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Cycling weekend: Open roads and 3 mountain bike crashes

What a weekend...temps soared into the 60's both south and east off the mountain, so I made use of it and had a fun-filled cycling weekend...but not without a few bumps on the trail.

Saturday, we rolled at noon with nine riders from the power plant north of Lenoir.  Great day, good friends.    We went 17 miles to the baptist church turnaround, then broke into A and B groups.  I jumped on with the A's and we took a detour on the way back that added about 3 miles of climb and descents.  Fun.

On the route back, we saw a wonderful site...coming at us, over 30 strong, was the ASU cycling team peloton.  Fast and colorful.  One rider shouted, "come with us!"  Maybe 25 years ago, not now.

I love the small town feel of our ride group.  Check out the following email recap from Wayne King, our ride facilitator:

WoW What a Fantastic Saturday ride at Patterson !!!
Steve THE Clymer did it Again!!!
Another GREATLY Planned Ride with Excellent Leadership!!
Steve, Thanks so much!!
Sorry for all you who Could not Make it!!!
The ride was in the upper 50's and Sunny!!
Some rode
A--40+ and some B--33+!!
Nine Riders Participated:
Pace Dog Chuck Hendrix
Tom Mueller the Quick and Lean
Dennis Blair The rolling Machine
Turbo Terry Anderson
Everyready Bunny Dave Domermuth
Steve The Clymer (Ride Leader)
Don the Clothes Changer
Margie's Minutes Mansure
Yours Truley Gummy Bear!
On Sunday, I trucked it over to the Kerr Scott Dam trails by Wilkesboro.  The Overmountain trail was clear with just a few mud spots.  I was a bit too jacked up off the start, feeling invigorated to be back on dirt while listening to Keith Richards new book "Life."  That pace brought three crashes on the day.

Crash 1 = rather spectacular
Crash 2 = rather dangerous
Crash 3 = rather silly

There's one spot on the this ride I don't's a steep dip into a creek bed with sharp uphills on both sides.  Made it across on the way out, but on the way back, no go.  I bunny hopped across the creek but my wet tire spun when it caught traction; in a fit of fear I jammed down a strong pedal stroke and caught so much bite I looped the bike over backwards!  There's 54-year-old master man tumbling backward down the hill, locked in with bike on top.  Actually did a complete somersault with bike.  Where's the video camera when you need it?

Crash 2 was more eventful.  A tree had fallen across the trail and on the way out I dismounted and edged under.  On the way back, I was carrying too much speed on the downhill and there it was...the fallen tree. I tucked down, chest to bars, but it wasn't enough.  My head and left shoulder took a hard simultaneous hit. I bounced back and lay on my side, while a few birdies tweeted in my brain.  That one scared me.  I'm too old for that sort of impact.  Post analysis seems to be sore neck and raspberry on back.  Ouch.

Crash 3 was partially due to oncoming dimwits on the trail...I moved hard right and got past the first oncoming rider, but as I was coming around a left hander a second guy was coming at speed.  You know the dude:  Standing on the pedals, elbows out, aggressive stance over the front fork.  Kind of guy who can brake into a controlled slide, which carries the rear wheel to the outside of the turn.  We had room to clear, but it flustered me and I couldn't get out of the clips and fell over.  More embarrassed than angry - at first.  Two other riders came around me and by that point I was ranting about being run off the trail and that there's a time to slow down.

So there you have it.  That's as much excitement as master competitor can take in two days.  I'm back at the apartment now, getting ready for a hot chocolate social in my residence hall.

The fun never ends.


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You have to look closely (click and enlarge photo if needed), but when you do, check out the 5th metacarpal (bone furthest from thumb).

The diagonal break is symbolic of what happens when your mountain bike handlebars snap around 360 degrees, and those bars catch your hand against the bike frame during the rotation.

Well there you have it. I got up after my ride over the bars and knew something was wrong, but didn't want to admit it. Rode about three miles back to the car, then went a week with some ice and heat. Thought it was good, until I smacked the same bone on the bars during a road ride the following weekend.

Time to stop the charades and get to urgent care.

For the past three weeks, I have been in a formed splint that kept the pinkie and ring fingers immobilized in a hooked formation. Don't want those tendons to move across the bone. As the doc stated, it's a "forgiving" break, but nonetheless you don't want to give the bone any excuse to shift; that…