Shit Happens - Opinion

Mar 5, 2017 at 19:04
by Mike Levy  
Mike Levy


I nearly lost an eyeball while trimming my fingernails last night. Well, I guess I didn't really come close to losing it, but for a few seconds it sure felt like I'd be the proud owner of a mildly offensive nickname such as Uno or Periscope and an eyepatch. One minute I'm clipping away, and a second later a piece of my own nail flew up and lodged itself firmly under my eyelid as if it was being controlled by some sort of tractor beam. Cue the flailing and swearing as the sharp edges of my errant thumbnail dug into my pupil.

I eventually dislodged the attacker by clawing at it furiously with my fingers, a tactic that probably wasn't the right approach considering what I was doing in the washroom just before cutting my fingernails. Anyway, it's always a shock when things go from 'okay' to 'oh no' in a matter of seconds - it's as if some omnipotent higher power is watching and saying, ''Hmm, that smug look on Levy's face makes me want to f*ck his shit up,'' which is also exactly what it feels like.

This can sometimes be especially true when it comes to riding.

A few years ago, I had a seemingly simple mechanical issue do more than just wipe my grin away - it also saw me crouched down in a feces and urine splattered outhouse while shivering and slurring my words. And I wasn't even on drugs at the time. I was on a bike that was spec'd with an older-gen Stan's rear hub, a component notorious for its ability to self-immolate if you didn't talk sweetly to it during a ride. Long story short, it was a very cold and wet day, hovering around freezing, and the hub's innards decided that life wasn't worth living any longer. Instead, it came apart and turned my bike into a fixie at the very top of a 3,000-foot mountain. In the freezing rain. And I didn't have a chain tool for the same reason that I used my soiled fingers to dig a nail clipping out of my eye: I'm not that smart. At least a seized freehub can't give you pinkeye, right?

No big deal, I thought, I'll just coast down the gravel road, the same one that I just worked my ass off for an hour on, with my feet up off my spinning pedals. But that's when the skies opened up. You'd be amazed by how fast one's body loses its heat, and then its ability to control simple motor movements like, oh, I don't know, braking and steering. What should have taken ten minutes took nearly thirty because I had to stop multiple times to warm my hands up by putting them down the front of my lycra bib shorts, and I was speaking with a speech impediment and had moved past the point of shivering by the time I reached the bottom. My vehicle was still a solid 15kms away, however, which I had no hope of covering at this point. Thankfully, I crossed paths with a fellow rider while coasting down the road who offered to drive me to my van if I waited for him at the trailhead. So that's exactly what I did, crouching down on the floor of an outhouse that would have been a great location to shoot a scat fetish video. I also broke the world record for the longest, hottest shower when I did eventually make it home.

A ride-ruining but otherwise innocuous mechanical sent that day, and my body temperature, spiraling downwards alarmingly quick, but there have also been a few times when the blame fell squarely on my own shoulders. Probably more than a few times, actually, but a great moment of dumbassery that stands out to me happened on one of the best trails in the world during what would have been one of the better rides of my life had my day not gone into the 'oh no' zone just before finishing.


Kona Honzo CR Photo by James Lissimore
  Looks like you're having a great ride. It'd be a shame if something came out of nowhere and wrecked it...


A buddy and I had driven the six hours from my hometown to Rossland so we could do a single lap of Seven Summits, a solid ride that, depending on your fitness level, consists of three to six hours spent dipping into and out of the alpine, all of it on singletrack. Yes, the twelve-hour round trip is entirely worth it. We had been on a good pace that sunny summer day, and it was looking like we'd finish up in around three hours, a fact that had my competitive ass pushing too hard for my skill and, more importantly, my remaining energy level. In retrospect, I should have taken a breather and eaten some candy, but I did the opposite: full gas... right off the side of an exposed section of trail due to being too tired to get my sketchy little cross-country bike pointed in the proper direction. Steering is a really important part of mountain biking, it seems.

Losing the front-end down the low side of an exposed trail at a high rate of speed is a funny way to crash because you get smacked down so damn fast that you don't have a clue what happened. I might not have known what occurred when I did eventually sit up, but it took just a few seconds to discover that my poor steed was in rough shape, and it was one-hundred-percent my bad. A taco'd front wheel, both tires ripped off the rims, and a twisted fork made my cracked ribs and a concussion look not so bad, and what should have been twenty-minutes of coasting down to my van saw me instead spend an hour wheezing and brake dragging.

It took mere seconds for that ride to go from one of my best to one of my worst, and while it's very different from a fingernail clipping bent on revenge or a seized freehub and freezing rain doing their best to turn me into an ice cube, it's yet another example of things going south way too quickly for my liking.

I could go on and on. There was that time that, as a young and ignorant pup, I had done some "maintenance" to my bike before a downhill race only to have the stanchion tubes of my Marzocchi Z1 literally fall out of the fork crown mid-run ("Hey, what are these dumb C-clips for?"); or that time when I was dead sure that I could clean a relatively puny drop at the old Red Bull Rampage site and instead nearly ended up dead when I rag dolled for seventy feet, only hitting the ground three times over the distance. The bright side of that crash was that I did end up finding my shoes afterward. There's also that time, not long ago, when I looped out at the trailhead and landed squarely on my ass. That last one would have been more embarrassing than painful had I not stashed a multi-tool in the back pocket of my bib shorts just above my tailbone. Ouch. There are more, but I'm going to stop with the examples of things going from fine to fubar in only a few seconds.

