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  1. #1
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    Close Calls?

    What's the closest you've come to having a serious injury (broken bones, torn ligaments, or worse) and still walked away?


    I had mine a couple days ago. It was on Tio Juanito, for those near Albuquerque.


    It was the 3rd week on my new bike, and I was getting it pretty dialed and getting confident on it. I rolled over a dorm-room refrigerator-sized rock that I've always gone around, and nose planted directly into a rock on the other side at moderate speed. I felt the fork compress and the back wheel come up, got a good look at where I was gonna land, and then I believe I got launched as the fork re-bounded.


    I landed in a rock garden, and laid there in the trail, with the bike on top of me, moaning for a few minutes, knowing that if I stood up, I'd pass out. I couldn't feel any specific pain from all the adrenaline pounding through me, but just generally felt extremely traumatized. As I began to catch my breath I moved my hands and feet, and patted myself down. I was pretty relieved to find nothing REALLY bad, but my legs were really starting to ache, and my right forearm was a mess.


    I dragged myself and my bike off the trail, and sat for a couple more minutes, wondering what I was going to do if I had a broken leg or legs.


    Eventually I decided I had to stand up and see how things felt. Standing was possible, but neither leg had much range of motion. My left leg had been bashed hard right above my knee, and my entire right thigh was really sore. I was able to gingerly get on my bike and slooowwly coast back to my car. Luckily it was almost entirely downhill. I got off and hobbled up the small hills and through the tricky spots, as my left knee was too swollen already to pedal. But it was encouraging that I could be on the bike, and walk, at all.


    It really started to hurt when I got home, but I took some ibuprofen and did the RICE routine, figuring I'd know in a few hours if I needed to go to the hospital.


    The next morning, both thighs were MEGA bruised, and somewhat sore, and I discovered a number of random achy spots, but I could get around, and I realized that I was okay.


    That was a HUGE relief, and I consider myself VERY lucky to have hobbled away from that one. I don't think I could have gotten much closer to a serious injury than that!

  2. #2
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    I had a close call with death in 2011 in mtn biking accident. I did not walk away from that. I flew away from it. I did however survive so that's got to be worth something?
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  3. #3
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    I've had a couple of close calls the last two seasons... both at Snowshoe. One was a hard call on my head. Ended up with a concussion and bought a Leatt before my next trip. I flipped over the bars and landed right on my forehead. I could feel my helmet pushing down and my neck bending over... it scared me. A lot.

    I also took a good tumble after my rear tire caught a rock the wrong way and tumbled over the top of a berm. Not sure how I came out without any injuries but I just kinda tumbled out of it and ended up on my feet.

    Plenty of hard landings and slides in the middle of corners that could have gone badly. Hopefully they'll continue just to be close calls.

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    Hit the pavement on a 30 MPH corner. Rolled and tumbled a lot, somehow found my feet just before I would have rolled over the curb and down a steep, rocky embankment. Still ended up with a broken bike, broken clavicle, and too much road rash. Showers were miserable for about a month after that. Apparently I looked a lot worse than I felt. Blood everywhere and my clothes were shredded, but I had no pain at all because of all the adrenaline going through me.

    Hit a rut the wrong way on a fast downhill section with a big drop-off to the side. Went OTB and tumbled a bit, ended up a foot from the edge of a cliff that would have sent me 200 feet down to the ocean below.

    Generally, this whole bike-riding thing isn't too dangerous until your wheels stop being underneath you.
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    Last week, I caught my baggies on the seat coming off a two-foot drop and smashed head first into a tree. I was stunned and concerned I might have jammed my neck, but I was OK. This is my first year mountain biking and I'm really old, so I've been pretty cautious. This crash scared me, but it I also learned from it.

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    Not that many actually. I'm pretty cautious these days. I'm not old yet but I'm not young enough to magically heal wound overnight either.

