Words: Nick Clarke
Video: Broderick Horne
For most of my career I have been riding with a vertically torn patellar tendon. Being a typical stubborn man about going to the hospital, I never got it checked out, instead just took an Advil for the pain and continued to ride anyway. Over the years that tear spread with each kneel for construction work or a slam to the concrete while riding. All it took was one slam on December 21, 2019 which would change my life forever.
This pain had me thinking it was only a dislocated knee cap but would turn out to be a fully ruptured patellar tendon and reticulum. All that connected my kneecap to my lower leg had pulled from the bone and sent it into my quad. An expected quick pop back into place would turn into 5 days in the hospital on standby for emergency surgery. After days of no food and water, on Christmas Eve at 4:20pm I added a 17 inch scar unwanted knee replacement to my right leg.
Besides the unbearable pain that came along with this injury, we also had COVID-19 to overcome. For me, this meant the shutdown of physiotherapy and check-ups, and left me fully reliant on myself to get through the next 9 months of my life. Out of sheer will and drive to prove doctors and surgeons wrong, I pushed it until I couldn’t keep my eyes open from agony. The process seemed endless and impossible; a couple more degrees in bending my knee each day that felt forced at best. There were many days I wanted to give up, just a broken man holding on by threads playing guitar and keeping it together in the form of music therapy.
Fast forward 8 months and the overwhelming urge from peer pressure to ride took over and I found myself at the trails. Hesitant at first, when my hands hit the grips it all came back and I proceeded to get upside down first ride back. I called up my best friend and photographer Broderick Horne and we set out to change the game. Having had our biggest clips filmed before the knee ending crash this truly gave us the motivation to get back to business and continue to push my limits. I thought the mental battle of the injury itself was tough. That was before I wrote down the list and started shooting.
The idea behind this one is simple. I’ve been “dead” from the sport for years as far as people have thought, so why not poke some fun at that? I’ve always been one for including little accents to a piece for the extra pepper in the seasoning, so every bit of this edit is set to make you feel the same emotions I felt while shooting. The coffin acted as double duty in such that it was my awakening from the depths of depression and “dead career”, but also the symbolization of conquering my inner demons. Even the music is about a man whose soul is in turmoil and the lyrics speak of a tornado of emotions. Everyone who has been through a long term injury understands the massive effect it plays on the mind and your confidence, so this song hit the hammer right on the nail. (Coffin Humor -1 Point)
Joyride 150 has been around for 10 years now so I wanted to showcase the most difficult tricks and lines I have attempted or achieved here. Having done a few videos here, Broderick and I wanted to approach this one differently. Joyride 150 is renowned for big transfers, and quarter pipes are often neglected in the MTB world, so our focus was directed at both. With COVID-19 cases soaring in southern Ontario, closure and lockdown were looming over our heads, the reality of not finishing on time was troublesome. Having invested a year into this and a nearly replaced knee, we weren’t about to go down without a fight. With a short window of opportunity, limited amount of people in the park per day, and a scary list to film, the stress to finish was high and the pressure was on.
In a year that was tougher than anyone saw coming, I owe thanks to so many. The Joyride 150 family has been a driving force in what made this year have some enjoyment and the staff and friends helped me bounce back from what I thought for sure was the end of the line. What seems like the end may be a new beginning in disguise.
Special thanks to the Joyride 150 staff, Spoke O'Motion, Dave Thomas, Mark and Leslie Summers, Broderick Horne, Ben Weber Kramer, Joel Bondu, and my closest friends.