know your limits...

know your limits...

different bikes handle differently...
expand this to skateboards, motorcycles, and even unfamiliar cars
approach the unfamiliar with caution
do not act with the same comfort as you would with your rig that you feel one with
you can not have the same oneness with this unfamiliar as you have built with your own

this is a lesson i have learned the hard way more than once...

a few years back i was on my inaugural off road cyclocross ride on a brand new specialized tricross comp
the trails were more mountain than cyclocross and i was flying down a technical descent
just when i thought i was cool the world humbled me
over the falls... endo... polish wheelie...
landing in such a way that i dislocated my shoulder

this is not one of those injuries that someone talks about at a party
where that pontificate about their injury saying this happened or that happened.... when it was really just a bang or a bruise
this is the real deal... dislocation... not a partial separation... but the removal of the ball from the socket
the head of the humerous was no longer within the glenoid fossa.... or some sort of latin words that resemble those collection of letters i just typed

sadly this was not the first dislocation... and i had a remedy... the kayaker's trick
i was able to reduce the dislocation and ride home... once home i drove to the er... sling and talk of surgery... pt instead

looking for excuses i knew i could only blame myself...
i was going too fast on technical trails on a bike i was unfamiliar with...
i had yet to know the balance and the braking of this new rig

this injury happened in the fall... just months after surgery on my index finger on my left hand that occurred in a crash while racing at michaux
first race of the season while feeling super fit... that crash at michaux in the first ten minutes of a race did involve surgery and steel plates... along with physical therapy
that race was finished... landing third in a race where i would have still finished first as a clydesdale if it had not been for a flat in the last ten minutes of the race
a flat that i repaired with one hand

the lessons are forgotten... learned... but forgotten... only to be learned again...

last summer i got my rip nine from the family bike shop
on my way home i went straight to the less than technical trails of rosaryville
unlike the more shrewd athlete who logs hundreds of road miles on the new mountain bike to build familiarity with the unknown rig i went straight to the trails
in the parking lot i promised myself to ride mellow
three pedal strokes onto the trail and i broke my promise

riding solo at a pace pretty close to race pace
loving the new ride feeling like a super hero i arced turns and floated over obstacles
out of the saddle and hammering on a flat section my left pedal connected with a root
lifting my bike and me off the ground and sending us flying
flying and then skidding... and of course like ikarus crashing
crashing back to earth in an ugly fashion

when will ikarus learn?

mangled and tangled and filled with adrenalin i leaped from my bike and did a full body check
nothing dislocated.... nothing broken.... the bike and body were in tact
the handlebars were drastically askew... but nothing more than some scrapes, bruises, and soreness to the body
with my heart still racing and my handlebars 45 degrees out of whack i got back in the saddle
relieved that i was not seriously injured

had i broken my leg or my neck i would not be found until the next day...

back on the bike thanking a god that i am not so sure i believe in i started to pedal
again promising myself to be mellow on the bike
agreeing that it be best that i just soft pedal it back to the parking lot
three pedal strokes back on the bike and i was hammering
with the handlebars askew... pointing right towards my spleen and then my groin on the turns

i am not so bright...

yesterday i ran into a dog walker friend of mine as i returned home from a post work ride
we caught up in the alley behind my house
as we parted i heard him talking skateboards with one of my neighbors
they were talking longboards
the dog walker wanted to try my neighbor's six foot long long board

i went inside to get out of my sweaty cycling gear and into civilian clothes
after a glance at facebook i went out into the alley to see how the kids were behaving with their water fight
water guns and water balloons were out in celebration of spring

as i walked down the alley to where the action was i saw what appeared to be an amusing site
two adults were pushing the dog walker who was kneeling on the extra long long board skateboard
at first i figured that they were just assisting him in the fun
then i knew different
i shouted out... do you need a ride to the hospital?
the dog walker shouted back... yes... get your car... i ran back inside and grabbed some ice... two water bottles... and my keys
then drove the honda element around to the back

as i drove this dog walking friend of mine i listened to his logic
and i thought... this is a kindered spirit... a person just like me... an adult who is still part child
a person who gets caught up in the moment
just as i have made the wrong decision so many times by letting adrenalin guide my choices so had he
he had leaped on an unfamiliar skateboard and tested its limits

i drove him to the va hospital
after i wheeled him into the hospital in the wheel chair i left him to check in
he was not looking for any more assistance
offered to pick him up... made sure he had my number... shook his hand

as we parted i reminded him to hope for the best but be braced for the worse

his knee was tweeked twisted and fucked
torn acl? mcl? maybe more maybe less...
surgery? maybe... depends on the doctor.... some doctors reach for the knife immediately

you go to midas and they will tell you that you need a new muffler

no matter what diagnosis.... there will be a brace and some crutches and some physical therapy
and of course... some days out of work
but this will not take him out of the game
the skateboard will return for him
this is just a set back


again no different then him... when i broke my finger and was cleared to ride my bike i immediately got on my bike and went to wakefield... not just to ride... but to race a wednesday at wakefield
with a brace on my left hand isolating my index finger i awkwardly gripped the handlebars
unable to really manage the front brake
yet racing at my limits just the same

this dog walking friend of mine will be back on the skateboard as soon as the crutches are leaned in the corner
knee brace and all... i know this... because we are kindred spirits
both of us a strange mix of mellow and aggro
big men who are still little boys

some years back i broke my clavicle... ugly compound fracture that involved several surgeries and a steel plate
when i was cleared to get back on the bike i asked my dad to drive me out to cumberland
rode back from cumberland on the c and o in two days
had to get back on the bike
just had to
just as i know that this man will have to get back into his game

need to check on him... will give him a call around noon

1 comment:

sean said...

top shelf. great post.