Solo MTB Ride Report–Lopez Canyon
This week end I was thinking of doing the Julian Fall Ride – indeed the club is probably clipping into the pedals as I write and starting the climb up to Wynola. I was actually scheduled to do the “Dirty 50” MTB race around Lake Hodges so took my MTB to work yesterday to put it through its paces. One of my clients is atop Lopez so did the short sharp climb up to the Mesa. The last time I climbed up (yes upwards) my left side of my handle bars hit a “hidden” branch – it looked hidden as its covered in what looks like soft foliage so I brushed it as I went passed, except I didn’t just brush, more like hit and didn’t go past, more like came to a stop. A nice soft fall with more dust than blood. Now roll the clock forward to yesterday (this doesn’t turn out well for me no matter how you look at it) when I called Rob in the afternoon to get his thoughts on whether I should do the race of come to the Julian Fall Ride. Rob inspired me to come on the club ride as he had done a head plant a couple of days before whilst out mountain biking – I think I said something like “Ha, why am I not surprised” and probably shook my head and may even have tut tutted. Since Rob would now be as slow as me I made the decision to ride and not do the race. With those thoughts in mind and the week end plans now locked down I set off home, back to the Canyon. Now Lopez is a great descent – from the start gate there is a tight left, a straight, a couple of sweeping turns then the ruts and the exit. I didn’t have a care in the world, work done, decisions made, everything place for a lovely ride home. For a moment I thought of the irony if I crashed, just like Rob but I never crash, Rob crashes, not me. I took the first sweeping bend nicely, went high and cut down like a real “racer” (maybe I was feeling guilty pulling out of the race and wanted to atone?), then the right hand tight bend (that’s the real fun one) came and I leaned and cut the corner really nice (just like Racheal Atherton), saw my line of entry into the ruts, took the racing line to the right side of the trail, and then my right side handle bar hit the same branch …. The bike came to the same “stop”, but I’d like to place the word abrupt in front, and the other difference this time I kept moving to the left and hit the ground rather hard on my left side. I am now about ten feet down the trail away from my bike, which is laying peacefully up the trail right. Thankfully nothing too serious seemed to have happened. I just lay on the ground and ever so slowly got up – I now understand why the TdF riders stay on the ground after a pile up. It was a bit shocking as I did not see it coming – I took the line I was aiming for except it was obviously the wrong line. There was no bike handling errors just poor judgment (and memory – yes I know it was the same branch!). I’m going to get a hand-saw and that branch is going to be removed! Conclusions – new kit needed, broken watch and a couple of broken ribs. Overall I think I was lucky – I’ve no idea how fast I was going .. more than 10 less than 20 .. and I landed on sort of soft hard pack with rocks behind and in front. I had no time whatsoever to put my arms out so no clavicle injury, just took the full impact on my left sided ribs. Head never hit the ground. As I say, I was upright, then airborne then bang. Ride safe guys and remember where the obstacles are.