Thursday, October 20, 2011

How NOT to ride your MTB

I have been procrastinating writing this post for about three and a half weeks now.  Don't know if it is because writing it down will truly make it a reality that I won't be competing in Maui this coming weekend at Xterra Worlds.  It's been rather hard following everyone's FB, tweets, blogs and knowing that I am missing out, especially since this year there is actually going to be a challenging swim at Fleming's beach (surf beach)

Anyways, the story goes as follows. The morning after Xterra USA after a leisurely sleep-in and departure from Snowbasin back to Park City, Emma and I loaded up the bikes and drove up Guardsman Pass to ride the Wasatch Crest Trail.  A stunning point to point trails that was suppose to find us a couple of hours later back at the house.  The weather was beautiful and trails were in great condition.  We were rolling along casually on what would be considered a non-technical trail, mostly as the name would imply along the crestline of the mountains, occasionally dropping into the trees for some switchbacks.  After the quick stop for a photo op and another for me losing my multi-tool out of my saddle bag, Emma warned me of the upcoming section called "The Spine", an exposed section of sharped ridged rocks on a steep descent.  

Day started out picture perfect

Stunning views
I had full intentions of at least stopping at the top and making an informed decision as to how or if to ride this sections but caught a bit off guard I found myself already dropped in before realizing it.  Not just dropped in but dropped in and way off-line.  A moment of panic had me hit my brakes hard, big mistake, lock up the tires, slide uncontrollably, and finally hit the ground HARD.  Because the terrain was so jagged I didn't slide at all, good because I didn't launch myself over the edge, bad because instead of some road rash and bruises I sustained structural damage.  

"The Spine"

Why I should have gotten off and walked
A quick look at my elbow showed a seriously nasty cut already gushing blood which obviously was going to require some medical attention.  Too bad we were about as far away from any access off the mountain as we could get and without a medical kit.  Lucky for me the rider right behind me had a band-aid and handkerchief we managed to work into a tourniquet with the help of Emma's hair elastic.  We then proceed to inch our way down towards the top of The Canyons ski resort.  After the shock and adrenaline wore off a bit the pain really started and I did have a couple moments of thinking I am not going to make it down on my own.  I also was pretty sure that this much pain was not being caused solely by the cut and I had likely done much worse damage.  After some seriously sketchy downhill hike-a-bike we came across one of the resort trail builders and he graciously offered to drive us down to the top of the gondola then were met at the bottom by Emma's neighbour waiting to drive me to the Urgent Care.

The aftermath
To make a long story short, the urgent care facility took xrays but couldn't really tell whether my elbow was broken or not then proceeded to stitch up the cut with, what I found out 3 days later, rocks and dirt still lodged inside.  I drove home Monday with the help of some Vicodin and got in to see JT at Southwest Hand Orthopedic Wednesday with a fully infected elbow.  Friends in high places are always important :)  Back later that afternoon, got the cut all cleaned out, stitched up, and casted. Diagnosis - slight avulsion fracture and torn triceps tendon = no racing Xterra Worlds.

So after three weeks, the cut is pretty much all healed up and the cast is off.  I'm allowed to move my elbow to  keep it from completely locking up, though it is still pretty stiff and sore, but no pressure or resistance for a couple more weeks.  Crawled into a tub of chocolate ice cream (a couple actually) for the first two weeks but have started back running and riding the trainer to keep my sanity.  Already planning the next adventures and will be back at it in no time.   Not the way I wanted to end the season, but what can you do?

Best of luck to everyone racing in Maui Sunday, wish I was there...... next year :)))

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