mountain biking grand junction

Accident Prone

“The things he did on purpose were usually no different from the mistakes he made by accident.”
― Chuck KlostermanDowntown Owl

Let’s just get the rant over with.

I’m not sure what it is with today, but everything seems to be going wrong. I asked Dennis to take the Black Jeep because I believed the Red Jeep had a bike rack on it. I was wrong, and ended up late due to having to install a bike rack. In the freezing cold. With kids waiting to get to school. If I had known the Red Jeep lacked the necessary rack I would have asked for the Black.

I did hit the trail, a bit later than anticipated, but this was of no consequence. The music was good, the beverage cold, and the sunlight exceptional. No problems on the climb up Mary’s, and even rode the first few drops of the Horsethief drop-in. This was  no small achievement being that the entire trail can be summed up in one word: slippery. The first 1/2 mile or so saw me dabbing more than once, but as I felt my form and skill being rekindled I opted to attempt a drop that has always alluded me- either from lack of confidence or doubtful ability.

So, yeah. I fell. End-over-end with my bike summer-saulting over my head. It was an endo of epic proportions.

The secret to not getting injured in this type of accident is this: keep your hands on the handlebars, and roll. If you let go of the bike and attempt to catch yourself with your hands you will break something. Might be a small something like a thumb or a finger. Might be something bigger like an arm, collar bone, or a rib. Might be your head. I, of course, hung on a rolled. I got pretty dirty, and dropped my chain, but I was otherwise uninjured.

Now I was faced with a dilemma. Make the attempt again using a better line? or go about my business. I’m not kidding. This was actually a point I debated with myself for several minutes. In the end I did opt to continue on the trail, the rational being I was alone, it was icy, there was probably no one else within a 4 mile radius… so yeah. I denied the temptation and rode on.

The rest of the ride was uneventful, but was still very fun- music, freedom, beauty- all the best parts of life. Sure, there were some slippery/terrifying moments on the descent, but I put my sweet mountain-bike-ninja skills to good use and pulled out of the further potential crashes. I even felt up to a lap of Rustler’s.

Now that was my mistake. I probably should have quit while I was ahead, knowing I have been ill, and have had a touch of discomfort in my lungs. But I didn’t. And by the time I had my bike on the Jeep and put some pants on I was in a full-blown asthma attack.

I am no stranger to the terrible inflammation and discomfort that accompanies an attack of this kind. I have had exercise-induced asthma all my life. But I had believed that I was at least able to control it without medication. Today proved otherwise. I was coughing and wheezing the entire way home. I got a little dizzy. I went to Walmart and got me and OTC inhaler I was so desperate. This was a problem as I think I neglected to properly meter the dosage and ended up shaking like a Polaroid picture.

Flash forward:

I’ve just picked up Tim, age 7, from school and have Connor, age 5 as well. Here we are driving our dirty Red Jeep down the road when this car cuts a tight left in front of us. An impact seems inevitable. I slam on the breaks, turn the wheel to avoid the first collision, end up head-on with on coming traffic, turn hard to avoid the second collision, and correctly pivot the Jeep to avoid a roll-over from the excessive maneuvers.

The adrenaline pumping through my veins was terrifying. On top of  the endo earlier, the questionable functionality of my lungs, and the fever that I can seem to rid myself of, I was now in a state of shock.

But let me tell you something about myself. I may speak on occasion of the frustrations akin to lacking hope, but I am never hopeless. I may complain of illness or injury, but I am never fully unwell. I have this unfortunate ability to recover. To bounce right back. To endure, even to thrive, when I would see others crumble under the same challenges. I refuse to accept total defeat. It’s like I’m wearing these magical glasses that are very dark but never hide the silver lining.

So I guess even with the challenges of this accident-prone day I can still see that the sun will rise on a new day tomorrow. And though the actual and potential accidents of today left me suffering mentally, physically and emotionally, I am still optimistic spiritually.

Things can always be worse.

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