The thing is that shit just seems to happen, doesn't it? One minute you're in the shower and the next you've slipped on the soap and someone finds your body in the bathtub two weeks later. Or you get cooked by lightning. Or blinded by your own fingernail clipping. All I know is that, if things are going to go south in a hurry, I'd like to at least be on my bike rather than in the shower, caught in a lightening storm, or lose my sight from a flying thumbnail.


144 Comments

  • + 102
 Awesome read Mike, you and Dave Tolnai are my favorite MTB writers. You touch on an issue that annoys me deeply. That MTB is sooooo dangerous. Downhill skiing, ski jumping road cycling - classic sports. Screw that downhill skiers go at insane speed on concrete hard snow and if the crash, it takes them a half of a mile to stop and then three layers of net that could be used to catch a flock of Killer whales. Road cyclists - spend hours on roads filled with cars, driven by people even less composed behind the wheel than behind the keyboard, and as good at car driving as an average participant of Garda Bike Festival is at bike handling. Then roadies ride down hairpin filled Alpine road in a tight flock of 100 at 50 miles per hour. But so classic! True gentlemans sport. (and then they don't even want disc brakes because they can supposedely cut you in half)

Now as soon as your ride MTB and you don't look like a sperm while your bike does not resemble a road bike with fatter tyres and narrow bars - you do extreme sports. You can be a weekend warrior on 120 bike, but if you have knee pads and baggy shorts, you basically end up in the same basket with Nitro Circus and Wingsuit proximity flying.

Sht happens, one day you can die under the shower, get blown up by a guy who didn't make it on the plane to USA, or maybe slowly but surely by a tripple bacon sandwich followed by bullet proof coffee.
  • + 122
 If you find yourself dying under a shower, tilt your head down.
  • + 50
 killer whales don't travel in flocks...
  • - 26
flag WAKIdesigns (Mar 9, 2017 at 12:57) (Below Threshold)
 @mattsavage - and terrorism on US soil is not funny ????
  • + 146
 @mattsavage: Obviously you haven't been to a feminist rally....
  • + 16
 @Thustlewhumber: i regret i haz but one prop for u, sir.
  • + 5
 @mattsavage: ...it'd pods.
  • + 18
 @mattsavage: What is the collective pronoun of annoying know-it-all, everpresent PB commenters from Sweden?
  • + 6
 It's a pod of whales, not flock.
  • + 3
 Or b done by flying OneUp Switch ninja chainring!
  • + 19
 Waki, not meaning to sound rude but do you even ride?
  • + 1
 @COnovicerider: do you not get the point he was making.....shit happens.
  • + 2
 @DaySleep3r: maybe a punk? A punk of pink bikers?
  • + 0
 @Thustlewhumber: this is gold!!!
  • + 4
 It's hilarious because most people think even mellow XC trail riding is wildly dangerous, I don't think many casuals even know that downhill riding exists.
  • + 4
 pissing myself laughing at stopping a flock of killer whales.
  • + 103
 My worst crash in the last 6 months was while setting the sag in my garage.
  • + 23
 My dude forgot his elbow pads on a ride that we ride straight from the house to/from and have probably ridden 3 times a week for 6 plus years, one crash, cut down to his bone, 10 internal stitches and 70ish external stitches. The ER doctors wanted to record the closure because "we never,ever, see these..." #shithappens
  • + 8
 do NOT clip in when setting sag. hahahaha!
  • + 84
 That last paragraph really hit home. Saturday i lost one of my closest friends. Things definitely went south. He endo'd, and snapped his neck. But he was doing what he loved. Shit happens faster than we can react sometimes, but we still have to make the best if the situation. Whether its staving off hypothermia, nursing your cracked ribs, or grieving the loss of a loved one. Keep pedaling and never forget this day could be your last!
  • + 36
 Deepest condolences man. Our time on this place with our loved ones must not be taken for granted, we must try to make the most of it.
  • + 7
 Truly sorry to hear that man. Life can be a cruel mother****er sometimes. Scary how fast things can change.
  • - 17
flag scott-townes (Mar 9, 2017 at 18:04) (Below Threshold)
 It could have been worse. He could have gotten hit by a car biking home from work or slipping in the shower, or crapping his pants in a hospital bed waiting for a random infection to do its job. As far as untimely deaths go, if it has to happen, that's not so bad. I hope you and your buddies have an awesome season in his memory! Yeewwww!!!!
  • - 17
flag thedriftisreal (Mar 9, 2017 at 18:14) (Below Threshold)
 @scott-townes: BOI DO U WANNA DIE
  • + 11
 Doing what he loved or not that's still horrible man. Condolences.
  • + 4
 So sorry to hear and my condolences to friends and family.
  • + 2
 My deepest condolences to you, your friend and their family.
  • + 1
 Condolences bud.
  • + 72
 Drove 3 hrs to ride, left my front maxxle on my doorstep ...
  • + 5
 Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
  • + 3
 I left the thru axle of my Marzocchi 44 in a gas station, at the end of a wet 4-hour winter ride. It sucked even more when I realized it while unloading my bike from my friend's car at home, 20 km away of it. Had to ask him to drive me back there, look for the axle in the dark and then pedal back home, as he was late for an appointment.
  • + 3
 Not biking, but once drove all the way to Snowdon for a hike to discover i'd forgotten my walking boots. After much swearing then proceeded to be even more stupid by doing it in feeble trainers, knowing full well the potential. Always keep some walking boots in the boot now.
  • + 1
 Shit, i've done this twice... Or forget my gloves, ride anyway and end up having massive blisters
  • + 56
 Got smoked from behind by an aggro skier. 6 weeks post-op and months and months to go to fix my quad tendon which was ripped off my kneecap. Praying for 100%. Sucks when someone else's shit happens to you...
  • + 8
 wow, that really sucks
  • + 32
 Well of course he didn't see you - you're a goddam ninja. Healing vibes though.
  • - 3
 I totally get your pain, but yours is worse. While snowboarding I had a german tourist t-bone me from out of bounds while cruising to a chairlift on a groomer. I pushed him down when he got up out of rage. I was ready for an all out brawl when i realized he didn't speak english. Guy backed off and you could tell he was terrified. 5 mins later my knee swoll up to the size of a grapefruit. It required surgery and my knee hasn't been right since.
  • - 13
flag jrocksdh (Mar 9, 2017 at 16:22) (Below Threshold)
 Lost my good healthcare plan to obamacare so i backed it off, worried id get an injury like that without good coverage; now rinocare looks to be more of the same. Shit happening again
  • + 6
 I know guys that love to ride 2 feet behind me but don't want to enter the trail ahead of me. I just want guys to be able to stop in time and not get fucked up like you did. Hope you healed well.
  • + 9
 I got cleaned out my first day at Winter Park by some idiot who took my binding with them. I was staying the season in a trailer, needles to say I did not have cash to replace it. Yeah 'shit happens' but when someone else's shit happens that's when shit really happens. Everyone make sure your shit doesn't happen to anyone else.
  • + 2
 @bishopsmike: comment of the week, sir I salute you .
  • + 55
 I had to "strider" my Warden 13km home after my hub imploded. Whole new respect for my 3 year old neighbour.
  • + 3
 hahahaha!!!! I had to picture that and how pissed I would be
  • + 8
 LOL! Finished the last 2 miles of a 40-mile SS epic strider-style... much respect for my own kid who used to ride miles that way FOR FUN! Smile
  • + 4
 Had my hub seize on me last year at slick rock at the half way point and had to finish the ride fixie style. Terrifying riding full tilt sitting on your saddle bouncing all over with my feet narrowly missing my Tmacs spinning warp speed. Was funny except the next day on porcupine rim I shredded my tire beyond trailside repair ten minutes into the ride. Ended up stuffing my tire with all kinds of debris but still ended up trashing my rear wheel. Definite shit luck
  • + 5
 @dro-cfr: Feels weird giving an up arrow for someone having a bad day. Fixie mountain biking is extra exciting.
  • + 1
 Did that too. My right pedal spindle snapped flush to the crank arm in the middle of nowhere
  • + 1
 HAHAHAHA! I just pictured you striding past your neighbour giving that knowing nod that motorcyclists give when they pass each other on the highway. *nod* "bruh"
So funny!
  • + 39
 That's why I bite my nails. Safety first.
  • + 5
 Don't choke!
  • + 3
 No points. I had to go to the dentist because I chipped my front tooth because of biting my nails. Front insicors are not meant for shearing. Sucked.
  • + 24
 As I've gotten older I've started ro realise that having fun also means staying safe and live to ride another day. So what if it looks "stupid" trail riding in a full face (albeit a D3). Last crash I clipped a tree from sliding out on a root, was going at a decent pace, nothing crazy but fast enough, would have smashed my face really bad if I hadnt been wearing it. Was probably a few inches from being paralyzed as I hit the shoulder blade just beside my spine. Litterally the first thing I did was try to wiggle my feet when came to a stop.


