Sunday, February 24, 2019

Scars of the Past - Remembering "Great" Rides

As I have said in at three previous posts about injuries (Nov 10, 2018, Jul 29, 2016 and May 20, 2013) mountain biking includes an element of risk (and reward) which includes crashing and scratches in various forms.  But, unlike road riding, you can crash, slide out, fall over and generally get separated from your bike and walk away from it (with maybe a little poison oak). A road bike crash is not pretty.

Recently I was in the bathroom after a shower and taking an inventory of my body as a map to great rides:
  • There is the "BB" sized scar on the top of my left hand that happened on my second ride down COD in Bend Oregon. Somehow my had got twisted under my handle part in a crash on a rocky section. All I had was this round BB sized hole that healed like a little rock.  The top of COD is one of my favorite trails which I connect with Funner.  
  • On my right wrist there are two side by side 2" "racing stripes" that I got going down the "Stairs" on the upper McKenzie River Trail (MRT).  The upper MRT is one of the most technical trails you ride as it has narrow trails through sharp lava rocks.  This crash happened as I approached the "Stairs" and a riding partner said wait, let me film it, which caused me to stop and loose momentum. Going too slow, the wheels locked on a step and over I went.  My helmet saved my life and my wrist got the tattoo. 
  • Of course there is my left collar bone which has taken the brunt of my getting to know the ground.  From my soccer days I always tumble to my left. A long time ago I broke it skiing (another crazy story), but since I have been mountain biking I have broke it three times, but never just mountain biking:
    • The first time was at Black Rock in Falls City where I went over a drop that was under construction that very day.  The break resulted in surgery a plate and 8 screws. But I was able ride out (a zip down jersey makes a perfect sling). 
    • After about 18 months I had the plate removed as it made sense if there was a chance of breaking it again I didn't want the plate in there. And about 9 weeks later on my way out to the ride in a very heavy in the dark I turned onto what I thought was a drive way that was really a walk way and crashed into the curb at a high rate of speed (for a mountain bike) and broke it again (but no surgery). I again was able to ride home. 
    • That was in February and that following May in Moab as we are doing the Whole Enchilada in an upper meadow on a flat "safe" trail I reached up to turn my GoPro off and hit the only rock in the trail. It was a "small" break and I was able to complete the entire ride. Needless to say I have a nice lump on my collar bone.
  • On my left forearm is a small patch that was a "rub" burn, where I was riding the long skinny on Funner in Bend where I slipped off and landed with my arm on the slide and even with my long sleeve jersey and a wind jacket still got a "rub" burn. 
  • On the inside of my right calf there is a series of about 5 scares from where I feel over on the Sulfur Springs tail (yes there is a small trail and I only road it once) and fell over when my doctor riding partner stopped and I couldn't unclipped fast enough (I was till getting used to them).  I raked my calf over my big ring.  My riding partner said lets go to my office and I'll sew you up (23 stitches later).
  • On my right shin there is a little brown spot that looks like a mole but is really a spot where my front tire threw up a rock that hit my shin bone through my sock at Black Rock. It bleed a little, but never really healed for a long time.  I guess it killed the skin or something. It was my strangest injury ever.
  • Finally, there is my right angle that has a very large scar from an ankle break at Alsea Falls that required surgery a plate and 10 screws (and a surgery to remove them).  This happened when I came over a jump and landed on the hill side and slid out, not really a crash at all, but my ankle caught on something and twisted till I broke (I still road it out).
So there you go a tour of my body and of great rides.  And while it sounds like this is a rough sport, it really isn't, but the scars remind me of rides enjoyed, views seen and fun times. These are things I would never change.

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