Lessons Learned!

Woodland Rider
Woodland Rider Posts: 11
edited March 2009 in MTB general
Hello fellow mtb'ers,

I would like to share my story with you and the lessons learnt by me, and the guys I ride with. I don't want anybody to be as stupid as we were!

I am a member of The Woodland Riders - we have an awesome selection of DH tracks down here in sunny Devon (honest, we do!).

On February 16th 2009, myself and 3 mates went for our regular Monday run. We've been riding Gawton for a good while now (of course, only since it 'officially' opened!) and we all have a good knowledge of the 3 courses on offer.

We normally start the day off with a run down 'HSD', a fast flowing track which is just perfect for warming up the muscles and getting into the flow. This day was no exception.

I was second in our group of 4 and trying my hardest to really nail the course, catching up to my mate who was about 10 metres in front. We were about 3/4's of the way down the run when, without warning, I landed a jump all wrong and was spat over the handlbars at about 25mph, straight into a tree. Ouch!

Well, as you know, falling is all part of the fun (isn't it?!), but I realised pretty quickly that this time, I was in a world of pain - and it wasn't going away. I soon had 3 concerned faces looking at me and I remember thinking that, more than anything, the missus was going to kill me!

My right arm was hurting really badly - the worse pain I have ever encountered in fact. The pain soon gave way to a ringing in my ears, a flappy bottom jaw and I seemed to move into a different reality - shock was doing its job well, and moved in without invitation.

I knew that hospital was needed. Self preservation took over and I just wanted to get some painkillers inside me and get to the A+E ward to get sorted out. First though, I had to walk nearly a mile back up the hill to the transit van, to pain relief and transport to Plymouth, to get to the hospital. Suffice to say, this was not a pleasant walk.

Anyhoo, I'm gabbing on like an old fishwife here....

The upshot of this is thus.. It turned out that upon impact with the tree, the 'ball' that slots into the shoulder, keeping your arm nicely attached, had snapped off and rotated 180 degrees, splintering as it went. This was coupled with another 4 separate breaks at the top of my humerous (ha ha), and I also cracked a couple of ribs, and trapped a nerve in my back causing my left thigh to go completely numb (which it still is).

Now, dear reader; thanks for getting this far. You might be now wanting to know the lessons learned this day. If you don't, then my left armed typing has not been in vain!

Firstly - we all know that riding DH is a dangerous sport - it's why we ride with a friend or 3. How utterly stupid are we that none of us decided to call an ambulance??! If one of your mates starts to go white, sweats a lot and starts to flap his / her bottom jaw - PHONE AN AMBULANCE! From falling off until proper painkillers were injected, (morphine), I endured almost 3 hours. A quick call to the emergency services and this would of been more like half an hour. I have since found out that the ambulance service have quad bikes for just this sort of thing.

Secondly - Try to carry some basic painkillers with you at all times. The only thing that kept me trudging up the hill was the knowledge that I had some Ibuprofen in the van - which turned out to be some throat lozenges! Doh!

Third - Don't break yourself when you have a 2 month old baby - the missus HAS given me a lot of grief!!

Lastly - should I be doing this at the age of 36??!

Ok, so today I start physiotherapy. I have had surgery, the bones have all been pinned back into place. (I'll pop the xray up to view if I can work out how to do it!)

Wish me luck!


  • Here is the initial x-ray


    Here are the pins n plate.


    And here is my scar!!


  • MTBLee
    MTBLee Posts: 23
    Ouch! :shock:
    Decathlon Rockrider 8.1
  • Oh, and just a thought... if any of you are headed to Cym Carn for the bank holiday weekend (April 11th / 12th) - I'll be the guy taking photos of my mates!
  • ringo42
    ringo42 Posts: 21
    Looks like you got a tattoo of an MTB tyre going over your shoulder. That's dedication!!
    Good luck with the recovery.
  • OUCH!
    sorry to hear that fella! unfortunately spills will happen and its always the tree that seems to win!
    have to say the thought of knackering my self up when i have to look after our 2 1/2 year old tends to put me off most the hardcore riding our group does, i just practise the camera man skills!

    hope you mend properly, and thats a cool scar to have! like ringo said, nice that they did it in tyre tread style!:wink:
    After all, I am Cornish!
    Cotic Soul, The bike of Legends!:wink: Yes, I Am a bike tart!
    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... 1#16297481
  • good luck with the physio mate!

    is your bike ok? :D
  • is your bike ok? :D

    Yes! Oh dear, I forgot to mention the most important bit!

