Sunday, July 23, 2006

Busy Weekend

So I finally have some free time to catch up on my blogging (more on this in a moment).

Sky Tower, Auckland
This weekend started with Kel's work party downtown. Partners weren't invited, but we decided to go out afterwards. So I picked her up at the party, and we went up to Sky tower for dessert and coffees.

Kel in Sky Tower

Saturday, I spent the morning finishing (mostly) a shed I'd been building to put in our parking lane. About mid afternoon, we headed out to the Bay of Plenty. I was planning to ride in the N-Duro mountain bike race in the redwood forests of Rotorua, so we planned on spending the night at Kel's mother's place in Whakatane (about 45 minutes away).

Matamata Sign On the way we passed through Matamata, near the location where they filmed The Shire scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies. We'd stopped for ice cream, so I just had to grab a photo of their sign.

Sunday morning, we got up and headed into Rotorua. As I'd mentioned previously, I've just purchased a new bike. I was also using disc brakes and clipless pedals for the first time on a mountain bike. You can probably see where this is headed. ;-)

So the race starts, there were a couple hundred riders in the 25k race. It begins with a long uphill climb on doubletrack forest road. Then it gets into some winding switchback singletrack (a lot like Lebanon hills). Then another long uphill climb on a forest road.

N-Duro 2006After that there was some clay mud rolling singletrack. After this stuff my shoes were so packed with mud I could barely get clipped in. Not that it mattered too much, we soon hit wicked downhill mud slopes where the track down the middle was a steep 'V' carved into the mud. You just had to settle your weight way back, and keep a good grip on the brakes.

I was doing pretty well with the terrain (not so well speed-wise), but I started getting sloppy as I could see the end of the technical stuff approaching. Down the last hill before we hit open road again, there were a series of log drops in the trail. One of them had a little banked turn immediately after it. I went off the drop, botched the turn, and went over the handlebars. This isn't a huge problem, I'd already fallen a couple times. But unfortunately I landed with my arm out, and felt a sickening jolt of pain in my shoulder as I landed. Still not a problem, I'm thinking, my shoulder does this disturbingly often. I've done it several times kayaking, and it always pops right back in.

As I tumbled to a stop and sat up, I noticed that my right arm wouldn't move. I could feel my fingers, and my lower arm would move, but I couldn't lift my elbow from the side of my body. As I sat there, I noticed the first aid guy sprinting up the hill. (Luckily, I'd taken my header not 50 meters from the aid and water station.) He stopped and looked at me, asked me a few questions, and felt my shoulder. He immediately said "That's dislocated mate.". Sure enough, when I reached over to feel it, there was a big squishy feeling space where my shoulder should have been.

So they loaded me into a van, and took me down to meet an ambulance at the race start/finish. Kel grabbed my equipment and headed to the hospital after us.

My Ambulance leaving the race.  :-( At the hospital, they had me roll over on my front, hang my arm over the side of the bed, and they taped a sandbag to my wrist. After a few minutes, (and some nitrous assistance with relaxing my muscles) I felt the joint settle back in. It immediately felt about 90% better.

Today it's feeling stiff, and a fair amount worse than the times I've popped it on my own, but it should be back to normal before too long. The doctor recommended that I keep it low and close to my body for a couple weeks, then talk to an orthopaedic surgeon.

I think I'll be keeping the mountain bike on happy little forest roads for a little while, and my next few races will be on my own two feet. ;-)

File Under: New Zealand,


  1. Bummer about the "soil sampling" you took in the race. That's the only way to learn, though. Stay with it-it gets easier. I'm doing 24 hours of Afton again this year. I think our team name is, "Jesus Built My Single-Speed". Keep the rubber side down, Robert FacePlant.

  2. Ugh, dislocated shoulder. Yikes!

    Well, nothing like creating a good story for your first major ride with the new bike --

    If it's been slipping out, sounds like more aggressive action might be needed. Are you prepared to have surgery?