I was just recovering my iPhoto picture library after a recent OS meltdown when I came across this photo from 1991.
Me and a few college friends were taking advantage of the new gondola service on Silver Mountain (up in Kellog, in northern Idaho). Ride the gondola up, ride your bike down the various and sundry cat tracks and access roads and trails and stuff.
It was nice enough, I suppose. Unfortunately I don't remember much of the trip. I think this was actually on our first run down that I shredded my knee. About all I remember from the trip is my accident, trip to the hospital, and waiting around down at the base while my pals got in a few more runs. Bastards. And one of them was riding my bike! Bastards! (I think it was Eric. The chain on his bike broke. So I let him borrow my bike. Or maybe it was Doug?? Bastards!!) (Update: It was Eric. And it was the BB spindle that went kablooey, not the chain. I remember now that he spoke with a rather higher-pitched voice for the remainder of the day...)
"Hey dude, my bike's busted. Since you're not using yours, mind if I ride it?"
(Thanks for the photo, Eric! Cycling "fashion" noted without comment.)
So my front end washed out on a very gravelly, rocky access road. I evidently hit a nice big rock with my knee. I remember doing a tuck-n-roll over one shoulder and coming to a stop sitting up. Then I saw my knee. Yipes! It looked really scary-- I wasn't sure what would happen if I tried standing up. Would my leg bones just pop out through the gaping hole in my knee? So I didn't bother standing up. I remember the rocks poking my butt as I sat there, afraid to even wiggle. (Gosh-- such a wimp! In retrospect I could have coasted the rest of the way down. But I was afraid of all that dirt and dust getting into my... leg hole!) One of our gang, Jayson, rode the rest of the way down to get his truck. Nice guy. (But he became a bastard!!! later with the rest of them as they later continued to ride without me. I didn't even score sympathy from "buff nugs" as I lounged around down at the lodge. I digress...)
So we're all sitting there, my pals very nicely hanging around and keeping me company, pretending that they didn't hate my guts for crashing and raining on their collective parade -- Hey, we all had to pay for the damned gondola ride, we're wasting daylight you clumsy jerk! -- as we wait for Jayson to return with the truck/ambulance/meat wagon.
It seemed like we were there for a loooooog time. We must have been. I remember thinking "Hey, this is an access road, wouldn't it be great if an ATV or motorcycle or jeep or limo full of buff nugs came along and rescued me from all these people who are just pretending to be my friends but I can see it in their eyes-- they want to slit my throat, throw my lifeless body in the bushes, steal my awesome bike and rad rad Axo MTB boots and keep riding. So where is Jason, anyway??"
Unbelieveably, an old coot on 4-wheeled ATV DID show up. I couldn't believe my ears! Saved! Such a nice looking chap with a kindly face and a great big comfy looking rack on the back of his large, capacious ATV. He rolled to a stop and inquired politely about my dreadful looking wound, made some small talk about remoteness of our location and how it would be the perfect sort of spot to slit someone's throat, dump their lifeless body in the bushes and make off with their bike and Axo boots. If one was that sort of person who was so inclined. Then he made some sort of encouraging noises at me, kicked his quad into gear and continued his merry way up the road. Bastard.
The rest of the wait is a blur. I can't really remember anything. After about a year, Jason roared up in his truck. Hurray! I very tenderly dragged myself into the bed of the truck and one of my "friends" thoughtfully threw my bike in after me. The ride down the mountain was a joy as me and my bike slid and rattled around the bed of the truck. With every little bump and rattle, every single sharp and poky part of my bike stuck me right in my shredded knee. Right in there!
I got into the nearest hospital ER where the doctor shot my knee up with novocaine and then disappeared for 45 minutes.
He came back in time for most of the effect of the novocaine to have worn off and began picking gravel out of my knee. Apparently I was "lucky" that nothing penetrated the connective tissue capsule surrounding the joint. (See? I was right to have freaked out just a little bit.) I refused to watch and settled for listening to the "tink, tink, tink" of bits of gravel dropping in a metal tray.
Then came the cleaning. So far so good as I couldn't yet feel too much.
However, about halfway through the suturing (Was it 11 or 14 sutures?) the novocaine had pretty much completely evaporated. Jiminy christmas did that ever hurt. The weirdest part was feeling the suturing filament sliding through my skin. Maybe by "weirdest" I mean "worst".
At one point the noise of my teeth grinding must have distracted the doctor as he paused in his work and fixed me with an annoyed glare. "Are you okay? Do you need more novocaine?"
Lying through my clenched teeth I told him "No thanks." I didn't have any kind of health insurance (I was a poor, dumb college kid at the time) so I was trying to be good and not rack up a huge bill with all sorts of needless extras.
Finally I was whole again, fitted with a brace to immobilize my knee and shoved out the door with a sampler pack of Advil.
Jayson, Travis, Eric (I don't think I've ever seen a photo with Eric where he's actually wearing a shirt), Doug, Yours Truly, Kenny, Trent (Sometimes shirts, sometimes skins.)
Kellog Hospital, 8-31-1991 Thanks to Eric for the photo.
Back to the mountain we went. While I put my grievous wound on display at the lodge patio, casting about for sympathy, my "friends" continued their rollicking good time up on the mountain. Bastards.
But who's got the awesome scar? Who ultimately scored the hot chick? I did.
But I don't have the Awesome Boots anymore.