    If we're going to do "close calls" and not crashes I can still remember one from about 3 years ago. I was on a vacation in Spain, rented a MTB and came down a mountainside on an unknown trail at a decent lick of speed. Probably 25-30mph.

    I saw that the trail turned up ahead but it looked like an open sweeping turn and no big deal. Just as I came up to it I realized that it was actually some kind of mild optical illusion and that I'd completely misjudged it.

    Instead of turning mildly left it went DOWN and turned sharper than I first thought. And it was also pretty slippery with lots of loose gravel.

    I made the turn with what felt like a 70 feet locked rear slide skimming the edge of the trail. And then I just kept on riding down the trail as if nothing happened - lol, funny how that works. It was only about 5 min later that I mentally fully realized that I had a pretty close call there.

    I don't think I'd died or broken anything if I'd gone over but there was a pretty steep hill with lots of gravel and sharp stones on the other side. I would probably have slid 100 feet and ended up with the rashes from hell.

  7. #7
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    I'd define close calls as disaster averted, I'm sure I've had hundreds of them.

  8. #8
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    Commuting to work about 15 years ago, I was T boned on my bike by a turning driver onto the busy street I was riding on. One of those "rolling stops" that barely tap the brakes sometimes drivers do when they see a gap in traffic before they reach the street. Guy wasn't looking for a biker, so he hit me pretty squarely. I was going a pretty good clip, maybe 25mph and he was going about 8-10mph turning. I had literally just enough time to think "Ah crap, this is gonna hurt!" and I loosened my grip on the bars so that, I hoped, I would roll right up his hood and off & not get thrown into traffic in the process(funny how the mind works so fast!)
    That is exactly what happened! The bike and I separated at impact with the front of his car and I rolled up the hood and off the side and my bike went under the car. My bike was destroyed but I just had bruises and was pretty shaky for a while just simply because it shouldn't have turned out so well! I didn't even end up needing to go to the hospital, I just went to the GD the next day and I checked out fine. The guy paid for a new bike and a new helmet, along with the dr visit. He got a ticket for running a stop sign. His car was pretty banged up in the grill area and his driver side wiper got pulled off by some part of me as I rolled over his car.

    I'd like to say I landed like a ninja or super hero on TV with my feet on the ground and a smirk on my face but I landed more like a tossed fish in a boat! But man, I was amazed I even survived, let alone walked away from it!

    I still commuted for years afterwards on my bike and never once had any accidents. I'd say I paid my dues. And I always assume the drivers are trying to kill me, so I ride very defensively.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Close Calls?

    Did an early morning ride in mid winter. There wasn't any snow on the ground but it was frozen. I was having a blast riding the hard fast ground.

    I came down a fast downhill that had a sweeping right hand turn at the bottom. Aparently water had puddled there and froze overnight. I hit the corner aroind 25-30 mph when I saw the ice.

    I remember thinking this is gonna be bad as the bike started to go out from under me. Just as I was about to go down the tires slid out to the edge of the ice & back onto hard ground and I managed to ride it out.

    Nothing hurt but very close call
    No moss...

  10. #10
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    I went beyond my close call......see signature below.
    Bicycles donít have motors or batteries.:nono:

    Ebikes are not bicycles :nono:

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    Did an early morning ride in mid winter. There wasn't any snow on the ground but it was frozen. I was having a blast riding the hard fast ground.

    I came down a fast downhill that had a sweeping right hand turn at the bottom. Aparently water had puddled there and froze overnight. I hit the corner aroind 25-30 mph when I saw the ice.

    I remember thinking this is gonna be bad as the bike started to go out from under me. Just as I was about to go down the tires slid out to the edge of the ice & back onto hard ground and I managed to ride it out.

    Nothing hurt but very close call
    Sweet!
    Any trouble breathing for awhile after that?

