Oh, the perils of mountain biking

Yesterday, I read a post by Joan about her lumbar spine and it inspired me to write about my injury. I fell off my mountain bike this summer and have been recovering. I have a shoulder and neck injury which results in my attendance at physical therapy.

Recently I was downhill mountain biking and was feeling really good about my flow. I was in the moment. Those runs are one of my favorite reasons to mountain bike. I was clearing all the jumps and picking up speed. Yes, I’m finally getting faster.

My favorite part about jumps is the feeling you get in midair. The world gets quiet. I’m floating and feel weightless as I soar through the air like a bird. Then my tires hit the ground, sound returns, and I focus on the trail in front of me.

I was on the third jump. I felt weightless and free. Then the next thing I knew, my front tire was underneath my body and my legs were behind me. I couldn’t center myself in time and started to fall. Luckily, I was able to steer my bike away from a tree and instead slid down the trail. Let me tell you: It’s a strange sensation to have your face on the ground while watching dirt slide underneath you. I love my full face helmet.

As I laid on the ground, I made sure I could wiggle my finger and toes before trying to sit up. Anytime I’ve fallen in sports like this, I always take a second to asses my body before moving. Then, I checked my bike to make sure the essentials were still in working order. Check.

Some people on the trail rushed to my aid to make sure I was okay. I said I was fine several times before they moved on. It was nice to have strangers be so concerned for my well being. Especially since I was on the trail alone.

I was not about to have bike patrol take me down the mountain. I felt okay and made my way down after my heart stopped racing. I worked through the pain in my shoulders and neck to make the last two turns on the trail. It was only 1 p.m. and I realized that I was done biking for the day. This was the third crappy thing to happen to me that day. I made my way back to the truck. I probably should have read the signs and stayed home.

Once my adrenaline wore off, I realized I couldn’t carry anything with my left hand. It hurt too much. I also realized that my jersey was torn at the elbow. Even though I was in pain, I was thankful that my jersey and elbow pads protected my skin. I made an appointment with my doctor.

I was smiling because my jersey and elbow pads were torn instead of my skin.

I didn’t realize that my last day of biking  this summer would be that day. My summer was cut short. I’m in too much pain to bike, so I put the bike away one month early. My neck and shoulders continue to hurt. But I have seven months until snow disappears from the trails, so I have time.

I have to remind my coworkers and boss that if I have “bitch face,” it’s because I’m in pain. I asked them to remind me to smile if I look too angry. They’re being really nice about it. I try not to let my neck and shoulder pain ruin my day.

I work on my exercises at home and see my doctor. It’s a work in progress. I can’t wait until I’m allowed to do headstands again. I’m counting down the days until I’m on my bike again. So I do my exercises and try to get better.

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  • Joan

    I’m sorry about your accident. I’m sure you will heal quickly with physical therapy and time off to rest. Impatience seems to be my downfall every time I get injured but I’m learning to wait. Thank you for the shout out. I enjoyed reading about your mountain biking experience. 🙂

    • Laurel

      Thanks! & Yes, patience is one of the hardest parts about recovering from an injury.

  • cyndilenz

    Boy I’m so sorry this had to happen to you. You’ll get better!

  • Christina

    Get better soon! I’m sure when you have a goal in mind, it makes it easier to do the necessary rehabilitation exercises.

  • yvonnekli

    Hi Laurel,
    Sorry to hear about your accident – get better soon! I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a blogger recognition award and if you’re interested in participating in this online community exercising activity, I’ve included the link to my blog:

    Anyway, have a great Monday.