Today was a fun day of mountain biking with family members, at least for a little while. Here's the scoop: my wife's relatives were hosting a family reunion at the Tanque Verde Ranch at the base of the Rincon Mountains, (which is an awesome place), and one of the activities available to guests was an hour of Mountain Biking.
There were four of us who decided to go mountain biking today: my brother-in-law, Mike, and I are both road cyclists, so mountain biking sounded like it would be a little different from our usual routines; one of my nephews, Nate, likes to go mountain biking when he's back home in Washington state; and my son-in-law, Curt, is a fan of myriad outdoor activities (namely surfing).
We showed up at the cycling office at the ranch around 6:45am and met with Chuck, who was to be our guide for the day. After some basic fitting of cyclists to full-suspension mountain bike frames, we took off around 7:00am. Chuck took us through some easy trails at first to get everyone acclimated to their bicycles, then he navigated the group to a small track which the ranch has created on its property. The track is a small oval with lots of bumps and high-berm corners. Chuck had each of us make several passes around the track to get used to working with the full-suspension systems on the bicycles, and then we headed off into the desert.
Our route primarily consisted of extremely narrow paths between rows of cacti and other pointy plants, which kept everyone on their toes. At one point I had to mention to Curt that he shouldn't brush up against the cholla cactus, because they have a tendency to break off and painfully attach themselves to people. We also traversed a lot of small hills, and Chuck took us to one particular hill where everyone could jump off and get a little air under their bicycle.
After riding around for a while Chuck asked if we'd like to go on the harder trails, and everyone agreed; sometime around that decision the injuries started to happen:
The first mishap was when Curt flipped his bike trying to cross a small wash. (Note: Curt was wearing his GoPro camera at the time and managed to get that on video.)
The later mishap occurred when we were climbing a hill over some rocks, and my left leg slipped off the pedal. Since I was pushing hard with my legs to climb the hill and over the rocks, this meant that I had nothing to slow the speed of my right leg as it pushed down hard on the remaining pedal, which spun the empty pedal around and smashed broad-faced into my left shin at full force. This hurt more than you can possibly imagine; I went from a 0 to 10 on the pain scale instantaneously, and I immediately formed two golf-ball-sized welts on my shin where the pedal collided with the bone. I quickly pulled to a halt, exclaimed something a little more dire than "Oh Crap," and it took me a couple of minutes to get myself together.
I walked my bike to where the rest of group was waiting and announced, "I'm done for the day." I explained what had happened, and by now the contusions on my leg were so large that everyone else thought that I had broken my leg, and the swollen areas were the bone jutting out. I assured everyone that my leg wasn't broken because I could put weight on it, but I didn't want to risk injuring it again, so my day of cycling was over.
We walked our bikes toward the ranch for a little bit, which was out of courtesy for me, but I informed everyone that it would be easier for me to ride than to walk. With that in mind, we boarded our bicycles and headed back to the shop at the ranch. Once we arrived, Chuck brought me a bag of ice and a crash kit, and I started to ice the swelling on my leg.
The following photo shows my injuries (on the left) and Curt's injuries (on the right); unfortunately the photo is from the front of my leg, so you can't see how high the swelling was at this point - all you can see are light shadows.
Once we had returned our bikes to the shop, we met the rest of the family for breakfast, where my wife - the nurse - took one look at me and asked something like, "So, where did you hurt yourself this time?" After breakfast I headed back to our room, and after a couple hours of icing my injuries the swelling had disappeared; all that remained was a nagging pain in my left leg when I walked.
All that being said, despite the injuries it was a fun time. And my injury serves to illustrate why riders should clip in when mountain biking.
- Primary Statistics:
- Start Time: 7:00am
- Distance: 7.8 miles
- Duration: 1:03:57
- Calories Burned: 490 kcal
- Altitude Gain: 182 feet
- Average Speed: 7.3 mph
- Peak Speed: 19.7 mph
- Average: 85.4 F
- Minimum: 78.8 F
- Maximum: 87.8 F
- Heart Rate:
- Average: 133 bpm
- Maximum: 163 bpm