I usually rise early because I get up around 5:30 for my job. But with this new tent I savored the few extra hours. After Rich ate the above breakfast he emerged from his tent, with the usual grumbling from Anton. About 4 hours later Anton said he woke up with an ominous feeling, wish I knew that as we shall see
After the usual morning banter, and a few showers for the smelly, we were off to get breakfast at the local grocery. Apparently everyone got their coffee here and only one k-cup at a time
Taking a page out of my fellow rider's playbook I settled for a hunk of bread and some chicken spread in a can, which made me wish I had gotten the tuna salad in a can instead. Ignoring the picnic tables as the sun was bright and we were fully geared up, we chose the sidewalk, were Rich looked like a true bum.
Anton was asking customers for change jokingly, nobody but us were laughing. Despite the early breakfast he was now on to coffee cakes and iced tea.
After a quick run to the outfitter we were off. the goal was to try a different path today as we feared it would be boring slab south and around the Appalachian Mountain Club, or as Canuman likes to say, the Amalgamated Money Corp. We stopped in the local AMC office and they confirmed, absolutely no bikes, but showed us a route that appeared to be a good alternative, and the woman promised it to be the most scenic in Maine. Why not right? The route was Lily Pond Road > Greenville Road > Golden Road into Millinocket. Another local confirmed the portion of the Golden road was indeed open.
Off we were. I stopped everyone here to say I wanted to go see what was down Burnt Jacket Road, with a name like that why not? I was expecting a wonderful view of Moosehead Lake.
Well the first part appeared to be plots for future McMansions, but now it was all old jeep trails. Off we went, dirt was dirt, and the exploring was fun.
With Anton in the lead, me in the middle, and Rich behind, it was turning into a lovely day. Rain was in the forecast for the evening.
As I write this my heart is pounding, it fears having to recall yet again, but here goes...
Going no more than 5-10mph max, in the same formation I came to a 5-10 feet ascent, off camber and with plenty of ruts....well my wheels couldn't make up their mind which one to be in. In an instant I was down, but not before twisting and landing on my right leg. Crunch, Crunch, the bike is laying on top of me. I'm screaming for help as I can't move my body out from under. Rich comes up behind and drops his bike as he gets off to help me. I crawl away in relief but it soon turns to horror. My lower leg is flopping to the right, and when I try to straighten it I hear crackling. From what I can gather my toe went into the rut and the bike and momentum swung my heel aounrd
I instantly knew the journey was going to end here, I felt awful to also end it for my partners on only Tuesday.
They made me as comfortable as possible while supporting my head. It was decided Rich would double back to the logging operation and ask for help, Anton stayed behind.
I was terribly nervous now that Rich would rush and injury himself, thankfully he didn't. It took the police 30 minutes to show up. It felt like forever and I was just concentrating on my breathing but it was getting difficult. I was already playing out the next 3 months in my head, we all know how overwhelming that can be. I kept telling myself help is on the way and thank god for medical insurance.
After a minute he unhooks his knife and kneels down with it pointing in my face, then diverts to my stomach to remove a poisonous caterpillar
Another 30 minutes, god it seemed like forever, an ambulance shows up on this gnarly "road". We were about a mile in. It even managed to do a 180, these guys are prepared for the outdoors up here.
Besides my buds there is now two vehicles and 4-5 guys. One was wearing a Laconia bike week sweatshirt and looked like a Harley guy, I knew in his mind he was thinking "you dumbshit"
They sedate me and strap me in. Now they carry me 100 feet to the ambulance, I'm super nervous they are going to slip but they are pros.
After a very uncomfortable mile ride we are back on maintained gravel and soon afterwards slab it to the hospital.
Anyone in an urban area knows that with just a broken bone you are at the back of the line and will wait hours in the ER. Not here, Greenville Medical Center took me right away, one doctor and 3 nurses were waiting just outside the ambulance. I can't tell you how wonderful these ladies and gentlemen were to me. After marveling at my "snow boots" and praising my protection, it was time for the clothes to come off
I don't want to imagine what would have happened to my ankle if I wasn't wearing these, do they make twist proof boots
I had the boots which I dreaded to remove, but were actually easy and boy were they gentle. Next were the dakar pants and I can only describe it as merciless pain like I have never felt before, but I wasn't going to be out $150
My cheapie thermals got the scissor.
Two Xrays later and my fear was confirmed. Well not really my fear, I knew it was broken, I was just hoping I was going to walk again. Broken Fibula and Tibia. Putting the intermediate caste on was the most painful thing I've experienced to date, the doctor had to pull my leg so it would stay in the correct place while the nurses wrapped me. I was cursing that guy.
Now it was decision time. The regional hospital, Eastern Medical over in Bangor, had the doctors and tools to fix me up. They would have done it there in Greenville but they didn't have a long enough titanium rod.
My option was a 1.5 hour ambulance ride to Bangor with unknown doctors, or a grueling 10 hour car ride back to NYC where I'd have to find one.
Now I'm not putting down anyone outside NYC, but it's a fact the best medical care is there, about 45 minutes from my apartment. After calling my parents for help we decided Bangor it would be, time and 10 hours of car would just make it worse, besides the fact the car was hours away by slab.
Without me asking, Rich and Anton knew what they had to do. The bike was graciously held in the police lockup, but they would have to ride all the way back to Sutton, and come back with a trailer. I'll let them tell that saga, all I can say is I am infinitely grateful for the help from guys I had just met 4 days ago.
After hard painkillers until 4am, we set off for Bangor. Another great group. I don't really remember much after that except waking up and being shown this x-ray
Somehow they inserted a rod through the entire length of my bone and held it in place with three screws at either end. The piece of bone that broke at the bottom actually dislodged like a triangular piece of a puzzle, they held it in place and slipped the rod through.
Shortly after my dad flew in to be there for me. Rich showed up the following day with bike in tow and once released bought us lunch at his in-law's seafood restaurant. They did not have fried clams...
After a grueling plane ride and NYC traffic I was home, where I have been since last Tuesday, with another week to go before returning to work. Doc said 6 weeks no walking at all, crutches for me. I'm hoping with a good diet and diligent PT, my youngish body will fully recover quickly.
I must be crazy because I have no intention of quitting dirt riding, and unless I get too much shit from GF and family, my next yearly trip will be dirt yet again. It does make me wonder though if I'd be better served doing nearly anything else, mostly for the fright I give my mother and especially girlfriend, who now takes care of me every evening whens she gets home from work.
It used to do it, but I will never again go into the woods alone, it would have been days before someone found me. No cell reception, and in some cases you can't reach your spot tracker.