Low perspective shot past a green “All City” bicycle from Council Crest Park toward Mt. Hood, which is visible. Clear sky. A cherry tree in the middle distance is in bloom

Massive Head Trauma (Race Report: Short Track MTB #4)

Published 2013-06-25

OK well not “massive” but I busted my helmet and have a powerful hangover today. And, warning: I am totally gonna blame my bike for this, a habit I hate.

Last night was my first try at Singlespeed MTB. I rode the Nature Boy, a singlespeed CX rig. Thom and I were discussing my “woodchipper” handlebars and he asked to try them out. He rode a short circuit on the Nature Boy and I realized it fit him really well. He’s probably four inches taller than me which gives a sense of how stretched out I am on that bike ... and how hard it would be to push my weight backwards on it, for example when safely cresting a whoop-de-whoop.

Then: while waiting for the start whistle, I was chatting with some fellow racers who commented that a Cross rig was perfect for the night’s conditions. I kept making cracks like “yeah, as long as I don’t wind up eating my teeth,” because half the time when I race STXC on a Cross rig I take a header in the moto course. Ha ha.

Well, last night I took the header of all headers on the first whoop-de-whoop (helpfully marked SLOW in giant orange letters). I completely inverted and landed square on the top of my head, then took a couple rolls with Nature Boy.

My very first thought was: “This would be the worst possible time in my life for a spinal injury.”

My second thought was: “Do I still have all my teeth?”

My third though was: “I am going to get run over.”

I jumped straight up and clawed off my helmet, whose strap was biting into my throat. I pulled myself to the grass margin and collapsed to my knees. A course marshall was right there and asked: “do you remember what happened?”

“It seemed like I landed on my head.”

“Yep. That’s exactly what happened.”

Seconds later a medic came over asked me all the stupid questions: where are you? what is your name? where do you live? do you have a ride? No nausea, no tremors, no blurred vision. She did a few other checks and we collectively decided I didn’t have a concussion or nerve damage. I could move my neck and all my limbs and feel everything, whoa boy could I feel everything. Even without the head trauma, I took that bike directly in the ribs and rolled with it a few times. Ouch.

But wow was it scary. And it hurts worse today than yesterday.

Anyway, for two preview laps and half a race lap SS STXC is way more fun than regular STXC. I just need a smaller bike.

Anyone want to buy a 54cm All City Nature Boy with Woodchipper handlebars?

Thoughts about mortality and familial duty; sorry can’t even make a proper sentence out of this. Am I gonna do this again?