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Always Learning
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When the Laws of Karma are working against you - stay off the bike! Trust me.

2 days before loading up for our mountain biking vacation, I twisted my left ankle going out into the garage from the kitchen. It was a nice tear with appropriate pain, swelling and bruising that followed. Great timing. Our first stop on the vacation was a weekend that was to include a mountain bike race. I wrote myself off as not being able to do it on account of the left ankle being ripped to shreds.

Got to the campsite and the next morning while unloading the bikes off the top of the van for a day of riding and pre-riding the race courses, I came down on the edge of the pavement and twisted my right ankle. Hail to the Gods of Karma! No racing for me.

Entered both my kids in their respective kiddy divisions the following morning. My son was leading the entire race for his division and on the turn off the singletrack onto a fireroad for the final 100 yard sprint, his rear wheel slipped out from under him and down he went. After 2 minutes of crying, I managed to convince him to get up and at least walk his bike across the finish line to finish the race. He did and ended up 4th. My daughter took 2nd place in her age group (only 7 kids) and was the first girl across the line of all the kids. My son is already talking about next year and how he is not going to fall on the gravel.

After they finished their races and my son got all patched up by the Ambulance crew that were on hand - the kids talked me into doing the 1 loop adult race (no way I could have done the 2 loop, 3 loop or fruit loop version as each loop was 10.5 miles). Karma was against me and I was silly with double sprained ankles to enter myself into racing conditions where animal instinct takes over and you always give more than your body can take.

What the heck. It was vacation and who cares if I came in dead last.

I wrapped my ankles in some vice like basketball support anklets, covered that with tape and made sure all circulation was cut off to my feet. That took care of the sprained ankle pain and got me to focus on a new pain. Warmed up for the 1 loop race and had the goal of hanging to the back and just finishing the dang thing. Well, being in the old man's division - they handicapped us by placing us up front of the group for the starting gun. I managed to hang over on the edge and let most of the youngsters (18 - 39 year olds) pass me before turning into the singletrack. Hung with a group of 6 that were huffing and puffing for the first 4 miles and then went with another old guy who decided the pace was too slow (it was). I was amazed at how little panting and heavy breathing I was doing compared to everyone else I was riding around in that group. Was it the big wheels? Was it my condition? I was not even struggling on the Sugar as it soaked up root after root and rock after rock. Every switchback, bridge, climb, root, drop was a piece of cake at this speed compared to the tiny wheeled racers. ;-)

I hung with the other old man in my division until we hit a 2 1/2 foot drop that was nestled ever so nicely between two sapplings that kissed the handlebars. He went flying through and over it with ease. I spent so much time focused on missing the sapplings, that when I set my front wheel down on the Sugar 293 - I realized I had forgotten to air up the fork after installing it and that unlike my rigid fork on the Karate Monkey - this bike required a little different technique. TOO LATE! Well - big endo ensued and I came down hard on my left shoulder and smacked my head so hard on the ground the helmet broke in 2 places. Dang that smarts.

I should have figured something was wrong with me as I stood there for like 5 minutes fiddling with my wheels and brakes while guys kept passing and asking if I was okay when they saw the blood trickling down my face. I kept saying "yeah, just making an adjustment". Turns out the endo and fall bent my rear rotor and I couldn't figure out what to do with it all in my daze to get rolling again. I couldn't make a decision and I just stood there fiddling for an eternity. Got on the bike and numbness set in on my right hand, vision was not quite "right", nausea set in, head hurt (which was continuing to ooze a little blood from the top) and all I could think of was my days back playing football and the word "concussion" came to mind. Started riding again with my rear wheel squeaking and squealing the entire way and tagged on with another group which led me out to the midpoint of the race on the fireroad for a few hundred yards. Chased hard to catch up with the dozen that had passed me. Turned into the singletrack and the overwhelming nausea rolled me to a crawl. Hurting and dazed, I kept riding and was amazed at how the Sugar was soaking up all the roots and logs. I couldn't feel my right hand and shifting was a joke with that hand. So I was pretty much a SS for the rest of the race. Finally crossed the line in 30th place out of 41 racers who finished the 1 loop version and about 9 who DNF'd. I guess with the ankles I should be happy enough with that alone. Finishing the race with a concussion and bent rotor was crazy, but I was dazed and "there, but not really there".

Regardless, I am recovering. Vision has improved. Headaches are getting better. Nausea has gone away. I am less fatigued now than the days that followed the head hit. And my ankles have healed. I've been a little irritable since the head hit, but that is getting slowly better as well. All in all not a fun situation, but thank goodness the helmet provided the protection that it did. It did wipe out my wife for the driving demands of the rest of the vacation. I was really not safe to drive and felt tired during the entire vacation after the fall.

I did some repair work on the Sugar today so it is all in working order again. Got all the air in the suspension set correctly and fixed the rear rotor with a little bending and truing action. Found my stem was barely clamped on to the steerer tube as well.

The Laws of Karma...

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Nice report with a happy ending....Glad to hear you are OK Bruce, and sounds like the kids are hooked!

Offroad made frames that fit 26" wheels all the way down to 10"........
 

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Bad Karma indeed! I had the same a couple weeks ago. In short I rode on a tuesday after work with some guys where I had 3 nice crashes. One slider into a turn where I almost crashed into a tree. One on a nice log pile where I supermanned over the bars. And one I dont even know how the hell it happened i just was on the ground. Now that was a trail that was familiar and I had rode tons of times. I chalked it up to one of those rides and pledged that TOMORROW would be different. Next day, another familiar trail, but much more varied terrain and technical sections. First nice downhill the front tire is sliding and it's losing traction, and i'm saying in my head. Oh **** this is gonna be ugly, i crash and slide down the hill a good 10 feet before i stop. HERE WE GO AGAIN! I try to keep a good mind set, i'm only a couple miles in so i get up and scratch it off as ah well. Next one in another couple miles i do a small drop off, and lo and behold a nice baby head rock right friggin there saying STOP to my front fork! Fork hits it and actually sucks it up, but the slow in momentum throws me over the bars and onto the ground again. Last and bestest crash ever. I'm almost out of the woods. I see a piece of sketchy singletrack, 16" wide, nasty steep, and banked cliffs on both sides 20ft down drop. Now I shoulda known better considering my last 2 days riding, but no i got to have it. I get my speed up and get 3/4 of the way up and smack a big root. it threw the bike hard right, so i unclip and try and touch down left to stop my inevitable fall yet again. Yet there is no friggin ground cuz i'ts a cliff left. I got that 'ah **** feeling' again. My leg just grabs air as i topple down to the ground 20 ft below. Smacked my head on the hit mad hard, and it skun my leg up like a cheese grater. I layed there for a few till the others caught up, i thought my leg was broke and was scared to even move. Thank God i just twisted it and was able to ride out. I hung both rigs up and didn't ride again for a week. Funny thing was I had raced all year in sport class every race I could, did a 24 hr, and rode 3 times a week all season without hardly crashing at all. That was the week from hell and I scratch it all up to a Bad Karma week on the bikes.
 
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