Hi, My Name is David

bed-injuries-selfieHi, my name is David Guttenplan and I am a 30 year old Professional Cyclist, Elite Cycling Team Owner, and Cycling Coach. I drive a VW Jetta. I have a masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida. Besides racing I love to Snowboard, Fish, do water sports, and travel! My girlfriend and I have 2 cats one of which thinks he is a dog.

People who are important to you/who you are important to
kits-kissMy girlfriend, parents, extended family, my girlfriends family, the cycling team I run, my coaching clients, my huge extended cycling family and friends whom when I was hit shared 3000 times and raised $23,000 via a crowdfunding page. I feel blessed and thankful for that every single day.

Why do you ride
It keeps me smiling, happy, healthy, its my job, my passion, it helps me focus, think, and live a happy complete life!

What do you love about cycling
dock-teammateIt is a huge network of friends on bikes. I get to meet people I may never have otherwise in all walks of life where all are equal and all are united by the passion and joy one gets when they are free to pedal outside, exercise, and enjoy all that the world has to offer. All of this at a slightly slower pace than in a car, but still fast enough to see lots of amazing sites and places around the world! There is no better way.

What are some possible repercussions of being hit by a car that could affect your life, or for those unlucky enough to have dealt with it
laptop-training-maskI was in an induced coma for a week, undergoing days of surgery after ripping my nose 95% off, puncturing a lung, breaking my orbital bones around my eye, my jaw being wired shut for 7 weeks, my scapula, my ribs, a tracheotomy in my throat to breath and eat, my tear duct was destroyed causing me to have to have a tube installed and later removed surgically and by a miracle able to recover and get back to racing. However, my face is still not back to its best with more plastic surgery to go, but I’m a walking, breathing, miracle and happy to be alive. It has been a long process. I lost an entire season at the peak of my bike racing career that I may never get back. I’m just now getting back to racing and its still possible I may never be able to race at the level I once was. I’m hoping, training and pushing to get myself there again, but the psychological wounds are massive. Every day, I’m terrified to go on the roads and worried I’ll be hit again, but I push through knowing I’m using my journey as inspiration that you can bounce back from hard times to do what you love, follow your dreams, and live your passion. Never mind my career and 15 years of pushing the limit to get to the peak level of fitness that I was at this year prior to the accident, at the start of the season sacrificing everything to get here, the real repercussion is for those that love me now having to worry even more and having had to worry and stop everything in their lives to take care of me which I will forever be grateful.

Knowing the risk why do you continue riding
It’s what I love. It’s what completes me. It keeps me healthy and happy. It’s my social life. I have met so many friends. I can’t even comprehend not riding. I’d rather risk than risk not to be able to ride again. However, it is tough because I want to be a father and I don’t want my children to have to worry about me either. My dear friend Danny Chew, a multi time Race Across America winner was just paralyzed from a crazy accident and it makes me think: I can’t imagine if I wouldn’t be able to ride ever again and even worse I can’t imagine if because of the risk I wasn’t able to walk again either, so please drive carefully and respect my life.

Some thing you want motorists to know.
david-sling-girlfriend I’m a real person, not just a cone you need to get around. Imagine riding a bike at 20-35mph inside of the yellow line less than 3 feet from an oncoming subway, except imagine that subway is a car being driven by a distracted driver who doesn’t even realize he’s passing you. Maybe didn’t even realize he passed you. Just standing inside of 3 feet from a passing train is downright terrifying. Give me space when you pass and for the love of god slow down, especially if you have a trailer that sticks out further to the right that I have no way of knowing is there! This is why I hate riding all the way to the right of the road. It makes it easy for someone to pass me with oncoming traffic because they think its okay and then they may get a little spooked by the oncoming car, who was also potentially distracted and then swerve into me. I’d rather they wait until its clear and then pass me. Yes, it is going to slow down traffic a little and I do feel really, really, really bad about that. This is why I always try to get out of the way and wave as many motorists around me when its safe for them to pass. However, I know if my mom or son were out on the road, I’d be happy to wait a few extra seconds to insure that I don’t murder them by “accident”. Every single time you get behind a wheel you are placing your fingers on an automatic machine gun that can kill multiple cyclists or pedestrians in an instant. That’s what happened in Athens, GA, week where 3 cyclists were hit and Ashley, a bright, 25 year old, UGA masters student was killed and my old team director and bike shop owner was hospitalized. Be careful driving your machine gun. Distracted driving kills really good people, I promise you don’t want that on your conscience. Please, let me get home safely.

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