So perhaps subconsciously I just hurried things along on a Thursday at Bike Park Wales. Certainly something was done unconsciously as I don’t remember planning to wipe out on what proved to be the last run of the day. But, these things happen I guess.
It was all going so well. MarkJ and I took his 15 year old son Eddie up to Bike Park Wales. It was Eddie’s first time on SPDs and his first visit to BPW so our plans were to keep things sensible, especially since Eddie is still saddled with Mark’s old On One Inbred until he grows a little taller.
So it was that his Uncle Matt was there to show him how it is done while his Dad played sweeper at the rear throughout the day. We started on the green Kermit run and then did a variety of the blue runs – Sixtapod, Willy Waver, Melted Welly, Off Grid, BlueBell, Norkle, Terry’s Belly and Popty Ping.
I was quite happy leading the train as the trails were clear so of course despite them being blue I just rode them faster and faster. By the end of the day we reckoned we could manage one last blue and then a final uplift to finish back on Kermit.
We decided to do Terry’ Belly and Popty Ping again as they were nice and long. And as I said it was all going well; after flying nicely over the table tops on Popty Ping it was at the start of the last stretch of fast berms on Terry’s Belly that I came into a left hand turn a little hot and bang! Next thing I knew I was on the ground and sliding into the undergrowth. I think I lost both wheels at once but can’t be sure.
I was pretty winded. After dragging my bike out of the way just in case someone tripped over it on the way to their own stack I needed a sit down and work out what was going on.
Fortunately, no real harm done except I had whacked my knees, hip, elbow, shoulder, hand and the left side of my head quite hard. Enough that knees and elbow where bleeding despite me wearing pads (thank goodness I decided to wear the elbow pads for a change) and my left hand knuckles had been badly scraped despite wearing gloves.
The biggest concern was a deep cut over my eye, blood on the nose and swelling above the eye socket suggesting a proper impact. Later I found I’d been doing close to 18mph immediately before the crash and as you might guess, we didn’t get to ride Kermit after all!
Apart from the bang on the head the worst has been cuts and bruises – somehow no broken bones – so I was able to carefully ride the last few turns back to the car park.
I was feeling a bit out of it and have spent the two days since feeling the effects of a concussion with a headache that comes and goes, but things seem to be improving. I probably should have visited A&E for a stitch to the eyebrow or some glue but couldn’t face sitting there for 8 hours after a long day. As the cut (just over a cm or so) is at the edge of my brow, I don’t think it will affect my modelling career too much…
In terms of equipment I need a new helmet – my old Bontrager Rally has served me well but now has a compression in the rim over the eyebrow – and I have taken a small chip out of the end of my carbon bars so need to investigate further. It needs new grips for a start and a sensible person might also take the opportunity with winter coming to swap out the Maxxis Ardent rear for something like a Forecaster or a DHR 2.
I will stick to Zwift once I start feeling more comfortable and then gravel for a while until I have a new helmet and feel up for some more trails again. At the moment I’m too bruised to wear a helmet anyway and have no wish to risk additional concussions!
The moral of this story is never underestimate a blue run, never underestimate Wales and never underestimate rocks. And don’t trust a berm!