8 Days to go
I woke up to the alarm sounding this morning at 6:30am and although I wanted to get out early so that I could get back home and enjoy the day with my family I hit the snooze button. For around 30 minutes I lay there trying to motivate myself to get out of bed. I succumbed to the alarm re-sounding every 10 minutes and rolled over to turn it off. Whilst rolling over I felt a pinch in my neck and a shooting pain. Great, I had just pulled a muscle in my neck and was now going for a bike ride, what else could go wrong!!
I drove to Makara Mountain Bike Park. An awesome Mountain bike park that has been built by volunteers and local supporters. There are some amazing tracks and the view once you get 412 metres above see level on the top of Makara Peak is sensational. I was planning to take my normal route all the way to the top which includes a lot of undulating tracks, some downhill and then a technical climb. I got the bike out of the car and started to get ready. It was weird going back on the Mountain bike but I was looking forward to it. I only packed a small bag that had a little bit of food in it, my wallet, car keys and phone. Normally when I do this ride I am preparing for an adventure race and carry a full pack but not today. I put on my bike shoes, locked the car and jumped on the bike. Instantly I remembered the pleasure of riding a full suspension bike with 3 chain rings at the front. Very different to my road bike. I started on the track up to the top and realised that I had left my bike gloves in the car. Not good as if I was to come off I would chew up my hands (based on previous experience) so would have to be careful.
I was riding along and could not believe how fast I was climbing my way to the top. When I first started doing this ride, it took over 1.5 hours to get to the top. When I was training for my adventure race in April, it had taken me just on an hour. I was moving quickly and before I knew it I was 3/4 of the way to the top within 31 minutes. I had the technical climb to go which would take no more than 15-20 minutes so was anticipating reaching the top in 45 minutes!! I continued on the technical part of the track and made it to the top. As I reached the top I saw they had completed some renovations at the top so that you can ride right up to the lookout. I reached the top in 47 minutes. A new record that showed my bike fitness has improved dramatically and also showed that on the right equipment, record times were possible. I sat down to admire the view and pulled out some slice from my bag. I wanted to do a short run after the ride and was feeling so good that I packed up the slice and decided to get down straight away, do my short run and be home ASAP.
I would be taking a track I found only last year down to the bottom. It was not extremely technical but it was good fun as it swept back and forth down the mountain and gave you a good ride down. I was feeling very comfortable as I made my way down being careful on some of the more technical sections. The importance of picking your lines cannot be stressed enough on a Mountain Bike. You are always setting up for the current corner and the corner in front ensuring that you are in the right position through the apex. I was nearing the end of the track and coming into a flat section. Ahead I could see that the track narrowed and fell away to the left into some trees. I was staying right but a rock knocked me off line. I was traveling at around 14km an hour on rocky terrain when I felt my front wheel fall off the track on the left and slingshot me forward straight onto the ground...I had crashed!!!
I was lying on the ground in shock and at first nothing seemed to hurt. Then the pain started returning to my knee, hand and elbow. I was screaming out loud, "No, No No. Not a week before my race". I got up and assessed the damage. Yes the bike was fine. I looked down at my knee and it was badly grazed and cut but no other damage had taken place. I looked at the palm of my right hand. It was badly cut and grazed and stinging like nothing else. My right forearm was also very sore but I was able to move everything so nothing was broken. I could see a small hole in my arm warmer which pissed me off as I had owned these arm warmers for ages and I loved them. I decided to look at my arm when I got down to the bottom. I uncomfortably rode the last 3 minutes of the ride cautiously holding the handlebar in my right hand due to the chunks of skin that were hanging off. I make it down to the bottom and get off the bike. I take stock of what has just happened but am feeling okay. I contemplated going for a run but decide to have a look at my arm first. I pull back the arm warmer and too my shock I see that a rock has dug into my arm removing a large chunk and I can see muscle. I take another look to assess how bad it is and decide that the run is off and I will need to head to hospital for some stitches. All I can think about is, will it have healed in a week and what will wifey say?
I pack the bike away and jump in the car. I call Victoria's mobile and no answer. I call home and she answers.
"Good morning I say. Have you had a shower yet?"
"No," she answers.
"Can you please have one?"
"Because I have had a crash and I think I need you to take me to hospital".
"I will be home in 15 minutes and I will see you then".
I drive home and when I get there I quickly pack the bike away and head up to see her. She asks how I am and for me to show her my arm. I show her and it disgusts her. I jump in the shower and wash the dried blood away from my body. I pull out my loofah brush and put some soap on it and begin scrubbing my knees to remove any dirt. The pain is excruciating but it has to be done. I do the same on my hand it hurts even more. I scrub my elbow however I am careful to not touch the deep chunk that is missing. I wash it out with water and it looks deeper than first thought. I get out of the shower, fill up the sink with some warm water and add some Dettol. I then get a cotton pad and begin to soak my knee, hand and elbow in Dettol. It stings but it is not too bad. I quickly get dressed and then we are in the car on the way to Accident and Emergency centre.
We arrive and I walk in and speak to reception. There are not many people there which hopefully means that the wait will not be long. We have decided to come here rather than the hospital where I know the wait will be a long one. I ask the receptionist if they do stitching here. She looks at me and asks what I mean and I show her my arm. She gives me a form to fill in and tells me to take a seat. I am seen by the nurse fairly quickly and she asks me what happened. I tell her that I have come off my Mountain bike and grazed my knee, hand and there is a gash missing from my arm. She takes a look and asks when I last had a tetanus injection. I don't recall and she tells me that she will have to give me one. I am given the injection and then take a seat whilst I wait for the Doctor to see me.
My name is called a short time later and I go and see the Doctor. Again he asks what has happened and I explain to him. He takes a looks at my arm and says that he thinks he may have to cut the flap of skin off and stitch my arm or potentially use the flap of skin to fill the hole. I explain that I would prefer the flap of skin to be used as in the shower it looked quite thick. We decide that under anesthetic we will take a look and decide the best way forward. I explain to him that no matter what I need the best option that will promote healing as in a week I have a Half Ironman. We go into another room and I am laid down. I am given an anesthetic shot straight in the gash and soon the wound is numb. After a bit of cleaning and cutting of dead skin, the doctor decides to use the flap to help heal the wound. He sews up one half of the gash with two stitches and decides to put steri strips on the other side. He does not want to put too many stitches in the wound as he does not want the flap to die. The wound is covered with a sterile bandage and sterile bandages are put on my knee and hand. I am given a course of antibiotics to take for the next week and sent home.
I get home and the pain is bearable. My right arm from the Tetanus shot is starting to ache a little and my right hand is killing me. I chill out for a little before having some lunch and relaxing for the rest of the afternoon. I am hoping to go for a run tomorrow at some point but will have to wait and see how I am feeling. I can only hope now that the dressings do their job and my wounds heal in time for next week. Only time will tell...
Below is a picture of my injuries and a link to the ride this morning at Makara Peak.
Makara Ride by IronmanBarefoot at Garmin Connect - Details