SO, today was a first for me… first face-plant into a tree.

I was at Herb Parson’s Lake, JRA (at a modest to high rate of speed), when I went through one of the little dips in the trail (someplace after the long, wobbly, narrow bridge) where the trail splits around the tree. In the dip, there were a couple of branches laying in the middle of the trail parallel to the direction of travel. I managed to roll my front wheel over one. I don’t know how exactly I got from front wheel slipping to tree-kissing, but all I could do when I came to a stop was wrap my arms around the tree and hug it for a few seconds while the waves of face-pain were coming on. Somehow, my ergon grip & bar end were popped off the end of my bar & flew down the trail (I actually saw them out of my peripheral vision skipping down the trail as I hit, because I remember wondering if the object I was watching was one of my teeth).
I managed to sit down next to the trail and try to figure out what to do next. I thought about trying to ride in slowly, but then I noticed that I was bleeding. I didn’t know where I was bleeding from- my nose, teeth, and lips were all equally in pain. That’s when I snapped this trailside photo with my phone. I was trying to figure out where the blood was coming from…


I couldn’t see the picture very well on my phone, so I tried calling Eric (who I’d been riding with before his crank bolt fell out), and he didn’t answer. I looked across the lake, and there were people on a pontoon boat not too far from me. Since I didn’t know the condition of my handlebars (which had been twisted around on the steertube) and didn’t feel like I was mentally capable of assessing them, I went over to the bank & called the people over. It was a boat full of elderly individuals. They were nice, and were happy to give me a ride back to the parking lot across the lake, but when Captain Gramps gunned the motor, it stalled. He kept trying to re-start it, and it wasn’t working. The wind picked up and started to blow the boat in the opposite direction than where we needed to go. For some reason, at that point, I started laughing at the absurdity of the situation. The old people thought I was crazy, and one woman told me that she didn’t think it was very funny.
Somehow, Gramps got the motor fired back up (it died two more times before we made it across the lake). When I got to the bank, I got to meet Steve from MSTA. He was out preparing to fix areas much like the one that I wrecked in, and was obviously wondering WTF a person with a MTB was doing getting out of a pontoon boat full of people that looked like they were on vacation from a retirement home. He and the park ranger made sure I was alright and directed me into the bait-shop place to get cleaned up and get a bag of ice (thanks, guys!)

I was happy to see that it wasn’t my nose that was bleeding (I was worried that I’d broken it). Most of the damage was to the inside of my upper lip (it’s swollen up big time now). I also have a tooth that’s hurting and feeling like it’s slightly out of place (going to the dentist on Monday). Otherwise, everything’s ok. A couple of beers at Flying Saucer made it feel a little better. I’m still racing this weekend (Crude XC in Fayettville).

I don’t know how I’m going to feel once I get back on the bike. I got my bell rung pretty hard this time, but, as always, it could have been worse.


Update… teeth seem to be ok, though one of them is a little chipped and another is still a bit loose. My face is healing well, though my septum piercing is a little crooked now, so I’m guessing my nose broke a little. I took an artsy photo in the garage before I washed my gloves:


6 thoughts on “Owwwwwwwww

  1. Damn trees, when will they learn to get out of our way? Good luck this weekend in Fayettville. Glad you’re okay.

  2. I’m so sorry you had this crash but reading your story was the best! You write so well….I got a good laugh…sorry it was at the expense of a friend’s pain.

  3. I’ve lost count of how many trees I’ve hit over the years but it beats crashing on pavement.

    You should come down to Oxford and ride on a real trail. We’ve extended Clear Creek to 13 miles now. It rocks!

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