I took the afternoon off work on Friday to go ride my mountain bike at the local state park, because, for probably the only time the rest of this summer, the temps were below 80 degrees and the humidity was low so I HAD to take advantage of it. This was my first time back on the mountain bike on actual off-road trails since my weekend trip to Pisgah Nat'l Forest in North Carolina about a year and a half ago where, on about mile 38 of approximately 40 total miles we rode that weekend, I caught a tree with my right shoulder going way faster than I should have on a trail I was not familiar with. I believe that crash, while it didn't really hurt at the time, contributed to my need to have shoulder surgery in January of this year.
So, here I was. My first time back on the bike, and while I was just riding at the local state park, these are no easy trails so I didn't get much of a warm-up. My trip started at the bottom of the mountain on some moderate trails that eventually led to a paved road for a VERY steep climb to the rest of the trail system at the top of the mountain. When I took the paved road I decided to lock my front suspension to get better power from my pedals to the wheels to make my climb a bit easier. The problem was that I forgot to unlock my suspension when I resumed riding the rocky, rooty, skinny, uneven trails at the top of the mountain. I approached a large rock with a drop-off about a foot high that was perched on a downhill section of the trail. I thought nothing of it because it didn't look too bad and I've ridden it plenty of times with no incident. Unfortunately, because my front suspension was locked the momentem of the bike carried me off the drop off and kept on carrying me straight over the handlebars until I was face first in the dirt with my bike on top of me. If it had happened to someone else I'm sure I would have laughed hysterically because I KNOW it looked funny, but it wasn't funny this time because it happened to me and it HURT! The end result...
...a busted up forehead and bike helmet split completely in two (picture looking at inside front of helmet above). The helmet definitely did its job by absorbing most of the impact. If I hadn't been wearing it I would have been in a pretty bad situation, because, as it was, it took about 15 minutes for the dizzyness to wear off.
But, that's part of the allure of the sport...at least for me. Life can be boring (and severly damaging to your general fitness level) when you live 40+ hours per week in a cubicle so I jump at the opportunities to get outside, get some exercise, and add a little excitement to my day whenever they present themselves. Besides, my new scar is a good conversation starter! For example, the family and I were having lunch downtown today when a little boy (about 5-7ish) looked at me in the restaurant and asked, "Hey, what's wrong with your head?". Thanks, kid.