I ran into a tree while mountain biking today. With my face. I don’t remember the specific details that led up to the incident, but I imagine things unfolded like this: First, I was riding along and my face wasn’t hitting any trees, then, quite unexpectedly, it was. Physics and poor judgement are cruel mistresses.
The tree, which probably didn’t mean to get in my way, will be forever scarred by our encounter, and for that I’m truly sorry. I never should have exposed Nature to any of those words.
My helmet, which is equipped with a MIPS Brain Protection System (an amazing Swiss technology that has been scientifically proven to make safety equipment cost more money), did absolutely nothing to protect my brain. The coward.
My bike, which has grown accustomed to serpentining between the trees, was caught completely off-guard by the sudden change of policy and therefore continued straight ahead without me. Of the four of us that were involved in today’s crash, it was the least scathed. Thank God.
Fortunately, all this happened seven miles and several thousand vertical feet above the trailhead. Otherwise, the story would’ve ended with that last paragraph. Instead, I had the opportunity to gather my bleeding self together and pedal back to my truck.
For those of you familiar with the Raging River trail system, this happened near the top of “No Service.” This meant I had 23 Strava segments still ahead of me. (Strava is a website that allows individuals like me to upload gps tracking data and then virtually compare the results with other people who are obviously cheating.) At that point, I assumed my day was shot. Instead, I ended up with PRs on 17 of the 23 segments! Not because I was jettisoning crucial fluids like a doomed aircraft during my descent, but because all the n00bs (everyone on the trail who isn’t me) that normally clog the route were graciously moving to the side as I passed, like I was an ambulance or some sort of crazy person. Many of them audibly gasp when they saw me coming.
It was fantastic!
Pro-tip: If you, too, want to set some new cycling PRs, I suggest carrying extra packets of red energy gels and dousing yourself in those, a la Stephen King’s Carrie, rather than instigating a bloody altercation with the local flora. It’s not worth the risk to your bike.
Originally posted on Medium.