None of This Is My Fault

05.25.2006 | 6:54 pm

I have, at various times in the last 15 years, been accused of getting people hurt. Let’s be clear: I have never run into another cyclist (unless we were derbying), pushed another cyclist off a cliff, or tricked anybody into doing a trail without describing the trail in detail first.

In fact, I will often begin describing a trail in detail, and the listener will at first act interested, even fascinated, but eyes soon glaze over, and before long, the audience just wanders off. They do this at their peril. I cannot stress this enough. As a result of this lack of attention, a few folks that I’ve introduced to the world of mountain biking have been injured. As far as I know, none have actually died.

My attorney advises me to not talk about this, but jeez, if you can’t relive the glories of crazy mountain bike injuries, what’s left?


The List Is Lengthy

I’ll abridge it for you. But only a bit, cuz one of the beauties of the Web for writers is No Word Count Limit. Although, if someone like Brad has read even this far, it’s longer than he’s ever paid attention to anything. Brad, if you’ve read this far, call me, I’ll buy lunch next time.

Anyway. I’m not going to say “top five mountain bike injuries sustained by folks I’ve introduced to cycling.” That would be stupid, not to mention derivative. No, I’m going to say “Here are some incidents in which some folks I’ve introduced to mountain biking have been injured.” Isn’t that better?

I should clarify, I take no responsibility for anybody who was a regular mountain biker before they rode with me. That means I don’t take responsibility for Tom Burch following me off a huge kicker on Pine Hollow and landing in a crumpled heap, and rolling right into his wife’s feet and separating his shoulder. His bad.

Also, Raymond Bennett was a regular rider long before he had a heart attack on Gooseberry Mesa. Not my problem. Plus, he’s back in the saddle. There are others whose injuries, while spectacular, are clearly not my fault.

For example, last year, a guy from Boston, I forget his name, was in town for a partner meeting. He was a big MTB racer type, and wanted to see what we had to offer in Utah. I took him up AF Canyon, we climbed up the road, jumped on the trail at Timpooneke, crossed to Pine Hollow, up to the Ridge, and out to Mud Springs, where serious downhilling starts, and finishes at the Tibble Fork reservoir.

This guy (why can’t I remember his name? He was a great guy, I should remember his name. I always remember stuff, I’m the guy who remembers stuff. Okay, I’m calming down now.), this guy was doing great. I mentioned some of the downhill was a bit sketchy, but he blew me off, and stayed right on me. We had passed through the sketchy stuff, and were enjoying the final mile, which is beautiful twisty singletrack, primo stuff.

When I got to the lake, he was nowhere to be found. I waited. And I waited. Finally I started back up, just as he came around the final corner. With a cut on his thigh an inch wide and 12 inches long, and a view into his leg that should have been its own M.A.S.H. episode. Instead of presenting to the engineers later that morning, we spent the morning in the ER, and he flew back to Boston with a foot long baseball stitch and lots of antibiotics.

But that’s not the point. The point is, he’s not my problem.

However. I do feel bad about a few others.


This List Is Longer Than I Thought

I feel bad for Eric Clegg, a very nice guy, who descended the crux move on Tibble Fork, but halfway down chickened out, grabbed a ton of brake, and slid off his newbie pedals and right onto his stem. For a while there I was sure he had ruptured at least one testicle.

I feel bad for J.D Nyland, an expert motocrosser, new to the pedal bike thing. At the bottom of Tibble Fork, he saw me on the trail below him, turned sharply left, not realizing the actual switchback was still 50 feet in front of him. His front wheel stopped on a downed branch, and he supermanned 10 vertical feet right at me, landing directly on his helmet. Whoops. He couldn’t turn his head for a week. Which, considering his airtime and distance, was definitely getting off easy.

I feel bad for Reed Willmore. Also on Tibble Fork. Wait, I’m seeing the problem here. Nevermind. Anyway, Reed Willmore.  Short technical steep section between the lower meadows on Tibble Fork, he failed to brake sufficiently. That’s a great phrase, failed to brake sufficiently. Pretty much describes the world’s problems, doesn’t it? Adolph Hitler, failed to brake sufficiently. Same with Stalin. Or Mao. Or George Bush. Or Elden.

Anyway. Joe Jensen (who has so far escaped serious injury, despite his association with me) came over the rise, and saw Reed far off the trail writhing in the weeds. Separated shoulder. Surgery. Sorry Reed. Next time brake sufficiently and everything will be fine. Although, I guess that didn’t work out so well for Eric Clegg, did it?

I feel bad for Bill Harris and Todd Smith, who, upon crossing the Ridge, heading for four Corners, nearly had to be lifeflighted since I lack any first aid skills whatsoever, despite my first aid merit badge, which is just the tip of the iceberg of all that’s wrong with the Boy Scouts of America. Don’t get me started. For both Bill and Todd, a couple of minutes of barfing and dry heaving helped a lot.

