An Updated Breakage Policy

Here’s a piece by my friend Chapman who has been instrumental in helping me get this site off the ground.

 This is not a rant about being active and getting old and the many injuries that can and will happen along the way. The increasing frequency. The increasing severity. The slower and longer recoveries. 

I’ve noticed a shift in my mindset. Not about my own injuries, but about my friends’. 

Mountain biking is a rough sport when you’re riding at the edge of your abilities. We used to fall down and get right back up. It was funny when your friends went over the bars in spectacular fashion. We’d all laugh together about it over beers afterwards.

But pushing past our limits carries more risk as the years tick by. The consequences of failure steadily increase.

It starts out innocently enough. Cuts and bruises. Sprains and strains. Then broken ribs and torn ligaments. On to broken bones: wrists, collarbones, and the like. Now, when a friend crashes…you stop, there’s a pause. You alright?  Is it bad?

I have a handful of friends I ride with regularly. We take turns motivating to make plans to ride together. We hold each other accountable to stick to those plans. We push each other to ride harder, longer, better.

We’ve all been seriously injured in some way over the past 2 years. One or more of the crew may be out of commission for months. (They’ve had to wait longest on me to heal.) It fucking sucks. It breaks the rhythm and flow of our shared outdoor adventures…lessens them.

We miss riding together. We are not good about making that time up in other venues, so it is just lost time.

But, we keep at it.  These are the gambles we make to go fast in the woods. We narrow our focus to the 20 feet of trail in front of us, drowning out the noise in our heads. Then we regroup, catch our breath, talk, listen, laugh, and tear off again.

I am afraid of the next big fall, but we are in this together. So, I still want to drop everything, assemble my crew, and go ride right now.