    Back in the days before suspension when I was young and dumb and full of vinegar and rode a 26er...
    I was being the *****y visitor to a group ride.
    The people were fun, but I got frustrated with the tentative descents of the group, so I broke out and bombed a hill Iíd never been on before. Well the reason they were going so slow was because there were huge boulders and slabs about mid-way down. I was carrying ludicrous speed, dropped onto the first slab, hopped a crevice, then absolutely pounded the front wheel on the next step-up that launched me. The rear tire never touched it. It was like I pogoed/ricocheted off the front wheel up this step-up. I was wayyy behind the seat so I stayed level, made the landing in a rock garden and just held on. I just kept it pointed straight since my eyes were rattling so much in my head that I couldnít see where I was going anyway, and it worked itself out. What should have happened was that I was supposed to bail over the bars and land upside down in the rock garden.
    No one was terribly impressed, and I gained a bit of wisdom.
    If you're wondering how an early steel fork could do that - I was riding an aftermarket 1-1/8" tubular steel fork. The factory fork had bent outward, like a chopper.

    All the other times I just went to the hospital.

    I can say that since I started riding a 29er, the bike has saved me as many times as it has dared me to be stupid, so right now we're even.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  12. #12
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    Close Calls?

    If a close call doesn't actually result in a crash I tend to ignore it. Some close calls are fairly bonkers though.

    One particularly notable one would be on the roadbike. I'd just come round a roundabout when there was a loud squealing of tyres from a car behind. I looked back and there was a car just behind me, a shocked look on the occupants faces. As nothing had happened I shook my head and continued on with the ride.

    When I got home there was a chip on one seatstay of the bike. The locked up car had hit my frame's seatstay with its bumper, missing my rear wheel and just tapping the frame. That's as close as it gets without getting wiped out. If there wasn't damage I wouldn't have even realised.

    Another one would be on a descent. It was an urban road and I was going fast downhill 45mph+. Coming the other way one car was overtaking another car so there were two cars heading side by side uphill towards me, filling the road. I went through the gap in the middle between the two cars...

    A good mountain bike one was coming up to a river crossing last year, the surface is of deep pea sized gravel. There's a bridge that you can ride round the side on a bike without actually going through the river. A group of 4x4s had just come across the river and was stopped on the line that I wanted to take to the bridge. In order to go round it I had to ride and turn in the deepest gravel with the people in the 4x4s watching.

    You know what happens next. Turning left in the deep gravel my front wheel dug in and washed out. All I could think was "I'm not falling off here in front of all these people", it felt as though my handlebar was practically on the ground but I somehow muscled the bike back upright, straightened up and continued on over the bridge as though nothing had happened.

  13. #13
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    nothing as big as some above for myself.

    MTB I stuffed up a steep descent in the dark at the end of a 12 hour race and OTB'd a rock stepdown at the top. Somehow missed the big rock in the landing zone you normally have to go either side of, and knocked both sets of lights out. Then I'm tumbling down the hill in complete darkness for what seems half a minute in a good homer simpson tumbles down the hill impression, with everytime I think it's over I hit another rock or somehting and start the tumble again (picking up speed on each tumble). Ended up about 100m away from the bike (which had stopped at the stepdown). Only scrapes and brusies from it thankfully (though the shoulder played up for a few weeks after).

    Road training, at the end of a ride coming up an freeway offramp, I had a car side mirror clip the elbow so lightly that it didn't leave more than the barest of marks.

    not me, but i've got a friend who had some VERY close calls.

    first one, along the side of a deep gully with creek at the bottom. he stuffs up and otb at speed across the gully. goes between two trees on this side of the gully, and somehow misses the fallen tree leaning diagonally between them, then lands spread eagle on the other sode of the creek near the bottom of the gully, in the only space not covered by big rocks that would have broken his back.

    Second was racing some trail bikes down a dire road and lost it. He rolls to the bottom of the hill without the bike, missing a large tree by about 10cm, and ends up on his back facing back up the hill. As we get to him but before he get's up, we realise there's a broken stump like a spear sticking up from the ground that as he's tumbled to a stop has ended up between his back and arm, pretty well right under the armpit. Would have been a nasty wound if he landed on it.

