Saturday, September 24, 2011

Driggs, ID Day 9. Mahogany Creek.

For the last day of riding, Jeff and I went up to Mahogany Creek. It's basically at the same trail head as the Horseshoe Loops we did a couple of days earlier, but we rode south instead of north.
It has an almost 1400 foot climb in a little less than 5 miles. The local TVTAP (Teton Valley Trail and Pathways) Crew and USFS have combined to make a really nice switchbacked trail to avoid the old fall line trail. We had a nice climb to the top with a final short hike a bike. Most of these pics are Jeff's, thanks for letting me use them, bud.

Steep creek crossing.

We got to the top and regrouped.

The book said there was a steep down hill coming up that can be loose and dry and advanced riders will like it but intermediate riders might want to walk it...well, I headed on down. The HiFi seemed out matched for the conditions, but I had the chance to brake hard a few times and kept my speed under control. It was all of loose and dry, baseball, softball and bowling ball sized loose rocks littered the trail. Dirt motorcycles use the trail as well as horses and it was pretty tore up. Near the bottom I spotted the left turn we needed to take...that glance off the trail is all it took, my bike slide out from under me and I went down and started sliding down the trail on my right side....17 stitches worth of sliding.

By the time I got myself back up and somewhat checked myself out, Jeff started down. He only went a short distance (rigid frame) and decided better than trying to ride down. By the time he got to where I was and saw the blood, my inventory revealed I would need stitches and without a lot of kibitzing, we took off. Luckily, the rest was 99% downhill, but we were still 5 miles from the parking lot.
We met hikers, runners and trail workers coming up the trail, not to mention the horse pack train bringing up the tools. The old boy wanted to mention the blood running down my arm, I could see him looking at it, but he just tipped his cap and asked how it was going. I said I had a little spill...he said riding those things it probably wasn't my first time, I could only chuckle in agreement.

About a mile from the end we had a short, steep uphill and maybe it was the adrenaline or maybe the bike got messed up some in the crash as it was the right side, where the shifting takes place, but in any case, on a hard pump the chain broke. Jeff was right on it and broke the link while I found a quick link and we were on our way in a couple minutes. Riding through the creek bottom was fun, but I had to hang way left as the tall, close vegetation was rather painful slapping at the flap of meat hanging from my arm. Besides a lot of the Teton Valley, they dug out blades of grass from the wound.
We got back to the TH and as we had dropped off my motorcycle as the shuttle vehicle, Jeff decided to ride the 10 road miles back to his Element, so I could load up and bike the 10-15 miles to the hospital asap. After trying to call Lynn to meet me, I took off. The people with the horses, from Iowa, told us there was a hospital in Driggs.
When I rolled in the EMT's wanted to know if I had a camera...they took the pics above. The PA that was in charge and the EMT's seemed to be somewhat impressed with BOB. Chris and John, the EMT's and Lis, the Physicians Assistant, were really great. It was fun spending the afternoon with them even if it was under these conditions.
John is mtn biker and knew right where I crashed. He spent an hour or so squirting saline solution into the cut and talked to me about his move from the New York City area to ID and some of his rock climbing experiences.
Lis was really open and fun. She and her husband have 2 boys (we have 3), raise bees and she xc skis and had been to Norway to ski the actual official, Birkebeiner using the traditional (stride method) at 54k.  I've done the American Birkie, 7 times, I think, 52k, using the skating method. Lis skates, as well. She also climbs.
When she was checking out my arm she had me squeeze her fingers to see if I had any tendon damage and she noticed the end of my little finger was missing...that got us into a discussion about canoeing and come to find out as a 19 year old she canoed one of the same river we've done, the Missinaibi in Ontario that dumps into Jame Bay.
I guess she might have been letting me jabber on about all this, to keep my mind occupied as she cleaned and then sutured the wound, but I got the feeling she enjoyed the conversation, as well. The next morning I had to come in to the clinic and she was there, as well. (did she ever go home?) So we got to continue the conversation. The nurse that prepped me at the clinic gave a glowing report on Lis, but Lynn and I really didn't need it to see she really enjoyed her profession and was excellent at her work.
Lynn was great as well all through this....she's getting quite used to it, I guess.
I have to say, the pain was never all that bad. It happen so fast on the trail and it numbed up quick so that was not an issue. Having it whipped by the vegetation along the trail felt like bee stings, but I've been through all that before. In the hour or so it took to finish the bike and motorcycle ride and get to the hospital it was starting to tingle some. When I got the hospital, knowing how the cleaning can be somewhat painful from the crash in PA 4 years ago, they hooked me up to an IV and shot in some pain killer and of course Lis did some localized pain control with a long needle (I really didn't look at it) at the wound.
All and all, the afternoon was good time, something we'd never had experienced without the crash. What do they say, when you're handed lemons make lemonade?

Heading out from the trail head.

Jeff, bear bells and all, following me out on the rough wash-boarded dirt road.

 4 years ago in PA...same arm, more stitches, same type of accident. Jeff was there for this one, too.
click on to enlarge!!!
After an OTB incident 5 years ago during a race at Blue Mounds park, WI. Another rocky trail. Dislocated, not broken.

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