Crash and Burn

14 05 2008

There is a certain fiction about mountain bikers that we take great pride in hurting ourselves.  That we crowd around the bar comparing scars.  And while that may happen from time to time, I think that most riders I know take much more pride staying upright.  And so it is with great humility that I have to say my last two crashes have both occurred on the Tuesday night local short-track practice race course.  Sustaining a lifelong scar on a club race is a bit like loosing your virginity to your first cousin.  Its always there, you can’t take it back, and your not likely to go bragging about it.

Two weeks ago I was feeling like a rockstar on the course, trailing rather tightly behind Jean-Luc who is far and away a better bike handler than me.  We were often one and two on the course, but I usually felt like he was holding back in the twisty stuff.  And that night I was convinced that I was holding my own.  Perhaps that is a fiction, but it’s my fiction.  And as we hit one of the straighter sections I stood up to sprint onto his wheel and before I knew it I hit the soft dirt with my face.  I’d hooked a bar on a sapling and gone straight down and full speed.  It took the wind out of me, twisted by bars fully around, punctured my water bottle and I soft-pedaled the rest of the course.  Coulda happened to anyone, it sucked, but no great harm.

Last night I hoped to redeem myself, but I was foiled.  I had just put my Reba back on the IF ahead of Saturday’s Rocktober fest and it was feeling very odd after sitting for too long.  It had no rebound damping and was compressing funny, even when locked out.  My seat post has lately taken to sliding down, and I twice adjusted it on the way to the course.  And on the first roll around the course I started to realize that I’d not let enough pressure out of my tires after Monday’s spin on the road.  Before the start I adjusted the saddle, but didn’t soften the tires and I was all over the place over the first lap.  The recent rains had left the course really greasy, and the combination of my saddle and the fork meant my position was off as well, so my balance was terrible.  At the start of the third lap I was running third just barely and I slid out coming around a turn.  My shin hit the bike and I came up to see a deep gash and what I hoped wasn’t bone.  Though it looked like it should be gushing it wasn’t bleeding too badly, but, uncommonly for me, I thought that this was bad enough to head straight to the hospital and I spun quickly home.  After quickly washing the dirt out in the kitchen sink (to the shocked face of Nita) we headed to the ER where they quickly assured me that I’d made the right choice.  After a quick look, they left me to sit for 2.5 hours before finally coming to stitch me up.  7 stitches in all. Today it feels pretty good.  Though that leg is moving a little slow.  I’m hoping that the stitches will minimize the gruesome scarring so that I won’t have to explain its origins too often.

Hopefully I will feel alright by Saturday and will be able to muster the confidence to tackle RB Winter for the Rocktoberfest.  My legs could use the miles, and my psyche could use the reassurance!




2 responses

16 05 2008
The Hammer

I’m glad you are writing again.

20 05 2008
Physics « The Road to Paris . . . and back

[…] I was still unsure how my leg would feel, and whether or not 5 hours on the trail would tear my stitches out, so I went into the event with a pretty relaxed attitude, and no real goals other than a fun […]

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