Three of us from the CSU team headed up to the mountains to get some final high mountain singletrack before the trails get covered with snow for the winter. Man Pup was our driver, he earned that nickname because on the bike he has man strength, and off the bike he has the energy of a puppy. After a little over an hour of enjoying the fine singletrack we get to a jump. Man Pup does a quick inspection before taking care of business. I set up to take a picture, and Man Pup heads back up the trail, his final words were, “I’ll get more air this time!”
Sure enough he does, except it turned out to be a tad too much, and gravity is pulling him in a direction he does not want to go. The bike and boy pass my left shoulder in a blur as I hear “oh shit” shouted, all is good, there is a tree firmly planted in the ground to break his fall. In the above picture I’m not sure if Man Pup has realized that he has royally screwed the pooch, and will be hurting his young body in less than a second. After the thud caused by Man Pup’s right torso colliding with the tree is heard, self and Will starting thinking of what type of injury we might have to deal with. Broken ribs? Broken collarbone? Punctured lung? Broken wrist? How many pieces is his helmet in? I wonder if there is a clinic back in town?
Man Pup rolls over trying with all his might to get air into his lungs, which he cannot do, rolling over and groaning is all that he can do. To say that he “got the wind knocked out of him” is an understatement. I offer him the best advice I can think of, “take a deep breath”, which in retrospect was probably the worst thing I could have said to him. If there had been air in his lungs he would have most definitely told me to “FUCK OFF!” After what must have felt like an eternity for Man Pup his lungs get some air, and we start to go through the checklist of what can be wrong. He can see the two fingers I am holding up, no visibly broken bones, no head or neck injuries, just a shitload of pain shooting through his right lung and ribs. We inspect his bike, and all that is wrong is that his “special” seat has come off its rails, which is quickly put back in place with the help of some tape.
Man Pup now goes through the stages one goes through after sustaining an injury while riding a bike. With his adrenaline pumping, he feels good enough to ride back to the car, and even claims we can continue on our planned ride. That lasts for about 90 seconds before he tells us he cannot take a deep breath. We begin to walk, and the pain gets worse, “I feel like I’m breathing through a straw” is stated multiple times. Fear kicks in, as the 18 year old boy fears he has broken ribs and will be unable to ride a bike for several weeks. The fear makes the pain worse, and a trailside stop is required. A road is not far away, Will chooses to stay with Man Pup and help him get back to the road when he is ready. I will ride to get the car and meet them at the road, by the time I have returned with the car the two are nowhere to be found. I ride back to where I had left them on the trail, and Man Pup has moved about 100 feet.
We convince him that no matter what he is going to be in pain, better to be in pain as we drive towards some sort of help, rather than on the side of the trail. By the time the car is loaded normal breathing can be accomplished, and once out of the mountains Man Pup declares, “I feel better, can we go back and ride?” Once back to town, Man Pup offers to thank us in the only way he can think of, by taking us to the dining hall for dinner. Granted I could come up with about 13 different ways he could have said thanks that would have been better than all you can eat cafeteria food, but hey its the thought that counts. Will and I make short work of the fine dinning options that CSU has to offer, while Man Pup sits on as the soreness that will be a part of his life over the next few days sets in. All in all Man Pup takes everything in stride, which was the best part of the entire experience.
Finally a big congrats to Nico Anglebear of our own CSU Rams for taking home the National Championship this weekend for the Division I Collegiate MTB Omnium. Say what you will about America and USA Cycling, but only in this fine land could a Frenchman with an ugly mustache earn an American National Championship.
Below some fine CSU endurance athletes remind the downhillers to simply “Ram It Hard!”