Now falling off your bike is never a good thing, but there is some stupid saying in the mountain biking community; that on your next ride you are only one ride away from your next fall. This proved to be true as my next ride was this last Saturday as I reunited myself with Mother Earth.
So you go riding with your friends, as most of us do from time to time, with introducing a new friend, Eben Nel, to our riding clan. Although Eben weighs probably the same as my left leg, he is still fairly new in the sport so we took it relatively easy although pushing the distance barrier of his prior individual rides. Welcome Eben and hopefully we will see you on more rides in the future, it was great fun. Now back to that other thing of falling off your bike.
After dredging my light body on my KTM Scarp up Dorstberg at Meerendal we catch a breather as we wait to reunite the group as Eben makes it up to the top. The compulsory photo taken and being deemed as the faster ‘downhiller’ in our group I got tasked to go down first in the single track. (Normally I’m happy with obscurity and getting stuff done and in mountain biking getting to the finish line). Anyway so off I go concentrating as hard as I can without thinking of the Bulls’ poor SupeRugby performance of 2015 and knowing that Rob Kucera is behind me, chasing and trying to catch me. Flying down and having fun on a perfect Cape Town day, so the what I unconsciously decided to do is get my front wheel stuck in a rut and dive off the bike just before the track ends in a steep corner turning left, with spectators (without flashing cameras fortunately) observing my graceful tuck-and-roll over the handle bars.
Now to describe what was going through my head is easy as everything seemed to happen in slow motion like the irritating slow motion of the balls heading to the posts or teams running out the tunnel in SupeRugby by Supersport’s production crew. As I found myself going off line and into the rut I realised “Hier kom k@k” (I am in sh!t or parental guidance way, I am in serious trouble) as I knew I was heading over the edge and started to brake. Needless to say braking and turning in the rut did not quite work out as momentum took my slight body over the handle bars as the bike suddenly came to an abrupt stop – tuck and roll was all I thought.
The dust settled, I removed my hand and glove stuck from the handle bar and stood up from the crater at Meerendal, created by my body thumping into the ground. This was all still happening in irritating Supersport slow motion and as the broadcast caught up with the live feed I realised that Rob is behind me and I should probably get myself out of this high risk corner for my friends to at least enjoy the last bit of the single track and also not crash into me. So Rob arrives: “Did you crash? I few words are exchanged in banter and all are good again. What made me feel slightly better, hope it is not too sadistic, is that another rider fell at the same spot as I did. He is okay though and this time the spectators of my fall caught it on their GoPro. No, I unfortunately don’t have the footage.
In the aftermath of the 7.9 magnitude crash my handle bar was parallel with the frame post the incident. The front tyre slipped off the rim and small rocks got stuck between the tyre and the rim, which tested our tyre re-inflation skills but my Mitas tyres were all good again and with the minor adjustments to the abovementioned realigned handlebar and remote lock-out off we went again to the jump track. No holding back when pride is at stake between friends. One bent derailleur hanger later and we are looking forward to another great ride this weekend with friends, one ride closer to the next fall…
I all seriousness a fall can happen quickly and while I can joke about it as myself and the other rider came off not hurt there is guys out there that have fallen badly. I don’t know Jaco Veldsman who has fallen really badly recently and the mountain biking community of Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club came together in raising funds to help him with his hospital bills. Please contact them directly or Shaun Peters if you want to help further.
So be careful on the trails and be considered to others and if you don’t have the skills don’t try and be a hero. If you can’t ride a horse, don’t be a cowboy!
On a personal note to one of my friends that have been going through a tough time these last couple of months. My thoughts are with you and your family and know that you have my full support and I believe that things will work out and going forward will only be better to what the past was. New opportunities will arise. Once you have fallen the next step is to get up and get going again!