This is the story of Sam, not his real name. Sam is a military officer, a former cyclist, and a former triathlete who competed at a very high level.

Sam’s story is one I think about nearly every day when I ride. This story was told to me secondhand, by Sam’s mother, who was a friend and client at the time this took place. To the best of my ability, I’m relaying this story with accuracy. Though there may be some discrepancies in how I present this versus what actually happened, I believe any disparity is minimal.


Sam was an Air Force B1 pilot in the mid-2000s. He flew regular missions over Iraq and Afghanistan. At some point, as those conflicts evolved and as the technology of war evolved, Sam was reassigned to the drone program and stationed near Las Vegas Nevada. This reassignment allowed Sam to spend his nonworking time training for triathlons, something he aspired to do at the highest level.

One afternoon, I believe in 2012, Sam was on a training ride roughly 20-miles outside of Las Vegas, riding alone on a rural road.

Far from civilization, and with no witnesses to see what took place, Sam was struck from behind by a pickup truck. The driver of the truck saw there were no witnesses and rather than stop, she continued on, leaving Sam for dead. Sam, however, survived the accident.

After being struck and probably unconscious for a while, Sam would awaken to the sensation of several goats licking blood off the back of his head. As part of the trauma, Sam had suffered a laceration at the base of his head, extending from ear to ear.

Additionally, Sam suffered a broken leg on one side, and what his mother described to me as a “shattered” ankle on the other leg, though I don’t recall which side was which.

Sam was not left on the side of the road though, as the woman who struck him believed.


After being struck, Sam had tumbled over the cab and landed in the bed of the truck which hit him. The truck was carrying several goats, and the woman driving the truck was unaware that Sam had landed in back.

The driver, who was later determined to be intoxicated at the time she hit Sam, continued on to her home, a small ranch outside of Las Vegas. Parking her truck and still thinking she had left Sam on the side of the road, she entered her home and continued to drink, presumably to help settle her nerves.

As Sam began to gather his senses and attempted to figure out where he was and what had happened, he was able to drag himself out of the truck bed and crawl to a neighbors house to request help.

Help arrived and Sam was taken to the hospital at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas. As Sam was being taken to the hospital, police apprehended the woman, a veterinarian with a history of DUIs, and processed her through the system. She would be released within 24-hours.


Over the next few days, Sam would be assessed and a series of surgeries would be scheduled to repair his ankle and a broken leg.

Shortly after being released from police custody, the woman who hit Sam injected herself with Euthosol, a compound veterinarians use to euthanize animals. She died at her home.

Shortly after this happened, I lost touch with Sam’s mother, though I do know he was on his way to making a strong recovery. To the best of my knowledge, Sam remains an officer in United States Air Force. I don’t know though, whether or not Sam’s recovery was complete enough that he was able to return to cycling and triathlons.


Each day when I ride, I think of Sam’s story. I know that there’s always risk involved in riding on these rural roads. It’s a risk I accept though, in exchange for the reward. The reward is simply decompression and peace of mind — I guess.

Again, to the best of my knowledge, I have conveyed Sam’s story accurately, as it was told to me by his mother.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes ridden: 6
173 miles
6,700’ climbing
14.5 mph avg
10,000 calories

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from The Thermals. Enjoy…!

9 thoughts on “The Shocking Story Of Sam…

  1. Dam that’s quite the horror story! Hope he made a full and strong recovery. I often think about what would happen if I were struck in a quiet rural road a long was from a town or hospital. It’s scary and I try to keep it out of my head and just enjoy the freedom. It’s sad that we even have to consider that happening…

    I’ve taken to doing a bit of trail riding to get away from cars.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for taking the time. Since I ride mostly on rural roads, with an average percentage on gravel, I don’t worry about cars too much. I have confidence in my defensive riding senses and abilities.

      You bring up a good point though, where there are a few cars around, if something bad did happen to me, I could be there for quite a while before being noticed.

      Food for thought… Oy….


      1. Yeah for sure. I’m fine riding through traffic and in cities, actually quite like skirting through cars sometimes! Honed that sixth sense in London. It’s the lonesome rural roads where I start to worry about being left for dead!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Holy Schnikies My Gosh what a story for him to survive that. My brother I think of you on the road All the time.
    Last year I pulled a U turn to aid a fallen cyclist on old 395 near Rainbow, guy was all bloody,scraped up. Put his bike in the car and gave him a ride back to home in Fallbrook. He was all by himself out early. Continue to be safe out there, head on a swivel,defensive riding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To this day Heidi, I find it astonishing. I think about it nearly every day and I can never wrap my head around it completely. To wake up and find goats licking the back of your head in the back of pick up truck. As my people say, oy…


  3. Shock, awe, and sadness! I imagine most every serious cyclist has had close calls on the road, though I’m sure Sam’s was beyond what even most lifetime riders could imagine. It’s incredible he survived. Life is so precious, and in an instant, everything can change. I’ll be thinking about this story for a while…

    Liked by 1 person

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