Ride Report - 2000
By Jim Edgar
had been raining on and off Thursday, December 21st, so I opted
for the trails close to home. I'd actually ridden the Stumpjumper
to and from work, so I could double-check the drivetrain and make
sure there would be no nasty nighttime mechanical troubles. On the
way there, I thought about the last time I'd ridden a 26" tire,
front suspended, multi-geared bicycle. Between mild weather this
winter which kept miles adding up on the road bike, finally putting
together a cyclocross bike and spending 90% of my trail riding time
on that, and spending the rest of the time on the singlespeed (rigid,
singleated Bridgestone if you're keeping track), it had probably
been August since I'd ridden the Stump. Here it was December, and
I was wiping dry dust off of the frame and other bits.
it seemed to weather the rest just fine, and with some slight retruing
and lube, hummed happily on the way home.
Grabbed a quick bite while topping off the batteries and changed
into a little warmer clothing before heading out. Some rain fell,
but it tapered as I climbed up a fun combination of trails. By
the time I hit the ridge, there were some beautiful holes in the
clouds, filled with stars on the longest night of the year. I coasted
for a second on the roadway, and decided to run the trails on the
south face of the ridge. It just seemed like I should cover some
more ground and be a little more tired before honoring the solstice.
for the fire road on the way down. No point in taking excessive
chances, I thought. So, illuminated by twin lights on my handlebar,
I followed the wide and rocky road down to the first trailhead and
dropped onto the path. Wonderful night, wonderful trail. Pulled
through the curves and enjoyed the damp solitude and stillness along
of you who have ridden here know about the rock, with the quick
right-hand 180 degree turn at the bottom, before you get to any
of the bridges. It's not terribly nasty, but a bit rutted on the
drop side. It can be tricky, and the hardest part is making the
turn with enough momentum to get up the slight rise and keep going
on the trail.
walked this bit, ridden this bit, made the rock and got stuck in
the turn, made the rock and gone straight into the bushes, bailed
on the downside of the rock and probably many more permutations
of momentum and direction than I can recall. However, I don't remember
ever crashing there.
solstice I did. Hard.
the air/on the ground about that fast. No helmet mounted light so
couldn't quite see where I would be landing. By the time I was thinking
about landing, I was rolling on the ground hoping I could breathe
again. Air worked its way in, and I could tell the way that my feet
were digging into the ground as my legs ran that they were pretty
ok.Ê More air and I was able to use some good Anglo-Saxon constructions
for the deliberate exclamation of joy, anger, or sorrow. Non-labored
breathing brought with it the knowledge than my hands and wrists
hurt like hell.
still deciding exactly what happened to cause the great launch and
abbreviated flight. I think that I was moving to the right above
my bike and stuck the front wheel in a left pointing rut or rock.
I'm probably wrong. I'll go look at the area in good light and wonder
how anyone could get tossed so effectively. We'll see. I do remember
enough about the area to know that the landing pad area is not level,
and inclines toward approaching bodies -- more than likely enough
to make the ground closer than expected. But, it's up there on the
hill, and I'm down here at my keyboard. I'd bet that it's growing
by the minute right now, but will miraculously shrink, flatten and
smooth itself before I ever visit it again.
These things do happen.
I'd rolled over onto my back and sat up -- well, hunched over my
arms. Continuing the self diagnosis, I straightened out the right
one. It hurt but could move and I could wiggle my fingers. Probably
a bad sprain. The left one... well, the left one wasn't goin' anywheres.
It remained stuck to my chest as if I'd velcroed the sleeve. It
actually seemed to have a mind of its own, and it had made up its
mind that bad things were afoot and it didn't want to play anymore.
I figured that this was a really good example of "body-knows-what-it-wants"
and used my hydrapack shoulder strap to lock my arm down with my
hand on my chest.
hard did I hit? Well, it was only then that I even wondered about
the bike. It lay there, both lights a-blazin' at me, chuckling slightly.
Bike was fine.
options were pretty much "get moving now." I grabbed the bike with
my better hand and hoofed it back up the trail. Hoofed it back up
to the ridge. Decided not to try to ride down the road one-handed
(it was steep and slick, and when I tried to put weight on my right
hand, happy thoughts did not occur.) So, kept walkin until the road
emptied out on my side of the hill, with a reasonably short, level
ride to the house. I did manage that bit on the bike, and wobbled
around back to come inside.
among the solstice-pondering thoughts I had while walking home,
I had begun to consider "the announcement" to my wife:
Ho! I'm not bleeding."
"Honey, I'm home. D'we have any ice?"
"Was your lifesaving training just for swimming pools?"
"Hey there, nothing's sticking through my skin..."
no winners in that batch, so I opted for the direct approach. Hi,
the ride was great, the walk was better, no it wasn't a mechanical,
I landed hard, and no, I'm not sure if I'm alright. Luckily, I don't
complain too much most of the time, so she figured out I was serious
pretty much immediately.
peeling off gloves and jerseys, they looked pretty swollen, but
basically intact. So, after a shower, it was the ice cure. Cracked
out the old rollerblade wrist guards and lashed things into place
before bed, figuring I was in for a bit of quality off-the-bike
at least a week.
was more ice, ibuprofen, ace bandages and trying not to push against
anything. Pulling worked ok, but wasn't really a favorite pasttime.
Ran some work errands, calmed down two customers on the phone and
headed home for more ice. This was one heck of a set of sprains.
Worse, even with several bags of frozen peas laid under, over and
around, the swelling hadn't really changed at all on the left wrist.
Just a nasty lump right behind the joint. And, I was finally admitting
the thing was clicking when I rotated my arm.
couldn't be good.
morning dawned with wonderful weather and what seemed like hordes
of bikes going by on the road and on racks, and my brother-in-law
the 5th grade teacher came over to pick some things up. Luckily,
he'd seen many years of kids at recess trying to cover their injuries,
and pretty much convinced me that I was in that category.
went in. They x-rayed. Both broken. Left one clean through. Right
one not quite. Here are some splints. The plasterer will be in around
the doctor was very pleased how well lined up everything was. No
repositioning necessary. It was my first break, and I was so trying
to do it well.
come off on January 23rd. At that point, Tracy will be deserving
of about a month's worth of dinners, lunches and breakfasts, including
the cleaning up of said meals, plus payment of substantial penalties
for boneheadedness by yours truly.
pretty much the story at this point. Yeah, they still hurt. No,
it's more of an ache. I've only woken myself up a couple times by
hitting myself in the head with my cast.
-- If you are going to break both your wrists, don't do it at the
-- Modern pull-on/push-off faucet fixtures are not your friend.
-- Shoelaces are not your friend.
-- The plasterer is your friend. Make very good friends with the
plasterer. The plasterer leaves your fingers free so you can type.
-- You do not need a keyboard wrist rest when you have casts.
-- Since all things are, at a molecular level, simply electrical
charges, there is no such thing as itching, and it cannot be occurring
beneath the casts.