Saturday, October 06, 2007

Let It Rain, Let It Rain!

After a summer of dry road riding I had forgotten just how much fun it is to dust off the ol' mountain bike and go and play in the rain and the mud.

It's what rainy weekends were made for.

I only started mountain biking again last winter, following an awful accident back in 1997 that left me too frightened of my mountain bike to ride it. In fact I sold my mountain bike shortly after that accident (I bought a new one last year) and that was the impetus to take up road riding and then racing.

In 1997 I was merrily -- and without any fear -- riding down a mountain in Cape Town at high speed. Without warning I hit a pothole and my bike stopped but I didn't. I flew past my friends in the air, did a few somersaults upon landing and came to a rest sitting up.


"Good grief! Are you okay?" came the call from my friends.

At first I thought that I was and I nodded. Then I realised that my arm was simply hanging by my side. I reached up to feel my clavicle and could feel the bone sticking through the skin.

"Um, no, I don't think that I am."

I then had to walk off of the bloody mountain, be taken to Emergency and undergo an open reduction/internal fixation with donor bone (I had shattered my mid-clavicle into five pieces), a plate and five screws to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

You can well imagine why it took me almost a decade to get back on a mountain bike.

Following that accident I thought that road riding would be a safer option ... once I started racing I realised just how not true that is. Over the years I have distally fractured the same clavicle two more times in some pretty spectacular peloton crashes/pile-ups.

My attitude now? F*ck it. If I want to ride bikes at speed then I must be willing to risk injuries, including breaking my clavicle.

So go forth! Ride in the rain and slide in the mud! After-all, that's what orthopedic surgeons are there for. Isn't it?


5 comments:

Dr. Wannabe said...

i can't handle that kind of stuff. i don't know why. jump out of a plane? sure. ride a bike down a mountain like that? nooo thanks.

Kendra said...

sorry to hear about your humpty dumpty stories with your clavicle! but i have to give you a big hand for jumping back on the bike. especially in the rain. honestly, i love running in the rain. it's almost a spiritual thing for me, especially here on an island where it really pours. when the rain comes in, i turn my ipod to my most favorite song, make sure my shorts are on tight, and run as fast as i can through the pounding rain!

Midwife with a Knife said...

If I was your clavicle, I might just stage a protest or strike or something. ;) Seriously, sounds fun. Be safe!

Harry said...

jeeze dr k that sounds painful! My bro broke his arm and jaw in several places doing the same thing over the summer, needless to say it is a sport I will avoid!

medstudentitis said...

I just got the awesomest dainese elbow pads to go with my other armour - maybe you should invest in some if you're going to be hitting the mountain hard! I love mountain biking but I've had my fair share of scary moments. Thank goodness I haven't broken anything (knock wood).