In his relentless effort to be a good father to his daught…um, dogs, The Logging Road Cyclist took a break from his demanding riding schedule to take Good Dog and Devil Puppy for long walk up McCulloch Peak a couple of weeks ago. They climbed up to the base of the top pitch of the South Ridge trail and gloried in the new, huge clearcut on the adjacent Starker land, you know, the one where the University used to have a sign asking mountain bikers not to use the trail because it went through a “sensitive meadow area”. On the other hand, outcrops of the gabbro that prop up the Peak are now well exposed on the west side of the trail, and the views to the south and west are simply spectacular.
Pausing at the summit to bask in the warm October sun, our trio kept to the trails as much as possible on their descent. This lead eventually to Innuendo, on foot a pleasant stroll.
About 100 feet up from the junction with Uproute and Extendo is a little 2 or 3 foot drop, no big deal. TLRC planted his left foot firmly in a convenient little scoop near the top and was elegantly extending his right foot to a little platform halfway down the drop when BANG, he found himself gasping in pain, stretched out, left lateral recumbent on the hard ground below the drop. His first instinct was to get his glasses which had come off. Found, they had a squashed nosepiece. Next was a personal assessment. TLRC was lying with his left arm tucked tight against his side, curled around to the front, fist to solar plexus. Clearly, his years of intensive Martial Arts training had left residual Ninja skills: Rather than reaching out to break his fall, and his wrist along with it, in a flash he had instinctively protected his delicate left shoulder (careful readers of TLRC will recall that in his left shoulder is a titanium/cobalt steel implant, the result of many careless years of paddling and The Unfortunate Events of ’08-’09).
The dogs, as usual, were snorting around, generally ignoring TLRC, who got up and, first thing checked to see if his shoulder still worked (it did), and where the blood coming down the side of his face was coming from. He strode home, brimming with self recrimination and doubt.
How had this happened to TLRC, that bastion of balance? Could there have been a foot-trapping root, a misjudgment?
A few days later, TRLC had a crescent of great, rib-bruised pain, the kind where every breath hurts. It extended all the way from his spine around to his solar plexus. He, The Long-Suffering Girlfriend and all the dogs went for a walk, and TLRC steered them all to the scene of The Incident. There was nothing at all that could have caused TLRC to plummet from this little step, as he proved by gingerly climbing up and down it 4-5 times (an act that he considered showed considerable bravery). TLSG, noting how Devil Puppy was, as usual racing around like an insane thing, pointed out that perhaps she (DP) had smacked into TLRC, knocking him sprawling. Was she being kind?
A detailed, on-site, Post-Incident Analysis revealed that she wasn’t. Had TLRC been responsible for this, i.e. slipped on is own account, he would have landed on his ass, not sprawled face down several feet from the base of the drop. Not to mention the fact that a slip allows for at least a fraction of a second of awareness that it has happened, whereas here, TLRC was standing, then down, with nothing intervening. While TLRC understands how a disinterested reader might consider this a self-serving, face-saving Analysis done by an interested party, he can live with it.
Thus it occurred that TLRC slept drugged in his recliner for a week, unable to lie down from the pain. Each breath brought a stabbing pain to his left side. Meanwhile, Devil Puppy continued her spoiled, oblivious life….
Meantime, The Good Dog continues to provide comfort and companionship: