My husband loves mountain biking. It’s HIS thing. I’ve gone out in the past and enjoyed being in nature, but I’ve always been a little terrified of the downhill and way out of shape on the uphill. That terror/panting feeling made me be ‘gracious’ and bow out when asked if I wanted to go biking with him.
But this year, I determined to overcome my fears and become proficient at biking so I could go out more with him. This spring was perfect weather, so I’ve gone out every week and improved a ton each time, gradually leaving the bunny trail for more difficult rides. I can honestly say I’ve caught the Biking Bug.
On Memorial Day, we went up to Bogus Basin Mountain with a bunch of friends to do the Stack Rock trail. I feared I would be the worst biker in our group (and I was), but no one taunted me. Lots of others had to walk up or down steep, technical parts, so I had good company. It was an awesome trail—all up in the pines and shady—lots of ups and downs, but not grueling distances that wore us out (except right at the end). After reaching Stack Rock, I felt on top of the world.
When we turned around and headed back, that last uphill now became a pretty intense downhill that made me nervous…but I balanced-stood on my pedals and maneuvered my way down carefully, going pretty slow. Eventually I finished that series of hills and breathed in relief. I’d conquered the most difficult part of the trail.
But standing and balancing like that while throwing my butt back behind my seat for so long had made my muscles scream, so I sat on my seat to relax…and that’s when it happened. I crashed and burned.
I hit a sandy spot, and since I was being lazy and sitting in my seat instead of behind it like I should have been, when the wheel turned in a 90 degree angle and stopped abruptly, I went sailing off the side and onto my shoulder. HARD!
My head hit right after, but I had a helmet, so that was good. But my shoulder and arm throbbed. Thankfully, my husband was behind me, so he took care of me…and here’s what I learned:
- Trauma makes you not care about what you look like. You could have dirt and snot smearing your face, and you could care less. You don’t even care if someone lays you in the dirt where bugs can crawl on you. It’s weird how little you care about things you might usually freak over.
- Trauma makes you stupid. I know about shock and how to treat it, but I fought my poor husband about laying down because I knew I had to hike out of there and we were2-3 miles from the trailhead. I wanted to start back, but was so dizzy from shock that I kept almost passing out. Like I said…stupid!
- Your body can do things you normally wouldn’t be able to do when you know there is no other choice. After my husband forced me to lay down, I did get over the dizziness and hiked miles to get back to our vehicle. I cradled my arm to my body, and grit my teeth (except for when I smiled for the camera) and walked despite the pain (something I would never consider doing on a normal day)
- When you are in trauma, you only feel the worst pain. Lesser pains don’t register. After we got down the mountain and to the ER, it turned out I had fractured my humurus (near my shoulder). I also gouged a valley out of my arm below my elbow. I never realized my arm was all torn up though until my husband took a picture of it in the hospital to show me before I got stitches. (I’ll spare you the grossness)
- All the doctors and nurses at the hospital must be mountain bikers too, because they all asked what trail I had ridden, and were familiar with it.
- Because the doctors and nurses are all mountain bikers, I should know what kind of bike I ride for next time, because my answers to “What kind of bike do you have?” were all lame:
- A blue one
- Jelly (that’s what we named the bike)
- Whichever bike my husband pumped the tires up on
- In case you don’t know, my answer should have been something better like:
- A hard tail Specialized
- A carbon fiber something (Hmmm? I’d have to pick my husband’s brain for more descriptors. I’m really clueless. Just know that all the answers in #6 are not cool, and these alternatives aren’t much better)
- People are super nice. Friends dropped off meals, or pineapple popsicles (which I’m afraid I’m addicted to now), or just dropped by to ask about my accident…which is a whole lot more fun to tell in person than typing it for this blog post with one hand.
- Trauma drains you of all energy about 3 days after the fact. I thought I was good to go back to work 2 days after this. Big mistake. I didn’t leave the couch for about 4 days after that as my body taught me a lesson.
- I don’t want to fall off my bike EVER again…even if I learn the correct answer to what kind of bike I ride to tell the biker ER doctor and nurses.
Will I mountain bike again? You bet. Remember, I got bit by the Biking Bug. It’s an incurable disease, but I’m okay with that. I love how much scenery I can see on the mt. bike compared to hiking…like this….
I’m just going to watch the trail a little closer and not get lazy on any downhill sections once I can bike again. While I’m grounded, I might study up on bike lingo so I know more than just the color of my bike.
What about you? Have you ever crashed and burned? Do you know what kind of bike you ride? Can you get dressed with one hand, because I find it very difficult.