybrids miss you and wish you a rapid recovery.

  6. Bruce, terribly sorry to hear about your ordeal, but, on the flip side, completely pleased to hear about your recovery and impressive support network. All the best to you and your family for a speedy recovery.

  7. Hi Bruce, I'm very pleased that you are getting stronger. You've always been an inspiration to us on many levels and your attitude and resilience during this trial is testimony to that.

    We're all looking forward to seeing you on your feet!

  8. I love that you were specific about the bike you were riding. That is what distinguishes normal people from bikers. So, here's from one biker who wishes you the best recovery possible, a picture taken from the small chappel of Ghisallo, the official patron of bicyclists, which I biked to in June last year:


  9. Really glad to hear from you Bruce! Can't wait till we can talk again!! We are all thinking about you here in Chicago and wishing you a full and quick recovery

  10. Jeez mate, sorry to hear about the accident but pleased to hear you are recovering!

  11. Terrible news about your accident! Hope you have a speedy recovery!

  12. Sending you all our love, support and strength Bruce !

  13. I second Mats' comment - you are a true biker :) Great to hear from you first and we're thinking of you from San Francisco. Sounds like recovery will not be easy, but I have no doubt you can pull it off.

  14. Good luck to you Bruce .. get well soon - stay strong and you will get through this!

  15. Sorry to hear about this. You'll definitely be in our thoughts as we wish you a full and speedy recovery.

  16. My thoughts are with you, Bruce and family. Best wishes in your recovery.

  17. Man I'm sorry to hear this happened. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  18. Hey! Bruce

    Very glad to know that you recovering well and steady, and more than glad to know that you have such wonderful family and friends, it is the one true wealth in this life.
    I still have your book "ActiveMQ in Action" which you signed for me in ApacheCon Vancouver, which I am still very proud of. Get well and write more books :D.

  19. Love you cousin! We are all thinking and praying for you. The day it happened I had a sick feeling and couldn't place it and for some reason I was looking at touring bikes online, which I never do. It was a weird coincidence of seeing this nice bike at my new job and then looking it up. I thought about you too. 6th sense I guess. Love you lots and hope you heal up fast!

  20. Hi Bruce,
    just discovered your blog post via Skype. We were all shocked at hybris all around the world. And it is sooo good to hear that your recovery is doing well!
    I wish you all the best from Munich and get well soon,

  21. Hi Bruce, I'm so happy to hear about the control and feelings coming back!

    Also happy to see that you are linking to your bike model's page...fantastic bike ;-)

    Best wishes for that long and winding road to recovery - I suppose it will have its share of hard uphill climbs, but those are usually followed by nice downhill rides!

    Bertrand, from the ASF

  22. Bruce! Thank you so much for these words, they are such a relief Oh Bruce! Thank you for this precious news, this is such a relief to hear from you! Despite all your serious injuries you took the time to reassure us, this so kind! Your story touches me a lot and I am impressed about your courage and your perseverance in such short period of time! You are definitively a champion in your sole! Take all the time you need to recover. You built a strong team that is really dedicated to you. Warm thoughts – Sophie (HR – hybris)

  23. Wishing you a most speedy recovery, surrounded by your friends and family, and virtually by all of us too far away :)

  24. Bruce,
    This is John Maguire in Boulder, CO who had the motocross accident. Please give me a shout at 508 320 1767. Would like to talk.