24 Dec 2010
Flying through the air, I had that instant when, “I’m fucked.” rolled through my head. I hit hard and yes, I am fucked…
A ride sounded good. Just what the doctor ordered after last week’s 5 day sales meeting in Denver that entailed being stuck in a hotel for the full of those five days. A ride was needed in the way you need food when you’re really hungry.
It’s just Duthie. Been there a million times and I know the trails pretty damn well. It was wet and I was stuggling a little getting my tires hooked up but I was getting there. We started off with Bootcamp, the way every Duthie ride starts. I had some good flow on the last section which always makes me smile. Railing berms at mach speed is so fun and satisfying. We headed for Ryan’s Eternal Flow and I cleaned it all no problem.
Off Ryan’s you can cut into the middle of Step it Up and catch the start of Ryan’s again. We did that – loopdey loop. Off the starting ramp… berm… table top jump to a beautiful right hand turn that shoots down and then up to a very lovely step-up. This is my favorite series in the whole park. So flowy and with no brakes it’s fast. The step-up can be huge if you let it.
From the step-up, you land in a left-hand berm. It was at this moment when I had the “oh shit” conversation with myself. I was coming off the step-up sideways – a good thing if you are at the correct angle to the berm but the bike was pitched in the opposite direction it should have been going. At the bottom of that berm are a few wooden planks to help with drainage. I’ve never even been close to those wooden planks but today I hit them square on with the bike going the wrong way. The instant the tires hit those wooden planks, the bike was gone out from under me. Just simply gone with no chance in hell to bring it back. Wood is perplexing that way.
Suddenly the sound of my helmet hitting the ground was echoing at deafening decibels in my head. I hit the ground fucking hard. It was like being picked up and slapped into the ground. Like when you roll up a wet dish towel and whip somebody with it.
I knew there was someone coming behind me so I yelled, probably not very loud, “hold up.” Luckily he saw me as he came over the step-up. My handlebar was jammed in between the planks in the trail and it was becoming clear things were not good.
My right arm immediately starting yelling at me and as I managed to extricate the bike from the planks of wood, my hip and calf started letting me know all was not well in my world. I was asked if I needed help. No, I didn’t think so but I alerted my riding party that I would not be continuing on with the trail. Weird. I’ve never done that before. Things must be really fucked up. I told him I’d meet him back at the main area as I was going to cut the trail and walk out.
WALK OUT???? I’ve never walked off a trail in my life. Broken ribs? Head first into a tree? Falling 5 feet off a trail??? I’ve never walked out. All of a sudden I was walking out. I couldn’t breathe. Gasping for air as my right leg all the way up to my hip was dragging behind me. I could only push the bike with my left arm because it felt like I had been shot on the right side.
Holy shit. My riding party let me go after many assurances that I could get myself home and I WALKED back to my car. I knew there was no way I could hold onto the bar let alone get my fingers to compress the brake lever. The pain was getting worse and I wasn’t even doing anything.
Bike on rack… ow.
Gloves off… Oh my fucking god, shoot me now.
Wow, that hand is huge.
Shoes off… how am I ever going to make it home?
Finally, after bundling myself into the car and feeling grateful for having an automatic, (this might be the only time), I was ready to make my way home where clearly things have to be better than they were at that moment.
JW rolled up as I was pulling out. He took one look at my right hand and said, “Broken.”
Not one to readily take other’s advice on medical issues, I thanked him for his offer of left-over Percocet and attempted to make the most excruciatingly painful drive of my life toward home. 20 minutes seemed to take 20 hours. Hand and arm throbbing at different intervals. Hip and calf crippling as I attempted to use the brake and accelerator.
All I could think was, “How am I going to cook Christmas dinner with one hand?”
I was trying to gauge the pain in my hand by comparing it to the pain in my hip and calf. I knew my leg was not broken and if my leg was not broken and the pain was similar between the two body parts, then my hand was going to be ok, right? Seemed to make perfect sense at the time.
I did make it home but by the time I got there I was wishing for someone to chop my arm off. Just make it go away. I handle pain pretty well – ask anyone who knows me. Despite my high threshold for pain, I’ve never felt pain like this. I was seriously considering JW’s Percocet at this point.
The bike is still sitting on the on the car. 8 Advil and couple shots of whiskey seems to have taken the edge and some of the swelling off the whole deal but the stairs in my house now look like Mt Everest. Looks like I’m sleeping on the couch tonight.
I’m seriously fucked and unless there is some sort of divine intervention, I’ll be off the bike for a while. Lame. Or as a close friend tells me, “If you throw down (the way you normally do and regularly without consideration for your bodily safety…) this is gonna happen once in a while! Not lame – more a testament to your badassedness.”
Cheers to throwing down.