CRASH!! Or how NOT to fly off the side of a bridge!!

September 3, 2009

On Wednesday, when Penny got home, I had the bikes loaded up for some mountain biking up at Caesars Creek on the “Easy” trail.  We’d hiked the “hard” trails last weekend, and they were a bit too aggressive for us to ride, so “easy” sounded good on the bikes.  We’d never done this trail before, but we like the “easy” trails at other parks, so this should be good too… right?!?

As we started down the trail, there were some interesting ups and downs, plus a multitude of roots that kept the route interesting, albeit more technical than we expected.  At one point I looked back and Penny wasn’t behind me, so I waited a bit, then turned around.  Just then, I saw her coming toward me.  One of the sections we encountered, she opted to walk to be on the safe side.

After we continued on, I saw a ramp or bridge up ahead and also a trail down to the right, probably to go around it.  I like ramps, so I accelerated forward, but things were not as they seemed.

It sure looked easy enough!  But as I got over half way across, what I saw stopped me in my tracks.  Instead of a ramp down the other side, the other side ended abruptly in steep stairs pretty much guaranteeing an ENDO (Head first over the handle bars).

I yelled “Oh SHIIIIIIITTTT”, slammed my brakes, and jerked my feet out of the pedal clips, which in hindsight knocked me off balance.  Feeling myself toppling over to the left, I tried to throw myself back to the right and as I felt myself going over, I clawed at the boards, futilely trying to stay on top the bridge.  The next thing I knew, I slammed down on my right side, dropping over 8 ft down into the dry creek bed with my bike on top of me.  Kinda odd how that happened.  One would expect that falling off the left hand side, I’d have ended up on top of my bike, but my violent effort to stay on top the bridge must have altered my momentum and the bike’s, sending us down on my right side.

The impact was stunning, probably the most intense I’d ever felt!  It didn’t knock the wind out of me, but pain just enveloped my entire body as I tried to evaluate my situation and slowly move.  Poor Penny was behind me and had just reached the bridge in time to watch me topple over.  I started rolling up onto my forearms and knees, as Penny was shouting very authoritatively from above “Do NOT Move!  Do NOT Move!  Wait for me to get down there!”  She said that a couple of times, and even though I got rolled up to my knees and forearms, I prudently considered the wisdom of her words.  It’s interesting how the mind/body just wants to jump up and use the fight/flight adrenaline to get out of a vulnerable situation.  Penny’s words triggered a thought in my head… just a few weeks earlier, I’d come upon a cyclist that had just crashed on the paved trail.  He immediately jumped to his feet, fainted and smashed his face into the pavement.  Not wanting to do what he did, I just stayed there until Penny climbed down and pulled the bike off of the top of me.  Only then did I remain on my knees, and raise up.  She looked me over to see if there was anything obvious.  The pain in my right elbow and hip were the most apparent, but nothing was sticking through the skin, so I had her brace me as I got to my feet.

Feeling around and doing a body part inventory took a few more minutes.  Sore, but otherwise mobile, I started to grab the bike, and thought to have Penny take some pics of the “crime scene”.

She said when she initially crossed the bridge, she couldn’t see me laying below.  Here I am standing below, and it looks a fair drop down.

Penny:  [I really was thinking, “okay, how do I tell EMS how to find us? How many bones are broken. Please not his back or neck….”
And then I find him……miracle.]

The bike was a little dinged… rear wheel knock around in the dropouts, my handlebar is skewed on the stem, but looks easily fixable, and my front tire loosened way up and nearly fell out of the dropouts.  Otherwise, it had a softer landing than me since it landed ON me… lol!  Evenso, I’m going to have the bike shop check it out just to ensure there isn’t any hidden damage.

Aside from the considerable jarring my back took, my elbow took a pretty good hit, with a big lump appearing soon after.

When I got home, Penny cleaned out the major abrasions, while I downed several shots of Yukon Jack to stave off the soreness that was enveloping my body… and primarily my back.

The following morning found me so sore that it took everything I had to roll/twist out of bed.  Aleve, Ice, and Icy Hot have been dear friends to me… but I still managed to get on the rowing machine and use it to loosen sore legs and get some healing moving around my body.

I’m an extremely lucky guy!!  This situation could have turned out much much worse, especially with the large rocks that were littering the creek bed (I “found” some of them)!  I think the primary “lesson learned” for me was that the first time on a trail should be taken with extreme care (I went slowly over most sections, but cast caution to the wind on what I thought was a ramp).  I would be a good idea to ride or walk around any obstacles or trail where the other side can’t be seen!!

… but this all left me wondering… WHY is there a bridge like this on an “easy” trail?  Has anyone else mistakenly ridden out on this bridge?



  1. Glad you’re ok, Bob.

  2. […] Fell off the side of a bridge and landed over 8 ft down in a dry creek bed. […]

  3. […] to ease back into higher intensity workouts.  My back doesn’t seem quite ready for it yet (from falling off the bridge mountain biking Sept 3), so I’ll just proceed and listen to it […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: