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Peter's story: Using BaseCamp breathing through an accident

BaseCamp alumnus Peter Berg shares how he used what he learned in BaseCamp to take him through an unfortunate and painful bike accident.

On the Monday after Mother's Day, I had a bike accident that broke eight ribs, fractured my clavicle and scapula, and knocked me unconscious for approximately ten minutes. I had a small brain bleed and was hospitalized for two weeks. There are a few things I wish to share related to Basecamp.

First, a number of doctors all came and told me that anybody else with eight broken ribs would need to be intubated, but that because I was in such good shape, I did not need to be intubated. I was told that 50% of the people with ten broken ribs die. All the doctors seemed surprised and let me know that the only reason I was doing so well was because I was in such good physical condition, including my lungs. Something I recall in my painful moments at the ER and in the ambulance just after it happened was that I was using the breathing techniques I learned in Basecamp. I watched Tim Cusick do the videos of breathing techniques and tried to practice them and use them in my cycling. What I found is that they also came in really useful, and I believe I was doing them unconsciously at first and when I was in pain after my accident. I really feel the breathing made a difference. I am now on the mend and hoping to get back on the bike as soon as possible. Basecamp and the awesome instruction certainly made a difference to me, not only to get me in shape.

By the way, I did a 63-mile ride with 6000 feet of climbing on the Saturday before my accident and completed it. The year before, I tried to follow my friends, and we attacked the hills. Only one of them completed the 63 last year, and we all did 51 instead. This year I let them go and used my power meter to work through the hills; I may not be as powerful as I want or as fast, but I accepted my limitations and worked within them using my Basecamp training as a guide. I knew what I could and could not do. I held back that temptation to attack, and I conserved my energy. I was the only one in my group to do the full 63 with approximately 6000 feet of climbing. When I finished 51 last year, I was wrecked. When I finished 63 this year, I felt a good tired and had no problems driving home the 3 hours. That’s progress! Now on to healing!


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