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.