|Team Ninja Big Bear Camp!!|
I had a feeling something like this would happen -- things have been going swimmingly with training and preparation for the BC Bike Race so of course, there would be some kind of wrench in the spokes. And honestly, if you're going to have a violent crash, it's best to do it with your friends around, both for the stories and for their help.
Day 1 - http://app.strava.com/activities/145144713
|My "salad," topped with bacon cheeseburger and ham|
Day 2 - http://app.strava.com/activities/145636477
With my headache totally gone and my legs feeling inexplicably fresh, I couldn't wait to get up and pre ride the 25 mile course for the Kenda Cup next weekend. I have never raced at Big Bear before but everyone seems to love it up here so I was looking forward to seeing it. However, it turns out that the course is over half fireroads and you just ride right by all the delicious single track through the pine trees. By the time we finally hit the singletrack, I was probably a little over-excited.
|Women of Team Ninja: Heidi, Paula, Me, Lisa and Regina|
... Hmmm. We're missing one.
The "home stretch" of the race course is a technical descent down Pirates, Fall Line and Fern. Or something like that. We regrouped at the top of the final climb (yup .... fireroad) and I remember feeling giddy that we were finally going to do some mountain biking. I went off the front with gusto and flew down the trail, making up for lost time both from the day before when I was caught in traffic, and for all the riding previous, when we were JRA on fireroads (!!).
Only, the loose, shaley section where the trail is steepest had become even more loose and shaley. I recognized this a little too late, and though I distinctly remember having the thought that it was time to back it off, I admit I was a bit too stubborn.
I let the bike drift out with gravity a little while I tried to check my speed without upsetting my balance. But I let it drift a bit too far and I felt my front tire get hung up some loose stuff to the left. "I'm going to crash," was the thought and as we teach in Ninja Mountain Bike Skills, I began to look for a place to go down. It's always better if a crash is up to you. Read on to find out why ...
But then I felt my front wheel hook up again so I thought, "Oh, I've got this ... I'll ride out." Mistake. It was already over, I just didn't commit to the idea and in trying to fight it, I just made it worse. My front tire reconnected with the loose stuff, flopped over and I was thrown "violently" (as Coach Richard describes it) over the downhill side of the trail, rather than the nice uphill-side slide I could have chosen when I had the choice.
My Garmin says I was doing 21.1 mph before my abrupt stop. The leftover kinetic energy had me take a little ride down the hill, mostly on my left leg. The loose rocks and shale cut me up, including a particularly nice gash to my knee. They also didn't make for a soft landing, so my hip took the brunt of the initial impact ... it will be a colourful week.
I lay on the trail thinking BCBIKERACEBCBIKERACEBCBIKERACE while trying to assess what had happened. I think I was still tangled up in my bike. Then my heroes arrived. Richard, who by now had managed to safely stop his own rapid descent without hitting me (thank you Richard!) had warned the rest of our Ninja Train there was a rider down, and then took over assessing for me. Thank goodness. I was having a hard time getting past any thought but BC BIKE RACE.
I never looked at my leg on the trail. I let Richard and Lisa handle all that. Richard calmly told me my knee was hurt and located the first aid supplies, while Henry held my hand and my head and Lisa began washing out the wound with water so she and Richard could expertly apply a field dressing. It's nice that our Ninjas are so well-trained! And special shoutout to sponsor Hero Kit which has come to my aid twice now in two weekends. Repair kit last Sunday and Crash kit this one.
Mostly I just stared at the clouds and squeezed Henry's hand. There were lots of faces over top of mine too, so thank you to all those concerned riders who stopped by - Shout out to Roger and Nancy! Sorry I interrupted your flow! I got up, dusted myself off and we limped off the trail to more level terrain. Turns out my bike survived the ordeal -- thank god -- so I just rolled out, one-legged pedalling the few miles back to the car. Hurray for ILT training. I picked a good place to go down: we were nearly finished our ride, and the hospital is just down the street.
I won't bore you with the adventure that was the Big Bear Hospital but here are some highlights:
- Wound cleaning with a terry cloth, soap and no numbing (until a doc intervened thank god)
- Xray showing I left all the trail on the trail, and not in my knee
- A firefighter crew making bets on how many stitches I was in for
- Seven stitches and my first time paying for something in the emergency room. Ugh.
Thank you to everyone who helped me off the ground, off the trail and off the ledge through this exciting weekend. Biggest thanks to Richard, Paula and Heidi for spending an exciting afternoon at the hospital instead of enjoying Team Camp activities. Paula's zeal for insides is legendary and without her encouragement, I might not have the level of appreciation for blood and gore I do now (1 out of 10, rather than 0 out of 10). It is also hugely comforting to have a friend in your corner, especially one who knows her way around the medical system, asking the right questions. Thank you so much Paula -- It's so nice to have things in common, but I prefer the other things, rather than the knee injuries we've both enjoyed the past month.
Thank you Richard for reassuring me that this is the absolute best time I could have knocked myself out for a week. Thank you for staying calm and getting me safely out of the trail and into the ER and then for being a proper good friend by glorifying the events in stories afterwards. I know I started to panic out there as I ineffectively tried to scrape myself off the slope but as soon as you arrived with your encouraging words, "I got you," I believed you. Thank you for taking over, and for DOUBLE chips and pop.
And Heidi, thank you so much for being part of the hospital crew. It is so crappy waiting around ERs and I am really touched that you guys were there. Plus, your insight into nerves and recovery has been very educational, so thank you for that and just for being there. You totally deserve that teamwork trophy :)
So with that ended my Team Camp. We had a great night out last night that included ice cream and many touching words about our amazing team. I feel really lucky to have found these Ninjas and I can't wait til I'm back up and riding with you guys again. This morning I'm writing blogs and other things while they're off ripping the Bike Park. Even though I'm banged up, sore and stiff, I gotta say, I'm feeling pretty good.
By popular demand, here are the bloody photos. Don't scroll if you're my mom, or squeamish (like me ... could barely get these posted).
|Expert field dressing!!|
|The first exam|
|The joy of cleaning|
|This is Paula's favorite. Nurse Tammy is opening the wound to show her nerves and meat.|
|"Seven stitches for you, and probably another seven for your bib shorts" - Richard La China|
|All cleaned up, ready to get the flock out of there|