I feel bad for Eric Gaoiran (that’s right, I said Gaoiran, what, it’s Filipino), my brother in law. Although, with Eric, it’s hard to tell what biking did to him, and what he did to himself. Could be anything. But he’s gone over the bars at high speed into trees, rocks, and bushes more than anybody else I’ve ever seen. He’s like Mr. Bill, though, the way he bounces back.

I feel bad for my father in law. We did a family trip around White Rim, a 3 day thing, with Kim, her sister Rachelle, Rachelle’s husband Rick S., her dad, and a couple friends. In the parking lot at Island in the Sky, Senior (Kim’s dad) accidentally grabbed a fistful of front brake, went over the bars, and ended up with the perfect six inch chainring tattoo on his calf. I am very envious of this one. If I had the balls, I’d re-enact this crash myself just for the bitchin scar.

I feel bad for Vard Bischoff (seriously, I’m not making these names up). At Deer Valley, we’d finished the singletrack part of the Big Bear trail, but on the fire road finish, he got air over one of the erosion bars at speed. Let’s just say this was an unfamiliar position for him. He landed right on his head, and spent the next couple hours repeating himself every few minutes. He didn’t forget his name though.

On that same trail, different time, Steve Daly, tried to pass Joe Jensen in a switchback. Bad idea. He lost much of the skin on his knees, ended up in the Park City care center. You’d think Park City would have had more and better medical facilities. Nope. We would have been better off going to 7-Eleven and buying band aids.

And I guess I should mention Kim on Slickrock, about a mile or so in, climbing a very steep wall, not getting forward enough, and falling over straight backwards. That sucked.


None of This Includes Fatty

And then there’s Elden. I don’t even know where to start. Because Elden didn’t really injure himself early on when I got him out riding. He was too much of a puss to try anything. But as Elden’s confidence grew, sadly, his technical skills didn’t. And the injuries came, one after the other. Please, don’t ask him about his shoulder. But I take no responsibility for that, cuz once you’re out of the newbie stage, you’re not my problem.

Elden is his own problem now. Thank God. My lawyer advised me to say that. The “Elden is his own problem now” part I mean, not the “Thank God” part. That part is there for the ACLU.


  1. Comment by rich | 05.25.2006 | 7:19 pm

    Yeah, that first aid merit badge knowledge really comes in handy doesn’t it? I am an Eagle Scout and really don’t know the first thing about first aid, or anything else in scouting for that matter. When you grow up in Utah County, you get the Eagle Scout award just for having a pulse.
    I also had my wedding reception in an indoor basketball court and believe that seagulls eating crickets is a miracle.
    When Elden referred to you as a great ambassodor for the sport of mountain biking I didn’t realise it was because you get a thrill out of taking newbies down Tibble Fork just so you can enjoy the carnage.

  2. Comment by Unknown | 05.25.2006 | 7:40 pm

    I tend to trust Dug.  A lot of people tend to trust Dug.  I mean, who wouldn’t.  The guy has a Barbie basket on the front of his bike and a bell that sounds like Tinker Bell.  Seems harmless, right?  The problem is this- Dug has downhill skills.  More than the average rider. Newbies end up following Dug down AF Canyon at crazy fast speeds and have no idea of the danger until the first switchback or log drop.  It’s hard to know if Dug likes you or hates you when he approaches you and says "Hey, I have an extra bike.  We should get out on a mtb ride up AF Canyon.  We can start at the Tibble Fork Dam and then……(This is when you tune him out.  He knows the names and distances of every trail in AF Canyon.  Better than having a GPS unit)
    Rick S. 

  3. Comment by Tyson | 05.25.2006 | 8:25 pm

    Great entry Dug!
    What happened to Bill Harris and Todd Smith that caused them to need to throw up? 
    I’ve crashed a lot, and gotten hurt plenty, but its never induced nausea!

  4. Comment by Unknown | 05.25.2006 | 9:03 pm

    Wow, now I’m glad you haven’t been inviting me to ride.
    So what is up with Elden? On that ride we did he had two legitimate wrecks and two fall downs. His problem definitely isn’t tenativeness, which gets most people into trouble on mt bikes. I gotta give it to him, if I wrecked 1/10th as much as he does, I’d have to find a new hobby. Fatty’s psychologically resiliant (I was going to say ‘Fatty’s tough’, but you’ve heard the Elden wail).

  5. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 05.25.2006 | 9:16 pm

    botched, i must address this, because you have hit upon it. while it took elden a while to apply his native resiliency to cycling, once he did he was like the pit bull in "double whammy." having latched on, he could not be removed; if you stuck a screw driver through his ear into his head he would NOT let go.
    i mean that in the best possible way.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 05.25.2006 | 11:30 pm

    I just need to clear up one thing babe, you never remember people’s names, just stuff. (Well, stuff that could win us money on "Millionaire.")
    And lucky for me, early on in mountain biking, your kind friend and the only man that can make me blush, Rick Maddox, said "Never follow Dug’s line." Anyone that rides with Dug should get that heads up.