These days I feel my riding ability is pretty decent, decent enough to have alot of fun so I just dont try to much stupid shit, I far more enjoy being healthy and able to ride as much as I want rather than chopping of a sec here or there. I've started to learn to only push it when the situation is favourable with plenty of stoke and good trail conditions.


At the end of the day as a weekend warrior nobody is going to care whether I am 5 seconds, 5min or 50min slower on a ride. But I sure as shit wont be happy if I have to do surgery on a knee that might never fully recover or might not be able to ride well again.

Shit will happen, but much less so if we think before hand about the potential risk!
  • + 4
 So I take it you wear safety glasses when trimming your fingernails?
  • + 1
 This is why I am happy riding my steel hardtail, it keeps my speed in check and my brain engaged. I still get moments when I'm going fast enough to wonder how I managed to clear that section or make it round that corner. I look at long travel fs bikes and I just think I'll end up going so fast any crash will be a serious one. The flip side, being on the end of someone else's shit or a mechanical. Although, couple of years ago, local popular short dh trail, lost my chain and jammed the back wheel, it slid out but I was able to skid sideways to a safe stop. Just as I did two kids, their mum and dog appear, walking up the trail just below me! There is no way I would have been able to stop in time, I would have just ploughed straight into them...
  • + 1
 Well said!
  • + 23
 Holy cow, Levy; you've had some good ones for a guy who isn't even 40. Take care of yourself, yeah? We've grown to rather enjoy your writing.


