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Catching Air… and Dirt; “Rag Dolly”; Lightly Battered

It is with great reluctance that I write these words. I had thought that I might keep secret one of the most humiliating events of my life, but alas, Sanaya let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. It’s a long story, so grab a cup of coffee or tea, unless you’re reading this over Happy Hour, which is probably a much more appropriate occasion, since alcohol has the effect of dulling pain. Here we go…

My Lovely Bride and I were scheduled for a 30 mile road bike trip to Bushnell, Florida on Sunday, but after having such fun on high end mountain bikes on Saturday, decided to return to the Fat Tire Fest and try out some other bikes. As we checked out the tents with hundreds of mountain bikes, I may have noticed that I was the oldest person in sight. Keep this fact in mind as the story unfolds. We signed out two 29ers, bikes that have large, 29 inch diameter wheels designed to roll over rocks and stumps (yes, you actually try to do those crazy things) more easily than the 26 inch wheels mounted on traditional mountain bikes. I ride a low-end (not exactly the same as a “low rider”) 29er now, but these were top-end bikes. Mine rode well, but Suzanne was not happy on the larger-framed bike. So, we then checked out two 27.5 bikes, which are much quicker and more nimble than their larger cousins.

Instantly we were back into ZAZOOM mode! For an hour or so, we hammered and ripped the trails of the “Dr. Ruth” section, having a blast. It was Nirvana – we were riding at 15-20 mph in places, very fast for an MTB. Then, the lead rider in our peleton of two made a tactical error… the dummy decided to take a big rock head-on and go airborne (“catching air” in MTB parlance, both wheels off the ground… really cool stuff). The take-off was okay, the flight was exhilarating, but the landing was a disaster. Somehow my front wheel caught something and twisted left, and I was unable to regain my balance, and “augered” into the ground with my right hip and shoulder. Even more unfortunate was the fact that MLB was not expecting me to become part of the trail in front of her, and had to slam on her brakes so hard that she executed a beautiful “endo” over her handlebars onto her left shoulder, the impact only partially mitigated by her left hand. (This is colloquially called becoming a “rag dolly”.) I glanced back, and from ground level, Suzanne actually looked quite… well, almost… graceful… just before impact. The “thud” was less promising. Due to the laws of physics, her bike then landed on top of her. In the Navy, we call this NG… not good. You see, we might be responsible for the damaged bikes… but I digress. As we lay there on the trail, my first thought was, “Dude, that was REALLY stupid!” The conversation as we both laid there on the ground then went, “Suzanne, are you okay?” “I think so; are you okay?” “I think so.”

After checking both bodies for concussions or compound fractures, and the bikes for bent wheels, we mounted up and finished our ride, at a somewhat more moderate pace. Suzanne was even laughing a bit hysterically, I think from the relief of being alive. Since no other riders had observed our crash, perhaps I could keep this A Total Secret! My Lovely Bride was hurting more than I, so we stopped in at an Urgent Care for her to be x-rayed. All was well, so she bulked up on Motrin while I chose to medicate with a large dose of Pinot Noir when we got home. I fixed her a nice fish dinner (it was the least I could do, considering). I knew she hadn’t lost her sense of humor when she said, “Ty, you’re just like this cod… lightly battered!” Here Rudy consoles his Dog-Dad who was feeling less than perky…

Then it was off to a Sanaya session, which went well except that Suzanne got hugs from a hundred or so people, making her wince due to her bruised shoulder. We had only mentioned our crash earlier that day to Bob and Jan, who had been watching our Rudy and Gretchen while we were biking. There was no way I was going to go public with a story about my inept biking! Suzanne didn’t bring it up during her discussion before Sanaya stepped in, but one of Sanaya’s key points was that “This One” (Suzanne) had experienced a moment of “glimpsing her mortality” today… At the end of the session, one lady commented, “You know, it was very unusual; I saw a bicycle in front of you while Sanaya was talking (and she later admitted she saw someone fly over the handlebars but didn’t want to say that)…” This stunned both of us, because no one else there was aware of our mishap. This was the single most remarkable comment I have ever heard from an observer at a Sanaya session. Suzanne had decided not to mention the “event” in deference to my manly pride, but at this point, she had to explain to everyone what had occurred… sigh. Thankfully, not a single person said, “Ty, why don’t you act your age?” That’s fortunate, because my reply might have been, “Hey, I haven’t acted my age since I was 2 years old… why start now?”


  • lynette
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    If the world's most beloved medium disappears from this realm as a result of some (goofball?? crazy man?? lunatic??) trying to ride a bicycle OVER BOULDERS (no, I don't mountain bike, but jiminy!!!!), I think some karma will result. Seriously, very glad to hear that you two are okay and thanks for the (out loud) laugh. Terrible, but true.

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Lynette, what did you say? "goofball?? crazy man?? lunatic???" Hey, I resemble those remarks! At least you didn't call me "an old geezer trying to act like a teenager." You wouldn't have been the first… or probably even the last… 😉

  • S/V Magnolia
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Ty please see two above from lynette, I think that covers it! 🙂 Be safe A**2

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Anthony, After traveling with you and the SM-3 Team, I hardly think you have much room to critique… 😉

    Fair winds, and NEVER hang on a ball (except maybe in Hope Town or Maine). Cheers, Ty


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