Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Wow What a Ride!

Big Bear Valley Hospital - Sat. Apr. 16, 2016
Today I find myself with some unplanned free time as I rest in bed with two icepacks on both shoulders and an ample supply of Tylenol on the nightstand. During the last 14 years of mountain climbing adventures on the highest peaks around the globe, I have been blessed with the good fortune of always returning without serious injury or broken bones.

And now this past Saturday, exactly 4 weeks after I injured my left shoulder in a skiing accident, I was mountain biking in Big Bear and had a near run in with a truck, leaving me with a serious injury to my right shoulder! To be exact it was a complete fracture of my right clavicle. As a bonus I bruised my ribs, hyper-extended my left thumb, and lacerated my thigh.

The truck was coming uphill (on a fire road closed to vehicles nonetheless) while I was descending and rounding a corner. I reacted with excess vigor in applying my new hydraulic disc brakes, locked my front wheel in a classic rookie move, and went over the handlebars and into the dirt hard. 

Denise caught up to me after I collected myself from the impact, and I asked her to do something a husband shouldn't have to ask of his wife. Thinking my right shoulder was dislocated since it wouldn't move properly, I asked her; "Hold my arm steady while I pull hard and try to get the shoulder back into the socket." It didn't fix the problem but the ER doctor later told me after examining the x-rays, that I probably helped field set the bone into a better position.
It was a long and painful 7-mile ride out to the trailhead but it gave me time to reflect and come to the following conclusion:

Even though we are bound to encounter unexpected setbacks in life, it's worth a certain amount of risk to pursue your dreams and those things you love to do.

I love mountain biking and so did my friend Doug Fletcher, to whom I am dedicating this blog post. Doug passed away last month at the age of 83 after living an enthusiastically full, active, and purposeful life. His wife Mary sent me this quote which truly personifies Doug's life ...and after my recent skiing and mountain biking injuries, I think I'll adopt it too!  

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow What a Ride!'"