So on this day, I'll give a shout out to a Giant Anthem test bike, Rocky Knob mountain bike park, and a blown shoulder that became a game-changer in master man's endurance sport life.
I was coming off a somewhat similar summer, tons of travel and time away from Appalachian State University. Upon my arrival back, I was looking forward to aggressive mountain bike adventures, as my pace had quickened...of course, there was only one logical next step, which was to get off my Cobia hardtail and step up to a full suspension 29er.
The seller on Craig's List said he'd meet me at the park; I took several cautious loops around the parking lot, then headed onto the access trail. Barley a minute in, those hair trigger hydraulic discs got the best of me and locked up both tires. By the time I reacted, it was too late and I was pitched onto a rock pile. I took the brunt of impact into my shoulder and pop! Instant knowledge that something snapped and came apart.
Wish it was a broken collarbone - I had one of those from road cycling in the early 1990's and despite a ton of pain, they heal well. A grade 3 separation is much different. I now have a floating collarbone that isn't truly attached to the shoulder blade. I'm investigating repair procedures, but there are no guarantees that the outcome will put me in a better place.
I crashed, got hurt, and there are consequences. Some days I want to pout about it, but at other times I settle back and understand that we put ourselves out there most every day and over time, *%## will happen.
As we age, injuries don't truly "heal." Rather, we receive back a percentage of what we used to be. It's another facet of the master competitor life. The dimensions get complicated, but we can either embrace what we have left or pack our gear bag and head home for good. I plan to hang on as long as possible.