Clifford Barnes is no stranger to physical pain — he’s just not used to this kind.
On Saturday morning, the Lodi resident was cycling on Highway 55 in Treasure Valley, Idaho when he was clipped by the passenger-side mirror of an SUV. Barnes tumbled to the ground, then suffered further injury when a pickup truck ran over his legs.
With his left ankle shattered and both legs broken, Barnes will need major surgery to repair the damage. Doctors estimate it will be at least three months before he is able to walk.
What they don’t know is when he will be able to run again.
The 56-year-old is used to struggling with his body. He has been competing in triathlons for 15 years. He’s even entered a few Ironman races—grueling contests that include a 112-mile bike ride. His mother, Patricia Barnes, said he cycles 30 miles to 40 miles every other day, taking a break only to run a similar mileage.
“Except for his wife, that’s his life,” Patricia Barnes said. “His wife first and then his triathlons.”
Clifford Barnes has lived in Lodi for 30 years, working at a Costco in Tracy, raising three children and running marathons in the area.
Though his daughter Harmony Barnes describes him as a homebody, tonight Clifford Barnes will be confined to a hospital bed in St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, waiting for antibiotics to cure an infection that threatens his left leg.
Harmony Barnes says the next few months will be tough for her father, a man used to running everywhere. But with Clifford Barnes’ training as an athlete, both Harmony Barnes and her grandmother are confident that he will be able to compete again.
“My dad is very stubborn; it’s his passion,” Harmony Barnes said. “We thank the Lord for his life. He was hit by a car and run over by a truck; he’s lucky to be alive.”
Contact reporter Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato at email@example.com.