Yesterday me and the bamarides crew of about 15 or so riders decided to raise hell in the sloppy rain-soaked dirt (read: mud mud mud) and make a video event out of it. The day was filled with chills, thrills, spills and yes....broken bones. What other way to sum it up with one word other than EPIC?
Most of these guys I had never personally met. Sure I had known them for years via an online forum but as far as meeting and riding with them, not so much. The original date for this event was supposed to be last weekend but heavy rains threw it out for most people. With heavy rains again during the following week it was for sure going to make for an interesting Saturday. The trails were a mix of genuine Southern red clay powerlines that were deceptively tacky in areas you wouldn't expect yet slimey in area that looked dry, old gravel-laden railroad beds, deep rocky creek crossings and swamp-like trails from the recent floodings. Temps started out in the mid to upper 40's and I think got in the upper 50's by noon or so. Clear blue skies. A perfect beginning to an epic day. Or so we thought (more on that later).
For me the day started like others. Anxiously awake well before the alarm clock was even thinking of going off. Like the few minutes before you know your virginity is going to end and manhood begin. That kind of anxious. I was giddy as a school girl. The bike was all ready and fueld up from the night before. Cameras were charged and backpack was packed. I head out on Hwy 17 to meet Mark, a friend of mine I've ridden with before who is also a bamarides member. He was carrying his Husky TE610 in the back of the truck and was kind enough to give me and my bike a ride towards north. I didn't feel confident trying to make the trip up there on my already deminished crappy stock Metz Six Days Extreme rear that had seen much better days. So thankfully Mark helped me get in on the fun. The ride in the truck was pretty uneventful, except we found out our past lives had more in common than we thought lol. I'll leave it at that. We arrive at the Waffle House to meet up with the rest of the gang around 9:15 or so. We were on schedule to have KSU at 10am.
Thankfully there was little pavement involved or planned in this ride. The beginning of this adventure started with pavement for about 5 minutes and the rest was pure dirt (read: mud mud mud) bliss. Immediately off the road we turned onto the trail. It was a short but fun flowing switchback of loose straw, mud, wet roots and small burms that were fun to catch the lip on and try to set up the next series of switchbacks. After a bit we came out onto a huge powerline that ran for what seemed forever. It was eroded with lots of criss-crossing ruts and loose packed soil sitting on bedrock and of course the famous red clay. After playing on some of the powerline hill climbs we heading back into the bush. It was littered with mud puddle after mud puddle. Each one getting bigger and deeper it seemed.
Still in the woods, we take a break. Some of laughing at how drinched we are. Others are laughing that we decided to stop on apparently the worlds largest depository of rusty 4" nails. There most of been more nails than dirt. Fearing we'd all be doomed with flats, excpet those running new-fangled tubeless technology, some of us opted to walk our bikes past the nails and then head out on the trail again. The woods were getting pretty dense with pine and as I came around a bend I saw half of the group stopped along a huge deep mud bog. Except for the "big" guy Don/Video Yeti/Dredman and his new-to-him $500 RM 250 (bought the morning of the ride from another bamarides member). He was standing towards the end, but in the middle. Yup that poor RM got one hell of a bath as well as the pilot. Poor Don was soaked and it was still cool in the morning. After changing the spark plug and reminiscing off how funny it was we headed back onto the trail.
Lots of good stuff. A get-off by me for bogging out (need that 50 tooth sprocket in the worst of ways), watching a guy kick start a bike a zillion times while I feel guilty of pressing the magic button ( not! ), railroad bed railing but then we came upon this awesome big hill climb that had the perfect ruts and dirt on it to just let 'er rip and bounce around. Of course these videos never do the hills or area any justice. It was a blast and we played there for a while everyone getting turns roosting up the hill.
Later we got back out on the powerlines playing in more big rutted hils, but not before nearly vomiting in my helmet from the smell of rotting deer carcasses and the stinch of swamp water. It was then that I would have a dirt nap while breaking an important rule. ALWAYS LOOK WHERE YOU WANT YOUR BIKE TO GO. Basically I made the bone-headed mistake of not paying attenting during a decent little hill. I had already got past the rutted "technical" section near the middle of the climb and was on my way to home base when all the sudden something caught my peripheral. It was one of the members chilling off the side of the hill grabbing some nice video footage. I had looked back while going a decent click on the section and then BAM. I thought I shattered my knee at first. It felt like a sledge hammer. I can't help but think of that dude in the movie Misery when that crazy lady bashes his ankles. Mine felt like that from the bike slamming to a stop on top of my leg. Thankfully nothing was hurt except for my pride. It was a bonified bone0headed mistake. Big Don came down to pick my bike up while I tried to regather myself and do a quick body check. He then made a comment to "shake it off" and "It's football gawd dammit" to coach me back up.
Unfortunately for Don his fate was about to take a turn for the worse. About 10 minutes after my get-off we're running on down the powerlines. Half of us are out front traveling at a brisker pace than the other half. We get to a top flat section and wait on the rest of the crew. Time goes on and we start to worry a little. Then we see one of the crew come up and tell us Don is down...and his leg is broke pretty bad. We turn around and haul butt back to assist Don. We pull up and the big guy who once joked with me and picked my bike up is now down on the ground in serious pain and his bike resting off the trail.
Basically from what Don can remember is that the frontend washed on him traveling about 25 mph or so. His right leg somehow getting caught up in the mess. Broke both his tib and fib, So here were are out in the middle of nowhere (to me anyways) and we have to figure out how to get a man the size of a Yeti out of the woods, without causing him any more pain than we have to. Thankfully we have a guy on the crew that was riding a Grizzly 350. So we at least had some of of transportation to get him to civilization and from there we could get a truck to get to the hostpital. First we had to come up with a stint. Being in the woods its not like you have a Walgreen's nearby. We all tried to keep out wits about us, while also being instructed by cool-head Don (of all people), and we began to look around for anything we could use to make a stint to immobilize his leg. Don was wearing riding boots so at least we had something somewhat sturdy to use as a base, plus it was holding his flopping foot together. After a few mnutes some come back with tree branches and scrap small lumber pieces. After a little bit of brainstorming and the use of man's best tool seocnd only to duct tape, the zip tie, we came up with this....
You know you're jealous. 'Cause that right there is freaking badass! In all seriousness it could of been a lot worse. I'm just glad we weren't too far from civilization at this point during the day and we had a 4wheeler. I have no idea how we would of been able to get him out of there, or get him help, if it had happened deeper in the woods at a more remote area. He does seem to be in better spirits now and liking that button to make the pain dull down.
In the end despite some bad luck, it WAS an EPIC day. It just sucked that Don got hurt but it happens. Best of luck in a speedy recovery big guy!