I don’t know any mountain bikers that haven’t gone over the bars or crashed out pretty hard, after all its a part of progression and living the mountain bike life. the key to not letting it get you down is to have the focus and foresight to get back on the steed when you hit the dirt. Sometimes this is within minutes, other times it may be months of recovery and physio….
It was a regular day out at Hiddenvale Adventure Park and a bunch of us headed out for a spin on the trails looking to hit some berms, send some drops and catch up with our mates. The morning had gone well and half the lads bailed a little early due to life getting in the way of mountain biking (I hate that), leaving me and my best mate to hit a few more trails and send the gap jump on ‘treedom’.
Everything was going fine until about an hour later when we were heading down ‘treedom’ and I hit the gap jump over a tree branch, no problems. When my mate caught up to me I asked him to take a video of me hitting the jump on my phone, so I headed up the trail and came straight back down again. Hitting the jump no dramas I asked him how the footage was and he said he hit the wrong button and there was no footage. Take three, same result. Okay we’ll have one more go and see if we can get the footage and then we can head off…..
This is the moment it all went wrong…
I headed down the trail again at full speed and this time I tried a little whip over the tree branch……and that’s the moment I realised I’d screwed up. Slipping a pedal on takeoff led to me not boosting enough, not getting enough air and the back wheel didn’t clear the tree branch. The end result was a great action shot of me going over the bars and landing damn hard. The five kilometre walk out was not fun….
An hour-long drive to the nearest hospital didn’t help the issue but after being seen rather quickly and some pain relief; a diagnosis was made. Grade 5 rupture and dislocation of my AC joint requiring surgical internal fixation.
The road to recovery
Unlike breaking a your collarbone or radius, damaging a shoulder takes a great deal of time to heal. Every ligament in my shoulder was ruptured, muscles were ripped off bone and my collarbone had buttonholed through a muscle. The damage was extensive and surgery was the only choice; open surgery with the addition of some metal work to my shoulder was recommended by the orthopaedic surgeon. Surgery and six weeks in a sling was no fun and 4 months down the track I am now back on the bike, but what a long four months. Physio daily with supervised physio weekly and significant restrictions on what I could and could not do was the order for the recovery period.
It may still be a few months until I am back to 100% and maybe a bit longer before I am at the race speed I was late last year before the injury, but the main thing is that I am back on the bike. No matter what life throws at you, you should never turn away from something you love just because you got hurt. If the horse bucks, get straight back on it; if the dirt takes its toll on you, just dust it off and get back on the bike. After all, we only live once….