Also, I had planned to trim my own nails after reading one last Pinkbike article. I now question the wisdom of ever trimming them again. You'll have to answer to the collective friends, family, and significant others of the MTB community for this.
  • + 40
 Always wear my DH goggles when nail clipping.
  • + 2
 or use scissors...
  • + 1
 @DGThree: do you use tear-offs?
  • + 13
 4 days straight of riding the gnarliest Whistler has to offer, leaving the park after my last ride on last day, at slow coasting speed, wash out on moon dust gravel right at the bottom, land weird and break my wrist....right before I flew to France to ride in the Alps for a week.

...I f'ing hate "hiking".

About a year ago and still pisses me off pretty good. Ive had many minor injuries I could ride through, the wrist wasn't having it.
  • + 1
 Broken wrists really suck especially for mtb! I dislocated and broke mine while snowboarding and my biking season seems over before it began.
  • + 14
 Shit happens on your ordinary home trails where you crash so hard that your shoes fly off and you crack a bone but don't notice because you also hit head on a stump...yeah just MTB things.
  • + 12
 Good reading @mikelevy Heres my account of a ride I will never forget

Myself and two friends Alex and Sion set off on a hike a bike ride in the Lake District, UK. It was a beautiful warm winters day in the valley floor in Grasmere village so we were just in shorts and t-shirt with just lightweight soft shell jackets stuffed into our rucksacks. Our plan was to ride/hike up then join a Ridgeline that would descend all the way down into Ambleside, the nearby town.

We set off on the hike a bike climb, still in the sunshine and overheating from walking up this mountain with our bikes on our backs. So far so good. Fast forward 2 hours and about 100m below the summit and the weather turns pretty bad very quick. It went from beautiful sunny day to whiteout winter snowstorm in about one minute. We put on our jackets then crack on to the top. Upon arriving at the top its freezing cold, visibility is down to a few bike lengths and the wind has reached that knock you off your bike kind of strength. Not exactly the kind of conditions you hang around in, so we stopped for a quick summit celabratory high five then started riding down.

Almost immediately, maybe 5 seconds into riding and Alex's rear tubeless setup explodes. Not ideal but we have all the stuff to sort it in our bags so we run back up to the summit trig point (big pile of rocks that marks the summit) and huddle up taking it in turns to do various stages of putting a new tube in whilst the other two huddle for warmth. Finally the tube is in, pumped up and ready to go, but by this point all three of us are too cold to even use the brakes so we huddle into this pile of rocks whilst we try warm our hands down our shorts. We get on our bikes only to find that in our cold, not thinking straight condition none of us remembered to screw the presta valve back up. Unbeknown to us at the time, when the bike was laid back on its side whilst we huddled for warmth, the valve pressed against a rock and let all the air out of the fresh tube!

We assumed the new tube had a hole but by this point we were all too cold to consider swapping out the tube again. My hands were no longer functioning as hands so I couldn't ride either. I had also got pretty disorientated by the whiteout so I literally just pointed in the general area of where we needed to go and we just ran, pushing our bikes by our sides. We just needed to get off the summit.

By some sheer luck, out of 5+ ridge lines that all start from that summit, we ended up running down the right one. I put it down to my ingrained knowledge of those hills, having been dragged up them by my parents since I was born (thanks mum and dad!) Eventually we got below the cloud and we suddenly burst out back into beautiful warm sunshine, about a quarter of the way down the ridge. We basked in the sun like reptiles, fixed Alexs flat then had an amazing ride down into Ambleside.

We laughed about it later in the pub, but I honestly feel that if we had stayed on that summit much longer it would have turned into a serious situation. Getting a few punctures sounds like a common ride mishap for sure, but combine that with the situation we were in and it makes it 10x worse.

Its one we will never forget for sure. Fast forward five years and I even mentioned that day in my best mans speech at Alex's wedding.
  • + 4
 Another one as well riding the wc dh track at champery. Friend went over the bars 1/3rd of the way down the track, concussed himself really badly. He couldn't see properly, was throwing up and talking shit. We called the ambulance and they sent one out...to the bottom of the hill. No fireroad rescue. One of us walked an hour or so down the fire road to the valley floor with him and saw him to the waiting ambulance then accompanied him to hospital. The rest of us stashed the two bikes by the side of the track, rode down, got the lift back up, dumped our bikes then walked back down to the other two bikes, rode them down then got the lift back up again. Riding champery wc track on a bike you are not familiar with is sketchy enough in itself!

