Thursday, September 27, 2012


I looked to my right and narrowed my eyes.
...trees...trail...bright sunny day....
A studied look to my left brought the same conclusions. My right hand was on the saddle, left hand held the bars.
I’m out mountain biking.
I looked right again and squinted.
I’m mountain biking at Wirth Park.......No....this is...I’m at Murphy--I’m riding Murphy.

I’m at Murphy by myself?
It rolled around in my mind. Slowly the morning’s parking lot gathering coalesced in the fog of my thoughts. Snapshots of faces and clothing, bike pumps and helmets.
Wade’s in town. We’re all mountain biking.
My phone chimed as a text came through. I pulled it out of my jersey pocket and unlocked the screen. There was comfort in the act. I knew what to do.
WD: Heard you were down; waiting at the steps for you :-(
Me: Nit quite sure where I am 
They’re waiting for me. They’re at the steps. We always regroup at the steps when we ride Murphy. They’re probably wondering where I am. I think I’m at Murphy. There’s a group of us....
...I don’t know how to get to the steps....
I looked down the trail right, then left.
WD: Are you disoriented or just not certain where you are?
Me: Its coming at Murphy...remember talking to some guy? obviously I wiped out 
There was hazy wisp in my mind: Yup I’m fine along with someone’s presence. I moved off of the trail and faced the woods—a rider was bound to come by eventually and I wanted some privacy in my bewilderment.
Did I talk to someone? I don't know where the steps are.
WD: Yes, he came by and said he waited with you, but you seemed ok.
Me: vague recollection of talking to him. Think I was out for a minute there
WD: that’s not good at all! Are you moving along the trail or are you just hanging out somewhere?
I don't know how to get to the steps.
Me: Can you come back? I’m standing here
WD: Yes. Go to your map app. And snap the screen and send it to me so I know where you are.
He’ll come to me. I don’t have to find the steps.
I heard a rider coming down the singletrack from my right. I watched him out of the corner of my eye and turned to see his back after he crossed behind me.
The trail goes from right to left. I know which way to go!
Me: Someone just rode by—I’ll start walking that direction. will snap map screen and send
I know which way to go to get to the steps!
 As I fumbled with the screen shot, two riders stopped next to me. I think I was out for a bit, I said. I’m meeting friends. I touched my face then looked at my fingers. There was dirt and blood.

They told me the steps were quite a ways, and they walked with me for a bit. One pointed to a horse trail that led to the gravel road which would take me to the trailhead—I liked the idea of heading back to the car. I called WD.
I’m heading back to the parking lot. Two guys just showed me a trail that leads to the gravel road. 
The directions were simple. I repeated them before thanking the riders, and they left. I turned to cut through the woods where I could see the horse trail.
Which way do I go?
I looked down the singletrack, but theriders were gone. I started through the woods.
I’ll figure out something when I get there.
Once on the horse trail I could see the gravel road. From the road I could see the trailhead just on the rise. I could see it. I threw my leg over the bike.
I’m at Murphy. There are six of us. It’s Sunday.


WheelDancer said...

Scariest. Day. Ever.

Glad you are getting back into the swing of things.

Snakebite said...

Holy crap! I hope you're OK.

Human Wrecking Ball said...

Wow, that sounds awfull. I hope you are okay.

The Old Bag said...

Snakebite and HWB -- it was a strange experience. I was taking the day easy since I hadn't been riding a ton this fall, and I spilled on an uphill-left-hairpin-rooty-downhill that I've taken in the past...even walked it on the first loop to get a good look.

At least, we're pretty sure that's where I spilled given the chunk outta the helmet along with the scratches, combined with my leisurely pace. I came-to somewhere down the trail -- I still can't place the spot (went out the next day with my garmin to try to make sense of it all).

I'm basically fine, but am experiencing the fallout of a concussion: lingering queasiness, mild headache, lethargic thinking. It's all to be expected, but it's tough to give the brain a break. I'm not supposed to read, be on the computer extensively, deal with complex thought processes, do heavy exercise...basically I need "cognitive rest". Tough medicine!

Thanks for your concern!

rlove2bike said...

WOW, that is tough medicine. I hope things get better for you. I do almost all my riding alone, sometimes very remote and no cell service. I think of what could happen and I still take unnecessary risks at time. I think the MTB will do that.

Pete said...

Scary! Take it easy, Baggie. Doctor's orders.

Human Wrecking Ball said...

We were all talking about you after someone made a joke about a simular incident to yours. "Where am I and why am I covered in blood?"
Cyclists have weird senses of humor.
I am following you now on instagram. Your pics made me hurt for ya. Get better, go back and knock that bastard off....with some spotters.
Heal quickly!

The Old Bag said...

Rlove--wear your safety equipment and ID!

Pete--easier said than done. The toughest part is just beginning!

HWB--Thx! I posted a midweek pic to Instagram just for you!

jeff said...

Wow! I just read this and hurt for you. I'm glad you're feeling better. I always wear a helmet and road ID as I ride alone most of the time. Fragile existence.

C. P. said...

Thinking of you, OB. Heal fast...then ride faster!

The Old Bag said...

Thanks, Jeff. I'm definitely on the mend--will be taking it a bit easy for a few weeks!

CP, you're a man of few, but perfectly precise, words!

Groover said...

Way too well written for cognitive rest... hope you followed doctor's orders otherwise! ;) Glad you are ok!

The Old Bag said...

Thanks Groover -- getting it written, bits at a time, was cathartic.