|10-25-2008, 04:50 AM||#1|
Ambitious but rubbish
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Brighton, UK
The Timber Woods Long Distance Trial, and associated tribulations
For those who haven't discovered them, Long Distance Trials (or LDTs) are trail rides with observed trials sections scattered along the course. Following on from my success (or at least non-disaster) in the Swindonian in May, I was keen to have a go at the Timber Woods LDT which is run by the Sidcup & District Motor Cycle Club in July and attracts 100+ riders on enduro, trail and trials bikes, both modern and pre-1967.
On the morning the weather was looking good, and I packed the van and set off to the start site a couple of hours away at the Kent Gliding Club. Once there, I quickly got my kit sorted, signed on and picked up my competition number. Lucky 57.
As ever there was a complete mix of different types of bike. Lots of orange enduro bikes, but plenty of more exotic examples too:
Met up with Roger - my guide, all round helpful person and eventual saviour (but more of that later). Check out the bacon-box roadbook holder in the foreground!
Quickly through scrutineering to check that we're basically road legal and not a danger to anyone apart from ourselves, and we we're off.
A couple of miles of gentle lanes found us arriving at the first section which was a bit of a rude awakenling. Tight turns through trees, a couple of ditches and some mud soon showed up the first-section nerves. I paddled through for a score of 3 - hardly elegant, but not as bad as it might have been.
The going between sections was pretty good. Some great lanes, with not too many of the hideous ruts that are often a feature of "green lanes". I know that they are just something that needs to be overcome, but they feel like my personal Kryptonite sucking me in until I almost grind to a halt. I had resolved not to let them bother me too much today, and just ride them. I know it's possible because I've seen other people do it.
Sections two and three went well for me, and I cleaned them both. Sadly my photography wasn't quite as good. This is my best action shot . . .
Then onto a longer linking section to the next trials section. Things were going well and everything was coming together nicely. No rush, so we stopped for a quick break and a chat before setting off again.
By this time I was beginning to get delusions of adequacy, and that is obviously where everything starts to go wrong. It was only a farm track, and I can't have been doing more than about 20mph. There were ruts, but I was dealing with them OK. Then all of a sudden I wasn't.
I lost the front end and went down fairly hard. It didn't seem like a major off, but something seemed to be quite wrong with my left knee. Fuck. This is going to be a nuisance. Oh, and it hurts too. Grasping at straws I wondered whether I might have just tweaked it. Maybe if I just lie here for a few minutes and collect my wits I'll be able to carry on. Doesn't feel so bad now, so I'll try standing up with some help from my friends (including Alan who did a stoppie to avoid running me over when I came off!). Nope. That's definitely the end of my day. Can you call an ambulance please?
No problem, but we're about half a mile from the nearest tarmac. No ambulance is going to get to me, unless we get the helicopter out which seems a little extreme. A rather challenging pillion ride on a KTM 250 got me too the road without too much drama (thanks Alistair) but it's not something I'd particularly recommend.
I had a bit of a lie down on the grass verge and talked gibberish to Alan who had stayed behind to make sure the ambulance found me. They came pretty quickly as they had already been called to another rider who had been taken ill. They hadn't needed to take him to hospital which was good for him, and were lurking in the vicinity which was good for me.
Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the pilion ride, but knowing that I'd need to write this up I got the paramedic to take a photo of me in the ambulance. It's a bit blurry, but is a pretty accurate representation of how I felt. I did consider pulling an ADVrider salute, but really didn't need any misunderstandings at this point!
Then it just gets boring. Wheeled into the Accident and Emergency unit at the hospital in Ashford and dumped in the waiting room for about four hours. It was a busy Sunday afternoon, with most of the reported injuries apparently acohol induced the night before. Oh, and one man who had been attacked with an axe. I briefly wondered whether I ought to put my body armour back on.
Finally into X-ray, and apparently I have a tibial plateau fracture. Imagine my delight when I discover that this means I need surgery. I swiftly hatch a plan to get out of Ashford and back to Brighton where there is a hospital close to home. I really don't want to get stuck in this hospital.
Oh, and having been there for about six hours a nurse asks if I'd like some pain relief. And some food. The morphine was much better than the sandwich.
A quick phone call later and Roger has offered to come and get me in my van and take me to Brighton, while Alistair drives their van back. Oh, and the excellent organising people have already retrieved my bike in the meatime and loaded it into my van. Thanks!
Then there's the, erm, interesting phone call to my wonderful wife who loves me but hates bikes. She's not entirely impressed.
A quick stop at my house to pick up an overnight bag. Good to see it's just the one bag that has been packed for and not everything I own. Then off to the hospital for more waiting, prodding, jabbing and eventually a bed. Roger puts my bike in his garage for safe keeping (after all, I didn't want to find it had been on Ebay while I was inside).
Then things just get more boring. Surgery was fine. Got out of hospital after a few days when they decided that they wanted the bed more than I did. One good thing was that I didn't need a plaster cast, just a natty knee brace which I knew would help my rehab time.
It put a bit of a crimp in my plans for the summer, but hey, it's only a broken leg. I had booked a trip to Baja with Tim Morton, with a vague notion of entering the Baja 500 next year. That's right off the radar now but I'm really pleased that I broke myself here instead of out there.
Looking after the kids meant calling in lots of favours, and camping trips had to be put on hold. They did enjoy playing tag with me in the wheelchair though. Mostly because I couldn't catch them.
Going shopping in a wheelchair was a bit of an eye opener. I have to confess that I quite enjoyed it, but I know the novelty would wear off really quickly. Really made me respect the fortitude of DaleB and others like him.
Three months on, it's healed well and I ditched the leg brace yeaterday. I'm now allowed to try to walk without crutches, but it's going to be a good few more weeks yet before I'm fully fit.
Got a nice souvenir though:
Oh and here's the metalwork:
Not sure what my riding plans are now, but there's probably a WR250F for sale. I think I'll keep the trials bike though and see how things go.
Armchair racing in 2012 with Neduro
|01-12-2009, 01:09 PM||#3|
love what you do
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: New Hampshah
Crap, John. Sorry to hear about this! Bummer that you missed your trip with Tim Morton, too. They sound epic.
Heal up well!
Nate in N.E.
Yes, I have a Dakar problem -- that there are 50 weeks of the year without Dakar!
They don't expect you to finish. That's why it's the Dakar. -- PPiA
Get your sweet Pyndon DakARTwork here
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