We then had to then repeat that process on every lift and every track back to morzine. If anyone is familiar with that area, you will know how long it takes to get from morzine to champery and back again. Now imagine doing every lift/trail twice to get the extra two bikes. Took about 4 hours to get back to the chalet.
  • + 10
 After a week of andalusian torture, my rear hr2 3c gave it up, lost nearly all of the sideknobs. lucklily a brand new minion ss was waiting for me at home, so after i got home and sorted out my things, i mounted the new tyre with sweat, blood, and tears, but it was holding, Stan's milk was all over me, but it was fine. spring was around at the last weekend, so we went for a ride. it was sunny, warm, the footsoldiers of tourism were also kind, they did not try to kill us while we passed them and their fluffy miniature shitcontainer "dogs". after a looong climb we finally pointed the wheels down, and after just about seventy seconds, there was a familiar "clungg" sound which was followed the also well-known and hated "ssssss" sound. a classy pinch on my brand new, shiny minion ss. no worries tho, i just have to pump. right..? hah! WRONG MOFO! at the valve there was a scene that reminded me of one of my "not the proudest fap" memories - white-ish sticky stuff everywhere! so i had to stick a tube, like ppl did over a millenia. such embarrasment... nevermind, i was still fitt and the trail was still ahead of us. after one corner to another, pump it, not brake too much, skidding on leaves.. i was a happy camper. untill i found myself laying on my left side, my left arm was cut about 20cm long, my left leg hurts, kneepad twisted. i was bleeding like a pig. "is my bike okay?" yes it is. cool, so let's ride home now.
  • + 8
 Risk management- there is a whole process to it. I have been flying helicopters for a long time and have to use risk management or risk dying a stupid death. Same is true for Mountain Biking. If you want to get better at riding you need to push your boundaries- ride faster, jump higher, etc. Identify the hazard, make risk mitigating decisions, implement those controls and re-evaluate afterwards (if you still can). The cycle is constant- it can be deliberate and take a few minutes or sometimes happen in fractions of a second. 50% of the time it works all the time. The other 50%, shit just happens.
  • + 8
 literally yesterday at the trail head of the trails i ride 3x a week, i wheelied on a tiny climb i've never screwed up before, was so surprised that i forgot to unclip and rolled into a rocky ditch....ending up face to face with a pissed off rattlesnake. neither of us bit each other, but he called me a b*tch and slithered away.
  • + 7
 Last fall I broke a chain pedalling on a flat stretch of gravel road, but was putting down enough power that the chain snapping threw me over the bars. I fell 20 feet before the trail even started. Broke my chain, cracked my helmet and bent my bars in the crash. The chain was almost brand new, but must have had a defect in a link.
  • + 4
 Snapped my chain pedalling down a hill to work. Right over the bars, scrapped up and bruised arms/hips/legs. Unpleasant way to start the workday.
  • + 7
 Overshot a jump last year by 3 meters and landed on my straight leg and broke it. Also tore my ACL, MCL and PCL. Fucked up my whole summer of 2016. Had surgery in December, everything seemed fine, 2017 season here we go. But wait, there is more, need another surgery this month and gone is season 2017. What a time to be alive...fml
  • + 7
 last year i actully did some proper training and getting fit which i did just for the ard rock enduro which is very unusual for me as i dont have a competitive bone in my body. Then i got neumonia and lost it all and then some. I still did the race but it was horrendous never understood how exercise could make you vomit until that day. strict regime of vodka and sleep from now on
  • + 6
 One time years ago I had a nice day off, bike was in the shop, borrowed my friend's bike... Crashed on literally the dumbest, easiest trail i think exists in most if not all of Maryland that i must have ridden 200 times and knew every root and inch by heart. Riding along at a fast pace trying to push it, all of a sudden i flip straight over the front of the bike, completely taco'd the wheel in half (honestly i think the weld broke on the rim and that caused my wreck, but it happened so fast i really have no idea). Slid like 30 feet on my back and got road rash on my back from dirt because of the speed, broke my wrist, broke a rib or 2.

To top that off... wheel was so eff'd that i couldn't push the bike with one hand to even walk out of the woods. So i had to call the closest person i know to my position for help... which just so happened to be the guy i borrowed the bike from cause his work was right down the street 5 minutes. So not only am i f*cked up, but i had to call this dude, ask him to leave work to come help me, and inform him that i just f*cked his bike all up... SURPRISE!

All in all... drove myself to the hospital (which i worked at so i got to butt in line at the ER), and fixed his bike up with new stuff. The whole thing was beyond stupid though.
  • + 6
 Shit really hit the fan when I was riding in sedona a three months ago. I was on the second half of the hangover trail, after the traverse, I decided to take the gnarlier descent down the rock faces instead of following the regular trail. (if you know what I'm talking about, you know how gnarly this line is vs. the normal trail) when I got off line between two rock rollers, both tires drifting to the right of the trail. Now totally off line and missing the roller I was supposed to go down, I had to huck to flat off of this ledge to save myself from crashing. went off the drop awkwardly and nose heavy. When I landed my right leg was extended (I ride right foot forward) and my right knee gave way upon impact. The impact hyperextended and twisted my knee inwards. I felt a pop, a crunch, and some movement that a knee should never do. The pain reminded of when I first tore my ACL, but even worse this time and it was clear that I had done something serious to my knee. Sat there and yelled in agony for 5 minutes.
I was still around 1.5 miles from the exit of the trail, and I knew I had to get out asap. I couldn't really put any weight on it without sharp pains. I spent the next 3-4 hours limping and struggling to get down the trail, using my bike as a crutch, trying my best to keep weight off my knee. This trail is like most sedona trails, up and down, lots of technical features, not the kinda stuff you want to be limping on. The sun was starting to go down and I had to get out before it got dark. When I made it back onto Shnebly Hill rd, it was already 5:30pm and the sun was setting, luckily two Jeeps that were 4x4ing down the roadsaw me on the side of the road and gave me a ride back to the parking lot and my car.

