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Cyclist grateful for unexpected help during race

Wednesday - 8/10/2011, 5:15am  ET

Wehmeyer and Wurm (WTOP Photo/Kate Ryan)
Jason Wehmeyer is seen in the lead of the race. Dr. Alex Wurm, who is right behind him, fell and broke his hip. (WTOP Photo/Kate Ryan)
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Kate Ryan, wtop.com

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Alex Wurm knew he was in trouble when he wiped out on a switchback during a mountain bike race in Annandale's Wakefield Park.

"I felt a pop in my right hip."

But Wurm had bad falls before, so he tried to hop back up on the bike. Instead, he did a face-plant into the dirt.

Wurm, who happens to be an interventional radiologist, figured he'd dislocated his hip, but given the pain, worried it might be something more serious.

"I was in mortal agony."

He called out for help, and soon it arrived. A fellow cyclist introduced himself as Jason Wehmeyer, a firefighter and emergency medical technician with the Alexandria Fire Department.

Despite his pain, Wurm recognized the biker's jersey and said, "Hey, weren't you the guy I was following for the last two or three miles?"

It was.

Wehmeyer, who had set a blistering pack and led the race, had doubled back to help.

"He distracted me, made me as comfortable as possible, it was blazing hot that day and he made sure he stood over me to ensure that I was in the shade."

Wurm's competitive spirit heightens his appreciation for what the Alexandria firefighter did.

"Words just don't do enough to explain my gratitude for his actions that day."

Wurm says the experience has made him want to be a better person.

"I got to be honest with you, I think there's less than a 50-50 chance that I would have stopped if I'd have been in the lead and I heard some commotion behind me."

Wurm, who now sports some serious hardware in that broken hip and will be laid up for weeks, found a way to express his gratitude. He wrote a letter of commendation to Alexandria's Fire Chief, and made a donation to the cycling club to which Wehmeyer belongs.

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