Not for the Squeamish: Bloody Trail Karma
Caution: Really nasty ugly bloody picture coming up
NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH
Just recently we took a second turn at riding some trails that had a somewhat unhappy ending on the first try. But before writing about the second attempt, here’s how bad trail karma gave me fourteen stitches and this scar.
A couple of Spring Breaks back, the man, the small one and I had packed up the adventure mobile and headed out to see and do some stuff. By stuff I mean camping and dutch oven cooking at a historic Arkansas State Park in the northeast corner of the State then driving south down Crowley’s Ridge and out the other end to Alabama to do and see more stuff with the in-laws at their lake house. As usual we had packed our mountain bikes in anticipation of finding some dirt to ride on. We had heard about a state park near the in-law’s place that was supposed to have some great riding.
We planned to do the outer loop which would have shot us just barely into the double digit mileage range and should have taken an acceptable time period to be away from the family gathering. With less than half a mile to go, I somehow managed to hit a stump, fall straight over and slide down a slight embankment, catching the back of my knee on my mallet C pedals that have these little metal nubs on the platform when I rolled. A freak accident, right? It never should have happened like that but it did. Up to that point I had been having the ride of my life, these trails have everything: hard pack dirt, loose sand, gravel, steep climbs, flowing descents, great bridges! I had been flying down this trail, balls to the wall and maybe, just maybe giving the man a little grief about keeping up. And I believe this is where trail karma bit me in the ass. Or the knee. Whatever. One should never, ever, never give one’s riding partner, even if it is the person you sleep next to every night, any sort of grief about keeping up when you know that on any given day they could ride you into dust, little tiny barely visible particulates of floating matter.
When the man hears my very -pre-teen girl seen by her boy-crush while wearing a clarifying facial mask AND rollers in her hair- scream as that stump schools me, he yells out “Are you okay?” And I know I’m not okay though I don’t know exactly what’s wrong yet. I answer “No, I think we’re in trouble.” Because I was still clipped in on one side, I was worried about twisting or breaking an ankle but quickly dismissed the thought. Then I saw the skin hanging from the back of my knee. It wasn’t bleeding so it took a few seconds to process what had happened. Lucky for me my man has this weird trail memory and sense of direction. Immediately after helping me up from my crumpled position on the ground he said “I think if we bushwhack over this hill, there is pavement on the other side and we can cut off some distance and at least skip some singletrack. Can you ride?” I think he might have asked if the bike was okay first, standard protocol and all but uh, yeah sure, I think I can ride. So we push the bikes up the hill and ease them down the slope. I hop on my bike and realize that now, since I’ve walked and pumped my legs, there is blood streaming down my leg and we’re riding through the middle of a campground during Spring Break. I’m not going to say we scarred anybody for life or anything but we did get some long hard stares. I started pedaling with one foot clipped in and the other raised as high as I could get it to try to staunch the bleeding. That was a pointless endeavor but it was extremely entertaining to bystanders, I’m certain.
We get to the truck, I wash the wound off with some water and declare “It’s not that big of a deal. I’ll clean it up, we’ll put some steristrips on it, it’ll be fine.” Obviously I had hit my head in the fall and was completely delirious but somehow I was convincing enough in my insistence that all was good that the man stopped at Walgreen’s for steristrips and antibiotic ointment and we went home. Where my darling mother in law looked at the gaping hole and declared “You need to go to the Emergency Room! But let me get my camera first, I need a picture.”