One of the hardest things I've had to endure in my life. Don't ride alone guys, and definitely don't ride gnarly lines by yourself either. Be prepared for whatever may happen and reserve time if shit does go down. My meniscus tore and flipped back behind the knee joint, severely smashed my cartilage as well. Got surgery and now I'm on the road to recovery, won't be riding for another 2-3 months though.
  • + 6
 I was JRA at my local trails 2 weeks ago going along at a nice rate of speed when I got caught in a rain rut that I tired to bunny hop out of. Next thing you know I'm over the bars and land on my face, really hard! Anyhew I had to have minor reconstructive surgery under my left eye as well as a sprained right hand and two sprained shoulders. Fucking shit man! I hate being injured and not riding. Oh well one more injury to add to my long list.
  • + 6
 I was riding Seven Summits in Rossland with some new friends and while waiting for others to catch up, a few of us were jumping off this stupid rock pile. I went over the bars and severely dislocated my shoulder (on top of a summit, miles from the car). One of the badass girls in the group (who I just met) grabbed both of our bikes and packs and helped hike my injured ass off the mountain for 3 hours. She even took me to the hospital and drove me back home to the US that night. I asked her out a few days later... that was 2 years ago. Shit happens...
  • + 6
 First phrase my dad used to calm me down with as a kid. He said "it's okay that it broke. Sometimes, shit just happens." I'll never forget that. There will always be times when everything is going just as it should and well, shit happens.
  • + 8
 I almost lost my eyeball either last afternoon... After checking a fresh tube repair, it exploded right on my face. Scary as sht.
  • + 6
 This shit didn't happen to me, but a coworker and I were on a ride and he ate the deck popping off a small root before we even got to the trail. He landed face first and bit his tongue splitting it right down the middle (like a snake). He got 30 stitches in his tongue, gave up riding, packed on a ton of weight and still talks with a lisp a year later. But worst of all- he got blood all over my car. Now that's some shit!
  • + 5
 Can't find the "add to favorite" button.
Man, M.L. is such a talented writer, always point on and with a refreshening vibe to it. Shit happens all the time i'm just trying to be a bit more humble about things because our ability to control every outcome is very much limited.
  • + 6
 Lightening: a drop in the level of the uterus during the last weeks of pregnancy as the head of the fetus engages in the pelvis.
Not a storm i wanna be in either!
  • + 6
 I ran over a skunk crossing my path commuting home one night. The skunk lived, I wished I had died after I realized he sprayed me after I ran him over.
  • + 3
 Fell off a 4 1/2 story roof taking two steps back didn't realize there was a hole in between 4 buildings. landed on my side 24 hours in the hospital and left walking w/ only 7 snapped ribs t2-t9 and semi punctured lung. only because I lived and no head trauma .. ehhh
  • + 3
 Shit Happened to me 3rd of October 2015, not the first time but the worst time.

I'm lucky enough to live just 1KM from our trail head where anyone else has to ride for an hour or drive there.
I say lucky, This particular day I'd say I was complacent.

I was feeling pretty awesome this particular day, I'd been on a fitness regime that was starting to show it's worth, the sun was out, it was a gorgeous early Autumn day and I had plans to rip the trails apart. I'm sure you have all been there when you feel on top of your game and your cup of stoke is overflowing.

Well, off I go out the house 200 meters down the road and across the golf course (on a designated pathway). I was bouncing, popping of any and every tiny undulation. I arrive at the gate that lets you through into the woods where I have ridden for over 15 years (the local), waiting to share my stoke with #Allthelads who I knew were already in there.

Hit the first bit of single-track down a route which I knew would take me to the judges seat ( a place to drop your bags and chill between runs while watching others pin or not pin the trails), and I thought I'd take a slightly different line in and out of a bomb hole, a line that I could pop of and get a bit of air, cool.
It was cool for 0.5 seconds when all of a sudden the world turned slow Mo. I had massively misjudged the entry and began to hurtle into the bomb hole in the air heading to the other side finally coming to an immediate halt as I hit the bank on the other side. At this point I got very intimate with Newton's Third Law. I'm not the lightest guy on a bike (more Rugby than Soccer) so I hit the ground and the ground hit back by serving up 5 broken ribs a collapsed and punctured lung. I yelped loudly with what felt like my last breath. Luckily it was loud enough for the lads to here approx. 200m away. I had only been riding 5 minutes if that.

My buddies came to my rescue, when I saw the look on their faces when they found me it was quite worrying, these guys are not usually phased by much and we had seen all sorts of bad injuries over the years, I mean they just left there V10's and demo's lying in the woods as they took me back across the golf course to my buddies van and rushed me to hospital as I seemingly fell in and out of consciousness barely breathing.
By the way not one golfer would put me in their golf buggy to help me go the 600m to the van, bastards.
To cut the story short after 4 epidurals, constant self-dosing morphine, loads of other pills, some really strange trippy moments, a great bed bath, complete respiratory failure after week one in hospital where I could have died and not known anything about it and the embarrassment of singing "There's no Limit" by 2 unlimited (which I hate, I wish the Doctor hadn't told me about that bit) as I was rushed from Intensive care unit to Intensive treatment unit Higher than I have ever been in my life and probably in Keith Richards life combined.
I went to some really far out places in my head those two weeks in hospital. However I understand that SHIT HAPPENS.