    Of course, he's made up for those since with a couple hospital runs

  14. #14
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    Yeah, nothing huge here. Gone down lots of times and received small scrapes and bruises. The kinds of things that COULD result in bigger injuries but didn't because of luck, my ability to take a fall, or something.

    These days, I try not to push quite so close to my limits so I usually only go down once every few rides anymore and it's usually just washing out on a corner or loose stuff on the downhill side of the trail, or clipping a handlebar on a tree. I don't even get most of my scrapes anymore from falling off the bike. Most come from brushing against trees. When I fail in a rock garden, I'm usually able to avoid going down by leaning up against a tree or getting a foot down.

    I flat out avoid anything too high off the ground that I couldn't ride out from. If a skinny is elevated more than a foot or two, I don't ride it. Consequences are too high. Jumps and drops, more than a couple feet to the landing and I will pass.

  15. #15
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    I've had a couple "beyond" close calls that resulted in broken bones; broken rib and smashed my right collar bone into 3 pieces.

    The most unusual close call I've ever had; I was heading out to do some trailwork. The local bike club had a fairly large, very heavy duty backpack, to carry a chainsaw in. It was a medium sized saw... 14" bar. Had a scabbard on the bar. I had that stuffed in the backpack and was headed down the trail, not very fast, maybe 8 mph. While my left pedal was down, it hit a stump that someone had left right by the edge of the trail. Probably 3" in diameter, and 5" high. Never saw the thing, which is strange.

    But it completely hooked my pedal and brought the bike to a dead stop. I went over the bars, with that damn backpack on... and as I started to do a barrel roll I looked up over my head and saw that chainsaw flying through the air. It had come completely out of the backpack! It was directly above me. Fortunately it landed well out in front of me. The scary part was, the scabbard had come off. That would have been a b*tch to fall on that, or have it hit me as it sailed by!!

  16. #16
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    Thinking about it now I realize that the closest I came to a really serious injury was when I had a broken off tree limb drag across my face during a ride. If I hadn't been wearing safety glasses it would've gone right in my eye. I had a deep slash that started in the middle of my forehead and ended on my cheek.

    Later in that same ride I washed out in a corner and slid to a stop like sliding into home plate. I had trail rash all over my right leg, my side, forearm & elbow. I wasn't hurt, just scraped up. Between that & the face slash my girlfriend almost sold my bikes
    No moss...

  17. #17
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    I have many crashes. Fortunately I am a good crashes and don't usually get hurt bad. The worst for me was this summer. absolutely blasting a fast tight downhill section and leaned in too far, clipped a tree with my shoulder. That pitched me over the other side. Very sketchy. I got that feeling like this is really going to hurt!

  18. #18
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    When I was in my teens I once did a 3m drop on a rigid 26" onto flat ground. It wasn't exactly planned as you might imagine.

    Was riding down a long grassy forest hillside and because of a fallen trees and rocks I ended up doing a little detour from the straight way down the hill. I aimed for a small hill in the hillside and planned on going down the other side of it, in my head I imagined that on the other side of that hill there would be some more grass I could slide down. That was how the terrain looked everywhere else in the area.

    But on the other side of the small hill was not a smooth grassy slope but a rock face and before mentioned 3m drop... Too little distance to stop or do anything than bite down hard and commit. I didn't even realize it was THAT high until later.

    Landed with both wheels perfectly leveled (which I thought "hell yeah" to at the time!) but in the landing the front fork bent forward (!) right below the head bearing by about 50 degrees from normal. The bike looked like a chopper but by some miracle I had stayed on the bike, the bike and wheels were fine except for the fork and miracle or miracles the damn thing was still ridable so I made it home.

    I think I got pretty lucky there, I wasn't even wearing a helmet or gloves or anything!