    The bike is absolutely fine. I ride (rode?) a GT Sanction 1.0 - pretty sturdy machine :)

    I might well take up xc now though! I've always had a thing for Marin Mount Visions!!
  • crust
    crust Posts: 27

    I did very similar damage a couple of weeks back and have a near identical scar.

    We also didn't call an ambulance, instead a mate went for help, except he didn't know where we were or the way to the car park/cafe/ranger and got lost.

    When they asked him where I was, all he could say was there were lots of trees.

    I can really sympathise over the walking bit, I walked well over a mile before the ranger found us. He'd gone to where we were.

    Were you wearing armour/protection?

    We made a sling out of an inner tube with a stick twisted in it, that helped a lot.

    Good luck with the recovery.

    You can show the missus this and say, "see, I'm not the only one."

    :) crust
  • Yep, I was wearing a Dainese full body suit, full face helmet etc.

    The surgeon said that the armour saved my arm - I could of lost the arm were it not for the protection. One thing I didn't mention - one of the pieces of bone that floated off from my shoulder had my main artery attached to it. No armour on could of resulted in a severed artery - followed by death!

    Anyway, not here to dwell on the 'might-of-beens'!

    I hope you are recovering well Mr. Crust?

    Physio was fun!
  • snotty badger
    snotty badger Posts: 1,593

    That was a close one!

    And the tattoo almost got it too! :lol:

    Good look with the physio mate :)
    08 Pitch Pro
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  • _Ferret_
    _Ferret_ Posts: 660
    Great story dude - read it all the way to the finish. Easpecially liked the "the missus will kill me part", I get that feeling at the start of every downhill...

    You'll mend - bones always heal and I guess you were really lucky. Still you can't give it up because of one fall. What if you fall off going on an XC ride what will you do then, push the bike?

    You're never too old, you just get slower and need more time to heal with age... :wink:
    Not really active
  • Ciaran500
    Ciaran500 Posts: 348
    Hate reading these, always what you think about when you're looking down a scary bit of a trail >_<
  • gcwebbyuk
    gcwebbyuk Posts: 1,926
    Hope you get well soon mate :)

    Glad the bike is ok!
  • Nasty and really makes me realise why I go a bit slower (or should sometimes!) when I'm on my own.
  • bluechair84
    bluechair84 Posts: 4,352
    Oooh bloody hell!

    I liked the bit where the Ibuprophen turned out to be a lozenge :) I laughed hard! But I really do feel for you.

    How much for the Sanction ;)

    Get well soon
  • Hey all, thanks very much for the kind words.

    bluechair84, I think I'll keep the Sanction for the mo - I might just put lighter wheels and xc tyres on it. I'm glad I kept the Thompson stem now!
  • P-Jay
    P-Jay Posts: 1,478
    Dammmm bet that hurt. My mate had a simular type of break but he also shattered the ball it'self (although less damage on the arm) on the black bit of Whites. Took a good few months to heal but he did make a full recovery.

    Trying not to sound heartless about your accident, but I'm glad to hear some positive words about armor from someone as qualified as a Surgeon. There's been too much noise on here saying that armor does nothing more than stop the odd cut and scrape.
  • mcflyss
    mcflyss Posts: 257
    Ouch! Get well soon dude!
  • grantway
    grantway Posts: 1,430
    Matey sorry to hear your un well but I broke my Left Scapular at the
    tender age of 40, doing Downhill mountain boarding in Greenwhich park
    in London
    And ride Hard XC/Freeride and Downhill and now hitting 46

    Hope you a speedy recovery
  • k2rider
    k2rider Posts: 575
    he was, dianese full body, hope you recover quickly, looks like a nasty x-ray.
    who cares?