So here I am, my cup is full of stoke again and I'm raring to ride this weekend just as I was that weekend.
Yeeeehaaa!
Bring it on.
  • + 1
 Respect, man!
  • + 3
 This one time, i simply fell sideways on the most benign section of the trail because i was too lazy to dismount quickly and landed on a tree stump. It still hurts 3 months later. I try to be confident about this all, but we are really vulnerable, no matter what....
  • + 3
 Did 3 months intensive training for a race. A week out while tapering went for an easy ride on my hardtail. Was going slow down a track I knew well and had a stupid off on an innocuous corner. Got a couple of grazes which ended up infected and I was on antibiotics and as sick as a dog.
  • + 2
 That time I managed to shift my upper body and handlebars to the right a few inches. However my pedal and sandwich-meat left foot met a tree at 25mph. Physics dictated as I spiraled anti-clockwise into a violently cursing fifty foot roll. Net result: the growth of cells in repairing the toes have over compensated and now I wear size 13 1/2 on the left foot.
  • + 4
 Happens to the best of us. One of my best days of biking was the day I separated my shoulder, it was a killer day up until that point.....
  • + 2
 I went camping early last year. When I got to the campsite the owner gave me a free weekend stay in one of the cabins. "Wow! This is awesome!" I thought. Well I get on my bike and go over a small pathetic rock garden and go otb. Not even a minute into my ride! My elbow hurt so bad afterwards and was swelling up. I took the rest of that day off and rode very carefully the next day and continued to ride for the rest of the year. However my arm wasn't quite right. Went to the doctor only to be told that I had fractured it when I crashed. Still dealing with elbow problems but I'll get over it. Shit happens Razz
  • + 2
 You got it, Mike. Where I live, if you want drinking water you have to buy it, electricity comes on for a few hours per day, most people die before they get to 55 and if you have anything more than a headache you need to be medically evacuated. Not saying this because "...my risks are bigger than yours" but because it has taught me a valuable lesson: life is really f*cking short and most people in the world aren't that surprised when it gets ripped from their hands (yes, they grieve, and yes, death is hard, but it's a sadly commonplace occurrence) because the schedule is out of their control. So I try like hell to make my future self proud; live in a way right now that my dying, broke-ass body can look back on and say 'yeah, man, that was f*cking worth it.' Because everyone around me knows that future could happen in the next 5 minutes. It's taken me a while to get to this place in my head, and I'm not always there (coasting is still fun sometimes, and when I do get back to the US I can't deny that going to a squeaky clean Starbucks and gazing at my navel has a weird attraction) but I'm doing my best....
  • + 2
 Drove 7hrs from Scotland to Wales, rode all day. Left my bolt thru insert somewhere on a trail in Afan forest. Had noticed the shifting was off for the last ~5 mins of the ride and assumed the mech had taken a knock. Packed the bike in the car, went to the pub.

Got up next morning, drove to Bike Park Wales, booked onto the uplift, went back to car, got bike out, axle fell onto floor.

Sigh.
  • + 2
 Yesterday evening went riding in our city in the dark, a track we did already 20+ times. But at a descent in the park, city seems to have decide to take away the pavement and not fill the hole.

Friend pointed the bike down, saw the hole to late, hit the curbstone at the end of the hole (+30cm high), tyre exploded, rim exploded and he got airborne. wheel and fork are total loss

Changes in familiar tracks are the most dangerous it seems
  • + 2
 "Shit happens" ? Few decades I've been hearing that...started out on bmx,..then sport\dirt bikes..now last ten years back to mountain bikes, if yer gonna do stuff on two wheels her gonna get some scars for sure, like the time me and a mate decided to jump a mountain bike into a moving trailer cos I had "seen it on TV" ...ridiculous crash broken collar bone..confirmed I must have dreamt it( i'll upload the vhs video), multiple bangs on the head and masses of stitches...broken wrist was painful and months of bike during a simple urban ride..but now at 47 I'm happy to say I still take risks as a healthy diet...still get a buzz every time I go out, and living on the canary islands well what a playground !
  • + 2
 10 Years ago I broke my wrist and collar bone along with a severe gash to my right thigh on A-Line, lying in shock for over 1.5 hours and I ended up crapping myself on the hike down while being supported by two others. Worst day at a bike park ever.

Last year trying to keep up with my very talented friend down Mt. Washington I lost traction and spun out onto my hip, which happened to contain my galaxy s6. The phone was twisted in a somewhat hilarious state and my leg/hip had a nice galaxy s6 shaped dark purple bruise for a few weeks afterwards.
  • + 2
 Day 10 of 10 in BC and day 8 in the Whistler bike park. Heading down for beers at the GLC and feeling full of confidence fell on the easiest part of Schleyer. Split calcaneaus, two big titanium screws to put it back together and 4 months off the bike.
  • + 2
 why aren't any stories starting with" so there I was about to drop in" or " hold my beer" or " I had been gardening then all of a sudden" or " the wife called to wish me luck and I dropped my phone and she sent search and rescue but I was already having a beer" maybe these only happen to me
  • + 2
 Screwing around at a skate board park. Done, I rode a wheelie across the parking lot (like I have done since I was 9). Due to lack of attention, the bike came over on me. Perfect storm crash, shattered tibia, broken fibula. Shit happens.
  • + 4
 Shit happens....Bring toilet paper on every ride. It's light weight and doesn't take up much space...no excuses
  • + 2
 Had to use pine tree bark once before - more scooping than wiping... I made sure I was making the cleanest crap of my life. The rest of the ride went well Smile I now carry the white paper saver.
  • + 4
 I once read a story about a woman that lost an eye to a piece of glitter... google it if you dare.
  • + 3
 @mikelevy: Crafting accidents are the worst - just brutal! Great article btw, and thanks for the link.
  • + 5
 A pedicure and pedal cure for Mr.Levy!
  • + 1
 Dislocated my shoulder and broke part of my shoulder socket after hitting black ice on the bike a month ago and just like that, no riding for 6 months. My first coping mechanism was to binge watch all 5 seasons of Drop In on YouTube. Loved that show.
www.youtube.com/user/DropInTVseries
  • + 1
 Dude's story about landing on his tailbone('would've been more embarrassing than painful had there been no multi-tool...')
was clearly malarkey, as anyone who's ever looped out and landed on said tailbone knows, there are FEW places on your body that hurt more when landed on than your COCCYX
  • + 1
 Very well said! Shit just happens! Whether it's your own fault or you think someone or something is out there trying to kill you, you just need to keep pushing on and kee doing what you love most! Enjoy life and learn from your mistakes!!!
  • + 4
 Broke my wrist second day out on my new Remedy 9, missed six weeks of work and pretty much entire season.
  • + 1
 I really did lose my eyeball! I feel your pain. I was doing yard work with a sledgehammer last spring (no safety glasses) and a piece of shrapnel went through my left eyeball destroying it. Literally my second thought was "can I still mtb and snowboard?"
  • + 3
 Clipped a small 4" tree with a pedal. Stopped me dead. Broke 15 bones in my foot. Then i had to walk out 2 1/2 miles. Surgery and a year of PT and i still cant walk right
  • + 1
 Dang, those surely sound like a lot of good times gone bad Mike. But at least the good times were had prior to the bad and we shouldn't allow the bad times (on and off the bike) to dissuade us from continuing to do them (that includes fingernail trimming).

