If you ride a mountain bike with any regularity, you already know what this is about. If not, you may be surprised to learn that you are going to crash if you ride a mountain bike, so just expect it.
Sometimes crashing happens in predictable ways. Like, you know you shouldn’t have bombed that section quite so fast – right? But sometimes the crash comes completely out of left field, where even later you can’t really say what happened.
Check out this picture my buddy Mark sent me – can you figure out what happened? Neither can I, the message was something about how he fell off a cliff and into this tree.
I’ve crashed a few times this season – I figured I’d share my favorites so far.
Honorable Mention – “Watch out for that tree!”
Just last weekend, Andy and I were out for a fun ride in the canyon. Almost back to the car, coming down a really fast piece of single track, I overcooked a corner which was really no problem since there wasn’t any kind of drop off. I veered off the trail and into this field – the only obstacle was a single bushy tree.
For some reason, however, I couldn’t avoid the tree. I thought about going farther right, but nothing happened – I turned my head and closed my eyes as I horked the brakes and crunched into the bush/tree. Of course, it’s August here in San Diego (read: the desert) which means that bushes are really collections of thorny pungi sticks.
Picking myself up off the ground, I could feel my face was wet and salty but couldn’t tell if it was blood or sweat. I asked Andy if I was bleeding and he asked me about my “antennae”. I wasn’t bleeding, but I did have two good sized branches stuck in my helmet – including one that apparently bounced off my sunglasses.
2nd Place – “Do you think I should go to the ER?”
At mile 2 of a 50+ mile day, I came to a complete stop trying to negotiate a tight switchback in loose, rocky conditions. My bike slowly tipped to the right and I put out my hand to catch the fall – no biggie. Mark was behind me and quickly asked if I was ok. I responded, “Yeah, no problem”, I mean I just tipped over uphill. It was nothing.
Then I looked down at my shin which had been neatly sliced open by a scalpel shaped rock fin jutting out of the soft dirt. The rock fin now glistened with my, well, juice… My shin was cut so deeply I could see underneath my skin at globs of subcutaneous fat. Eewww! I got dizzy and almost passed out.
We bandaged up my wound and continued an abridged version of the ride, of course. 10 hours later when Mrs. Adventures took a look at my wound, she sort of lost it and forced me to go to the ER. Three weeks later, the gash was still deep enough to whistle if I rode faster than 17mph…
My Favorite Crash (so far!) – “When I grow up, I want to be Superman!”
Andy and I were making our way back to Cuyamaca from a fun day getting lost in the Laguna Mountains. I could almost taste the Stone Pale Ale as I hammered my way down a beautiful narrow single track through oak trees and grassy meadows…
And then I was flying through the air, seriously, with the greatest of ease. I tucked, landed hard on my left shoulder and tried to make myself into a ball. I figured my 25lb bike was also flying through the air and I was hoping it wouldn’t land on me. I was spared as it crashed down heavily beside me.
It was later determined that I had hit an immovable rock at between 15 and 20mph which catapulted me into the air. I flew at least 15 feet before landing in a nice rock garden. How I managed to pedal away with only the slimmest of injuries amazes me still.
The Moral of the Story?
So get out there this weekend and ride your mountain bike. You’ll have a great time and you’ll probably crash too. Embrace the crashing, it’s all good.