Costly Mistake

I have some bad news. I crashed while mountain biking with a friend near Mount Rainier on Friday and ended up breaking 6 ribs and my right clavicle.

Stay with me because that isn’t the bad part.

After conducting a thorough trail-side wellness check (“Dude, has my collar bone always jutted out from my shoulder like this?”), my friend wisely concluded I wasn’t fit to finish the ride and we’d need to hike back to our cars via a boring fire road. It was around 11am at that point and we were approximately 10 miles and 2000 vertical feet above where we’d started. In the past 2.5 hours, we’d seen a total of three people and one dog, so the hope of coming across a caravan of cyclist-friendly 4x4s seemed slim.

Stay with me.

My friend, bless him, carried both our backpacks so I could focus on wrangling my bike downhill without worrying about all the unsettling bone-on-bone grinding sounds that were emanating from my right side. We walked like that for over three miles before we finally flagged down a motorcycle gang, one of whom was a retired Army medic. After another thorough trail-side wellness check (“Dude, has your collar bone always jutted out from your shoulder like this?”), they helped me find a warm spot in the gravel to rest while my friend raced down the road to get the car. It was then I remembered I hadn’t stopped my GPS watch and all my stats were now going to be contaminated with worthless post-crash data.

That still isn’t even the bad part.

By the time he got back, loaded me into the car, and driven us within range of a cell tower so I could call and tell Tamie, my wife, that I wasn’t going to be home in time for lunch, it was 2pm. Then, it took us an hour to get to the hospital where I spent another hour in a wheelchair breathing through a mask in the waiting room with a bunch of sickos carrying COVID-19, chlamydia, and countless other communicable diseases that I imagined. The doctors then spent the next three hours hooking me up to an IV and scheduling a CT scan and taking x-rays and administering painkillers and, for reasons I still don’t understand, a tetanus booster, before they finally all agreed my collar bone should definitely not be jutting out from my shoulder like that.

So here’s the bad part: at some point during the midst of all this someone decided they needed to cut off my favorite cycling jersey just because they weren’t courageous enough to attempt to remove it intact. Sure, I would have screamed like a murderous psychopath in the process, but only until I passed out.

That thing cost me like $80.

So yeah, now I have to buy a new jersey AND a new mountain bike because everyone knows you have to replace them in pairs.

Sorry, Tamie.

Post-op pic. They apparently put me back together with a bunch of master links from an old bike chain. I hope they’re 12-speed compatible so I don’t have to carry any extra tools for future trail-side repairs.

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