  7. Comment by Tim | 05.26.2006 | 2:35 am

    I was thinking of trying to get in contact when we are up in Utah from New Zealand MTB’ing in the next couple of weeks… On seconds thoughts…

  8. Comment by Jose | 05.26.2006 | 2:49 am

    That is so funny; many people blame me for almost killing some of my riding buddies. I take no regret. Your list is definitively longer, but I have some. I won’t mention names.
    #1 Almost dead by dehydration, he did not follow my advice of drinking water from a creek. I was ahead on a climb. He ran out of water, when he did not show up I went back and found him hallucinating.
    # 2 A good friend in his first MTB ride. The trail was a “little bit” longer than expected. He actually told me to leave him and continue. Another friend and I had to carry his bike and our bikes for hours. He could not ride. It was hard really hard.
    # 3 An stranger; I met him in a trail; He tried to follow me downhill. I did not see him fall, but it sounded really bad; like a bean bag. He wrecked his bike and gave us a big scare when he did not wake up for a minute.
    # 4 and #5 Different rides same trail, Berryman trail. It’s long; damned long; I told them; they did not listen; after 10 miles they thought it was fun; after 15 miles they noticed they were getting tired. After 20 miles they got tired. The last 4 miles were hell.

  9. Comment by Robert | 05.26.2006 | 2:56 pm

    "I understand you want to start mountain biking," says Dug. "That’s great. Meet us at the Tibble Fork parking lot. It’s a fun trail, a bit technical, but you’ll do fine."

  10. Comment by Rick | 05.26.2006 | 8:31 pm

    dug, i had no idea you are posting on fatboy’s site. kewl. but wait, you’re not fat.
    i miss working with you. i miss hearing your morning-after stories about how you took yet another dug-wannabe up/down tibble and racked him up.
    i remembered two more favorites from you. in one single trip up hog hollow you brought two grown men to their knees. you made bruce knorr turn so red from heat exhaustion that we though he was going to spontaneously combust at the saddle. in fact, he may have just done that. we missed it because we were too busy administering to mark talbot, who had blown a gasket and vomited all over his shirt, pants, bike, and bruce knorr.
    and my dear kim, the advice i gave you some 15 years ago had nothing to do with mountain biking. the offer, i mean advice, still applies today.

  11. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 05.27.2006 | 2:30 am

    See!  There’s another reason for me to not start mountain biking.  Who can I trust?

  12. Comment by The Dana Files | 05.27.2006 | 2:25 pm

    Oh my gosh!  Bike accidents are popular blog entries lately.  I can’t imagine some of these injuries!

  13. Comment by ferhat | 05.27.2006 | 9:26 pm


  14. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 05.28.2006 | 3:43 am

    Dug, If I ever ride with yoiu, remind me to wear full body armor and have an ambulance standing by as well as a medivac helo! Maybe we should consider a full trauma team as well. I get gonzo enough without someone to egg me on!

  15. Comment by Unknown | 05.28.2006 | 5:53 pm

    you know, it’s not like the rest of us aren’t hurting ourselves out there. broken wrists, cracked helmets, concussions, and the like. i’m just pointing out a few newbies who’ve had a rather rough introduction to the sport.
    doesn’t matter how good or experienced you are. if you’re not crashing, you’re not riding hard enough.

  16. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 05.28.2006 | 7:54 pm

    I know that, Dug, I am currently sporting a strained Intracostal Muscle (Between the ribs!) for a Wile E Coyote moment with a tree doing some really tight singletrack in combination with a near tangleup with a total newbie in a little outlaw trail through Murdock Woods here! Notheing broke, but it still hurts! Still riding the road bike today, did 62 miles out to Thorntown and back, and no cracks in the ribs! Woohoo! I just couldn’t resist the dig….Dug!::GRIN:: Getting banged up is part of the sport.

  17. Comment by Andrew | 05.29.2006 | 10:19 pm

    Does blogging and the net generate excess accidents?
    I’ve noticed that in our local MTB bulletin board, folks get to talking about how great they are, then they go out and break body parts. Maybe they would have broken them anyway, but it seems that cyberpressure eggs everyone on to try stuff over their heads.
    As for me, I just dismount for any obstacle greater than 3 inches.
    But I still managed to break a body part. It’s not a good idea to ride a rooty trail during an icestorm.
    Just sayin’.

  18. Comment by Dork01 | 05.30.2006 | 8:28 am

    I’m fat. I’m not a cyclist, but hey, we all have to start somewhere :D! I was wondering if you could give me some tips on making my space as good as yours.

  19. Comment by Zed | 05.31.2006 | 12:54 am

    Just imagine the carnage at the Spud Man Triathlon this year. Glad you switched sports, dug. I’m sure it won’t be your fault when you kick someone in the head during the swim, either.


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