Since everybody seemed to enjoy reading about my misfortune in The Prequel to The Ambulance Ride and The Ambulance Ride I thought I would revisit the theme with another saga from the oops, ouch world of BIG Mike.
The Ambulance Ride story spanned 7-12 March 1988. Consider a lean, fit cyclist responsible for his own motivation in that situation. See-sawing emotion begats see-sawing weight. The week of the ambulance ride I weighed in at 73kg (161lb).
Fast forward to 18 November 1989. Weight 119kg (262lb). I was at a track carnival and starting a friend in a handicap. I threw him as hard as I could, in a similar motion to a baseball batter. Stand up and have an air swing right now. See what happens with your back foot. It twists up onto the toes. What if that foot stuck and couldn’t pivot? Imagine the stress on your knee. I don’t have to imagine the stress. I can tell you first hand that rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament hurts. Several riders STOPPED racing. They heard the starters gun, then they heard my knee and thought the starters gun had fired a second time for a false start. Not really a classic cycling injury but, OWWW anyway.
Now. About that Handkerchief
Fast forward again, this time to 12 July 1990. I was back on the bike properly and had my weight down to 88kg (194lb). It was a sunny winter day and I had travelled about 15 miles when I met up with Ian (I offer his name to ensure that he feels guilt), one of the more enlightened members of our local bike club, who in 1990 owned the first dual suspension MTB in the region.
We were rolling along comfortably having a chat when we suffered the torture of a red traffic light. Ian was on his dually which had thumb shifters compared to my friction down tube shifters. We were trackstanding side by side when the light went green. His lower gear gave him the jump while I wound up the 52×17. On the far side of the intersection was a piece of painters rag on the road. Ian gave it a flick with his back wheel throwing it up in the air a little. I thought I would jam it back down onto the road with my front wheel. I thought wrong.
Has anyone ever noticed how flexible a piece of cloth is? I did. Too late. It wrapped around my rim and tyre then spun up with the wheel and jammed between the tyre and fork crown. I mean JAMMED. Not like a chip packet in the rear stays. The front wheel locked with me out of the seat accelerating hard.
Time Slows Down
It has been said before and I can confirm it here, things do move in slow motion when you know something bad is about to happen. It was a beautiful warm day and I was planning on doing about 80 miles on my own. I made an executive decision to go without my helmet as it was a safe solo trip with no hairy descents planned.
Slow motion comes in handy. It gave me time to think, "I wish I wore my helmet, I wish I wore my helmet, I wish I wore my helmet, I wish I wore my helmet". Yes, I clearly remember thinking that 4 times as I sailed through the air. I was also twisting my head and shoulders trying to avoid my head being the first part of me to arrive at the ground. This only partially worked as my head arrived at it’s destination only a nano-second after my shoulder. Fortunately the blow to the head worked a lot like an anaesthetic, thus rendering me oblivious to the horrible sound and initial pain of a broken collarbone.
Ian came back quickly when he realised what had happened, and was full of apologies when he realised how. Fortunately he worked at the local bike shop and my bike was repaired long before I was.
Now before I further disclose how soft my bones are with tomorrows story, why don’t you all tell me a horror story that involves a terrifying injury caused by a trivial item.