One thing I think you could have added to the end of your article was in regards to loved ones. Since we don't know when our day will come, it's important to take every opportunity available to tell those close to you how much they mean to you and to be in the moment. So often in our busy lives, we look forward to tomorrow, next week, next month, year, etc. Whenever my wife and I make plans, we say God willng... because you never know if you'll actually be able to see those plans through. Living life like there's no tomorrow is important, but loving others like you'll never see them again is more important in my humble opinion.
  • + 2
 yes. my local spot riden hundred times , back tyre washed , crashed , landed with stupid multitool in my short side pocket resulted in badly torn IT band on my right quad. 6 weeks off my bike.
  • + 1
 The "at least died doing what he/she loves" always strikes me as such a dumb statement. It implies that (a) you are aware while you die, and (b) that you actually give a damn about doing your favorite activity when you realize that you are going off forever.

What a stupid way to die: "Oh, look, I am dying, but it is so great ... I am pedaling"
  • + 3
 I think the statement is meant to imply that there are far worse ways to punch your ticket. Better to go out healthy and riding than dying in a hospital bed, hit by a drunk driver, or any of the other myriad of pathetic and depressing ways to go.
  • + 2
 @b-mack: I guess, but still it feels so superficial, especially in an article in which frankly irresponsible "close calls" are treated so flippantly ...
  • + 3
 Makes me think of how scared roadies are of getting cut by a disc brake... like that's your biggest concern when falling on tarmac a 70+km/h.
  • + 1
 Rode all day in Western NC through Pisgah and Dupont. Did some of the best and gnarliest riding of my life. At the end of the day on a small(ish) table I ended up over the bars and broke my neck (fractured C1). Shit happens in the least predictable ways.
  • + 1
 Most shit that happens is a direct result of poor planning or a miscalculation, whether by yourself or someone else. Then there are the real accidents, lightning strikes you on a clear day, boulder falls on you, tire pops and sends you in a crumpled mess. I always tell my son, life is full of risk, just appreciate the risk beforehand and decide if it is worth is. (And yes, I ride slow and don't crash a lot).
  • + 1
 I started a team ride with 30 high school mtbers last weekend. Nearly 50 degrees and sunny when we started, with "slight chance of scattered showers." By the time we got to the top of the mountain we were in a snow and hail storm, with 30 kids in lycra kits. Abort! Haven't been that numb with cold in ages.
  • + 2
 ...after we finally got the handlebar dislodged from my humorous, we had to burry the three dead strippers so the crazy Tibetan monk would give us our falcon back. Long story short, always bring a patch kit.
  • + 3
 The real question is, when are we going to see @mikelevy heading up tech Tuesday again?
  • + 3
 Highly unlikely. Park Tools' Calvin Jones is way better at it than I am.
  • + 1
 carbon bars. Been riding on them for awhile. Hit a berm at full speed and they snapped. Got a scar on my stomach from them. 1 hour of climbing and the start of the decent was absolute savage.
  • + 3
 Instead of saying 'oh well shit happens' I try to learn something from my own stupid mistakes.
  • + 2
 Its about learning from your mistakes. Or learning how to avoid some seemingly unvoidable situations.
  • + 3
 I dropped my iPhone in the toilet once!
  • - 1
 I appreciate your right to write about anything you want.

But I always read things, on the same note, be it a blog, facebook status or something like this (whatever it is?) and think to myself: Well no shit... Life isn't hunky dorey all the time. Shit does happen. It's a fact of life. We don't need constantly reminding about it. We don't need "insightful" blatherings about how things can go wrong. That is just how life is. You're born. You deal with life. You die.
  • + 1
 Life is crazy you go to the store to get a box of cereal and get run over by the milk truck
  • + 1
 Hahahahaha! Funny read and so true. Amateur! My crashes could rate professional status if i could only get sponsored.
  • + 2
 There was this one time, at band camp...
  • + 1
 Hilarious read, had me spew my beer at the local pub! Made my Friday
  • + 1
 This one time at band camp...
  • + 0
 Ashes to ashes, fine to fubar, we know Major Mike yelled "Akbar!"
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2017. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.068902
Mobile Version of Website