After a summer of careful riding in preparation for the series of marathons, the entire group of MadMilers met for an end-of-summer fun-run in Heidelberg. With all restraints removed, everyone could afford to let loose a little and ride a little closer to the edge on the downhills. This carefree attitude lasted all of about one hour, as reported by Andy:
The inevitable has happened. With the last race of the season behind us and so the last reason for still downhilling 'with a margin of safety' removed, the four MadMilers managed less then four hours of accident free riding. Simon (not a surprise - he was already running with less of a margin of safety) was the victim of the prang. His 'ohno second' happened about just after his front wheel cleared a wee ramp at about 40 kph when he realised things were heading South big time. The onlooking crowd (Gav, Jens, Andy) were at first slightly impressed by his rate of approach to a previously unjumped ramp but were even MORE impressed by the noise and size of dust cloud generated by hid head-first pile-driver. Impression turned to disappointment when he failed to stand and take the bow his stunt deserved. In fact, he failed to move at all. A few kicks and prods and "Gerrup ya gurl" revealed he was in fact unconscious. We were forced to conclude that this was one of those "bad things" and promptly dispatched Jens to summon professional (i.e. non-kicking and prodding) assistance. Shortly after, two mountain biking beginners had the misfortune to ride by and see what fun they too could have once they got "good" at it. We cheered them up by pointing out that they had fullies and so should be more stable and would crash only rarely and then at such speeds that intermediate steps such as doctors and hospitals could be skipped over. Must have lost something in the translation judging by their perplexed looks.
At some point Simon regained consciousness and managed to grab our attention by groaning, moaning and generally looking very ill. We explained to his bleeding visage that there was "good news" and there was "bad news". The good news was that his bike was OK, the bad was that he was well f**ked, and his bike ride was definitely over for the day. In the next thirty minutes all sorts of fun was had. First we had to arrange a "meet" with the fleet of rescue vehicles we had summoned, and then try and get them through the forest to Simon's landing-site. Here we realised that there were a few problems. · You need keys to get through looked gates, · You can't take an ambulance down a 15% gradient dried up stream gully · Jens (our navigator) knew the wooded trails even less than Gavin and Andy. This meant we got to hear engines, and the occasional siren, circling around us, allowing for great "Simon, at last, it's over, they're here!" followed by "Oh sorry, false alarm" moments. Jens found a paramedic car circling enthusiastically and told him where he should drive and, upon shutting the door, crushed the end of his index finger. But Jens had the last laugh as he'd sent the car the wrong way. Gavin, realising that help had yet arrived and that good bike-time was being wasted, headed off in the general direction of revving engines and German cursing and discovered Jen's paramedic circling somewhat less-enthusiastically and pointed him in the right direction. Eventually, maybe 40 minutes after Simon's ground-zero, a flashy BMW pulled up and the paramedic finally got to do his thing. Then things got really busy as the police car and the ambulance finally made it, as did the rest of our biker group so we had 12 people and one fleshy mound milling around. Lots of syringes and tubes and white fluffy bandages later Simon was hoisted into an ambulance and whisked away with Susanne to the safety of a local hospital.
The damage? One helmet (dented and cracked) but otherwise his Marin is in good shape. Simon on the other hand appears to have recovered from the concussion (but if you know Simon you'll know how subjective that is). He had a 2-inch diameter patch of skin missing from his right knee and many small scratches. He has a 2-inch diameter patch of skin missing from his left knee and as this went all the way to the bone they decided to operate and take out some bits of his knee. He has broke both elbows which needed to pinned to allow proper healing (two titanium pins). The best bit is he spent three weeks in a hospital bed with only one movable limb. BEST news of all is they expect a FULL recovery with no after effects or limitations.
PS : Simon is healthy again so we can afford to have a laugh at his expense. But it might not have been so funny if he hadn't been wearing his helmet, so if you remember nothing else, remember this:
WEAR YOUR HELMET ALL THE F**KING TIME, EVERY F**KING TIME!!