    Even got the fork replaced under warranty lol. Not sure if the warranty was supposed to cover 3m unplanned drops but I sure wasn't complaining.

  19. #19
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    Have not had any on my mountain bike(only been riding for ~2months), but I did crash on my road bike at 40mph. Some how I walked away with some road rash and some small bruises. Rode 20miles back home bleeding pretty badly.

  20. #20
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    Close Calls?

    Two years ago, I had a solid pedal strike that knocked me off balance and forward, and compressed my fork just as I came up on another decent sized rock. I flipped OTB on a steep sidehill, and smacked horizontally into a tree, about 4 feet off the ground. My pack took maybe half the impact, but I was still left lying on the ground gasping, and then taking inventory to see what was broken. Just some scrapes and bruises, but it was scary.

  21. #21
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    Close call? I surprised a black bear on a trail a few years back. He took a swipe at me as I went past at a high rate of speed. I thought he missed me. Not quite. Didn't feel a thing until about half an hour later. His claws didn't even rip my shirt.

    Close Calls?-deadwood2.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja's Son
    You may be happy to hear that my dad has kicked cancer's ass. Now he's looking for whoever sent it.

  22. #22
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    Broke leg off of a big jump above Escondido Ca, developed DVT (blood clot) which required an IVC filter to be installed in my main artery from legs to heart. The filter which is titanium will rest within my chest till i die.

    This is has forever changed my style of riding, less jumps more DROPS..

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja View Post
    Close call? I surprised a black bear on a trail a few years back. He took a swipe at me as I went past at a high rate of speed. I thought he missed me. Not quite. Didn't feel a thing until about half an hour later. His claws didn't even rip my shirt.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Good Lord dude. "Chillin on my bike, surprised a bear. He swatted at me. Whatever. Suck it, bear." Sounds like a typical Tuesday afternoon for Chuck Norris or something lol

  24. #24
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    Sprained wrist 2004 at Little Creek Mountain, UT
    Sprained shoulder 09 Prison Camp Trail, Mt Lemmon, AZ
    Hip smashes AZ Trail south of Flagstaff 06 and north of Payson 11.
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  25. #25
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    Hmmm, I don't think I had any serious crashes, but I had some that could have resulted in a broken bone but didn't, like when I lost all my speed and fell off of a rock while climbing.
    Dropping into a trail

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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rozell431 View Post
    Good Lord dude. "Chillin on my bike, surprised a bear. He swatted at me. Whatever. Suck it, bear." Sounds like a typical Tuesday afternoon for Chuck Norris or something lol
    It was kind of like that. There are lots of bears where I ride but we're very careful around them. This day I was by myself and the whole thing happened so fast that I was way down the trail before it dawned on me what had just happened.

    This event IS on my list of amazing things that happened to me so no, I don't brush it off as "Meh, whatever."

    I was stalked by a cougar/mountain lion for 4 days in a row. That was nothing like a close call though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja's Son
    You may be happy to hear that my dad has kicked cancer's ass. Now he's looking for whoever sent it.

  27. #27
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    ^ TN is our forum's badass. He even let a bear take a swipe at him, just for fun.
    Sometimes, I question the value of my content.

  28. #28
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    Did someone say Bear? ^^^^

    Thats right another close call i had here in SoCal was while finishing up a downhill run i noticed bear scat on the trail and some rustling of branches lo and behold a Momma Bear and two Cubs above me looking right down at me. It was a cute site.


  29. #29
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    Yeah, bears. My son was about 12 years old he was walking down a trail behind my house when he heard what he though at first was a goat. He turned around to see the cutest little baby bear cub running down the trail behind him. It wanted to play! How cute is that?

    He still says it's the most terrifying thing that's ever happened to him. He had no idea where Momma bear was and he didn't have our sacrificial dog with him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja's Son
    You may be happy to hear that my dad has kicked cancer's ass. Now he's looking for whoever sent it.

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