Gymnastics - or rocks don't make for soft landings.
It is a strange feeling to be fully committed to something and know that you will get hurt. The only question remaining is how badly. Such was my experience on Saturday. At the very end of a fun ride - with snow on the upper reaches of Gold Camp Road and traction for miles on every other trail, we dropped into Strawberry Fields for the final chunk of single track before heading home. Before that came the final obstacle - a five foot rock drop. The rock alone is challenging, but made harder by a very narrow landing zone - bordered on the left by a large tree and on the right a rock filled ravine. After you make it though that, one more challenge remains. A step, rocky kicker of a climb. I've made the rock drop maybe 10 times total - and the entire section only a couple of times. The last time we rode there, I made cleanly all the way through. So I figured that this time would be no different.
Except it was. I slowed, let Nick clear it and then made the approach. I thought I was where I needed to be - on the line to drop the rocks, squeeze between the tree and the ravine and then power up the other side. But something was wrong. I was too far left and past the point of no return when I realized it. And so there I was, poised at the top of a six foot rock, on the highest entry point with the greatest amount of undercutting. I could picture myself wedging that front tire into the undercut and crashing headfirst into the tree. I was fully committed to something - I just didn't know what.
Somehow, I managed to keep the front tire rolling and the rear tire in contact with the ground. No endo, although the it was desperately close and I'm still not sure how I'd managed. I was in the clear - I would be able to get up the next section and shake it off. A microsecond later my left grip slammed into the tree. And it wasn't budging.
The next thing I knew, I was lying in the ravine, my bike tangled in my legs and several rocks digging into my back and shoulder. My helmet was askew and my glasses cadywompus on my face. I thought about moving - untangling myself from my bike, but decided to wait for the boys to come and help. Nick was already down there, asking if I was okay and Matt was right beside him. They could figure out how to get my bike off of me while I did a mental inventory. Was I hurt? My right shoulder was throbbing, my back already bruising from the rocky landing. Both wrists were aching with my left pinky throbbing. I was sure there was more, but agreed with Nick about getting out of there before things really started hurting.
Amazingly, nothing was broken - not even my bike. A testament to my gymnastics skills as Matt said I had plenty of air time in which to play cat. Things are still popping up - my left pinky is a little black and blue and my right shoulder very tender. Man handling the bike for wheelies and such isn't happening too well right now. I also think there's a deep bruise on my right hamstring as well since that went into spasm during a run on Tuesday. But if that's it - I'm lucky. At so many points during that entire sequence, things could have gone very very wrong. And next time I approach that rock, I think I'll take Nick up on his offer to spot me!