Monday, September 17, 2012

Late August Rides 2 of 2

Stevens Pass, WA. Slingshot Wookie is the trail to ride. Wookie, one of the three trails currently open at Stevens Pass Bike Park(with many more to come) - I was initially not really excited about the trail. Where in Whistler you can have a fairly predictable descent on your trail of choice, Slingshot Wookie was one unpredictable corner, drop, jump or boulder from my annihilation the first few runs. After warming up, and getting to know the trail a little more it's genius was revealed - this wasn't your typical "bike park trail", this trail is like having your very own DH race course to practice on(Yes, the NW Cup DH races are here) assisted by a lift with never a line(for now). The unpredictable character and pucker factor moments eventually translated into a very fun and very challenging course to rally at speed. DH racing eat your heart out. My Mojo HD and I grew to love it, lap after ripping lap. And what would a trip to a bike park be without Natty and Trey? Incomplete. It was great to see our nomadic friends.

View from the lift

Impact. After a solid day of riding with The Hand and Co. I was making my last run, came off the last step down and ended up wiping out hard by trying to plant my right shoulder in the Earth. Not sure exactly what happened until later, I ended up with lots of pulled and torn muscles in my right shoulder, neck and chest with a couple broken ribs and a twisted rib cage with a couple dislocated ribs. Ouch. It really hurt. I remember sitting there gasping for air and asking Poelker and Trey why I couldn't raise my right arm. I was truly baffled. I might have rung my bell a little too. A trip to the Leavenworth medical clinic had me x-rayed, checked out by the doc, shot in the butt with Dilaudid and then off to Mexican food with my ladies and friends.

So, after a few days of painkillers and some reflection I think I formulated what happened. Broken left pedal released my foot and I from the confines of my bike upon landing. Body forward, right rotation with a pile driven landing on my Leatt followed by a backwards slide to a breathless stop. Fantastic.

17 days later I can sleep laying down with only a little pain that wakes me up too early. I can raise my right arm under it's own power above my head with only mild pain and some discomfort. The muscles in my neck and chest are starting to get the message they can relax now, the war is over. I am able to get my right hand on the Renthal grip of my bike(love these grips). I spun the mtb around the neighborhood for half an hour today(no bumps or sudden movements). It was worth the icing marathon my shoulder begged for afterwards. 

Having ridden mountain bikes for most of the last twenty years I've probably had it pretty good. I've had lots of bumps and bruises and sore ribs and shoulders, but this was the most painful and debilitating crash I've had. I like to ride fast, and carry speed through rough and flowy terrain alike but I'm not one to take big risks on the bike, and never really have been. I'm just not THAT guy. I'd like to think I ride at 85% and race at 95% risk factors (with 90%/100% exertion factors). It was just my time. The toll was due, and so I paid. If you are reading this and thinking "sure am glad I don't ride the bike parks - they sure are dangerous", think again. I think avoiding injury is more about being fit and healthy and riding within your own personal limits(whether that be an XC trail ride, bike park or plum smuggling road ride). But then again riding bikes is a risk regardless of how or where you are riding(or working, or walking, or driving or or....). Accidents happen.   And there are enough XC racers, cyclocross racers, weekend trail riders and road racers with bad knees, titanium infused collar bones, concussions, separated shoulders and scars to support the fact that accidents happen on two wheels of all makes and models. It happens. 

Now for recovery. And a new bike? Yes, that is what I really need. A new bike. That would make everything aaalll better. I blame the Them and their Wunderbike for this. 

In closing - Alfac. Yes. I have it and you should too. 

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