Sunday, October 24, 2010

For Every Season There is a Time

I crashed my bike. These are the times that are best described as the quick or the dead; or better still the good or the dead. As the trails in and around Santa Cruz get ground down and washed out, what were once vices are now habits, or at least what were once non-threatening have become technical. Do I sound stoned? It must be the Percocet. There are several short, fun technical trails in Santa Cruz that can lead to your demise; the Delaveaga Top of the World Trail; the Vienna Woods Trail at Nisene Marks; and The Enchanted Loop at Wilder to name a few. Ride these trails in the fall at your own risk, as little trail maintenance has been done since the rains ended and you might need a rubber head and a spring like tail.

The fall was spectacular. I was riding down the Vienna Woods Trail, which is your standard Santa Cruz singletrack, transversing the side of gorge with two friends from my church. In one spot there is a tree growing on the cliff side of the trail that has 12" of root across the trail and the back side drops off about 2 feet. As I rode over and down the root, I lost my balance and rode off the trail straight down into gorge. By the time I realized I needed to jump off the bike I had picked up way too much speed, so reached out with my left arm and grabbed a tree. I really don't completely remember what happened next, but I ended up with a circular mark on my chest, which obviously came from the end of my handlebar. I believe what happened was when I let go of my handlebar to grab the tree trunk, my front wheel turned sharply to the left, causing me to catapult over the handlebar, my chest catching the left handlebar end in the process. I flew through the air about 8-10 feet, and landed on the backside of my right shoulder and the right side of my head. The end result was 5 broken ribs and a punctured lung. I later examined my Giro Athlon helmet and found there are at least 4 major cracks; 3 on the right side just above where my ear would be and another in the front just above where my left eye would be. The helmet was 3 months old; damn!

Fortunately I was not riding alone and my geared friends helped me hike out, by pushing my bike; most embarrassing. I managed to drive to the ER, assuring my friends I was fine, thinking all I had was a few broken ribs, but an x-ray showed my right lung was partially collapsed, so they stuck a tube in my chest, which was almost as bad as the ribs. Fortunately it only took about 24 hours and most my lung had re-inflated and they took out the d@mn tube so I could go home. The final part of this indignity is the worse poison oak I have ever had, but this has also introduced me to Zanfel; it's expensive and you have to really rub it in, but the stuff really works at all stages of poison oak even after the blistering stage. Fortunately I also have the most understanding wife in the world who is nursing me back to health and only insists I let the ribs reattach themselves before I start riding again; three weeks.

After two nights in the hospital I am home dealing with pain management, so I am a bit looped. Still I seem to be doing much better at this stage then my last major, rib breaking crash of 2007. This was a road crash that were, as I eluded to earlier, I landed in a similar manner and broke five ribs on my right side; but I digress. I am a very lucky person, something I take advantage of it as much as possible, as it's what god wants us to do.