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Old 05-04-2014, 11:11 PM   #1
trc.rhubarb OP
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Dirt Noob - learning is painful

So my neighbor invited me last night to go dirtbiking with him. He has a couple of dual sports and offered me the use of his while he rode his wifes.

So at 830 this morning I hopped on his DRZ400 and we were off for Carnegie SVRA. Having never ridden a real dirtbike I was excited to check it out.

Handled like a mountain bike, sounded like a big lawnmower and was a real blast to ride. Had a top speed of about 70mph but 65 was all it was truly good for. Besides, he was on his wife's 250 which only did 65 downhill

We got there and I was pretty nervous at first but I got more and more confident as we rode through the 'riverbed' area which was lots of big rocks and loose dirt. Then he took me up up up, then down but before we finished going up, I missed a turn and went down. Was so steep, I slid about 10' down the hill.

After the long down, we got to a place called practice hill with several paths of increasing difficulty heading up what looked to me like near vertical hill. I tried the easiest and got right up... then I tried another and another with deep dirt, whoops and a longer steeper run. The bike knew just what to do even if I didn't.

Anyhow, further on we got separated because I got nervous and slowed way down at one spot. I made a left when I should have made a right and before I knew it, I wasn't on the bunny slopes anymore. I was on an advanced section and unfortunately fully committed. I was on a downhill path about 8" wide that was dirt so thick, the bike went down even with the rear wheel locked. It also had some big boulders in it. I'd say it was about 300 feet or so top to bottom and about 20' from the bottom my foot caught a big boulder and that was that. Ass over tea kettle and into an unseen ditch that was overgrown with weeds landing square on my shoulder against the berm. It made a really nice CRUNCH sound when I landed.

About 5 minutes went by before I could sit up (my head felt 100lbs) and nobody was around... I heard later it's because 'red sticker season' is closed. Finally some guys came by and checked on me, they insisted I get up and rest elsewhere because there are rattlesnakes everywhere. So I struggled to my feet and got the bike down the hill. My friend found me and we headed down, I was hurting pretty bad. Got to the park store, aired up the tires and got a drink then headed home; about 1h20m and I had to stop 3 times to catch my breath.

When I got home, the pain hit even harder and I could barely move... nearly passed out in the shower. I spent the afternoon in the ER and got xrays followed by a high contrast dye CT scan.

End result is that I have 2 broken ribs (5&6 from the top) and its so painful that even the dilaudid they gave me after the fentanyl didn't work also didn't do much to take the edge off.

Just got home and wow does it hurt...
Still, was an awesome day filled with fear, excitement, accomplishments and pain. I see a small dual-sport like a DRZ in my future... I've got 4-6 weeks of healing first though.

Not sure if this makes sense or not... I've had 1 dose of fentanyl, 2 of dilaudid and 2 vicodins since 3pm today.
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:25 AM   #2
NJ-Brett
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People generaly start dirt riding on some easy flat trails and work up from there.
Is your friend a doctor that has a big boat payment due?

Ribs suck, but they seem to heal up fine and without long term issues.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:03 PM   #3
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haha, he's been a long time rider and I think he's forgotten what was easy vs hard.
We were on the trails labeled as beginner... until I wasn't anymore

Feeling a lot better today... as long as I don't move.

I guess I have it bad, I've been on craigslist all morning looking at smaller dualsports. Trying to decipher all the models is proving to be a daunting task though. At least it's something to do while I heal up. I don't have a car so I figure a few more days until I can ride into the office.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:03 PM   #4
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Ribs seem to be a common problem with dirt bikes, I spent the first two years of dirt riding (started when I was 50) carrying either broken or cracked rib injuries.
Tip 1: Buy a pressure suit and knee armour before you go back out to minimise the down time!
Tip 2: ride an electric start bike, it's somewhat difficult to kick start a bike when you only have one leg that wants to work.....

Have fun!
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:10 PM   #5
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Did you wear any kind of body armor?

Hope you heal up fast.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:21 PM   #6
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Was fully armored. Back, shoulder, Chest, Elbow, hip and knee. Of course gloves, boots and a helmet.
I have no other injuries and no bruising at all. Armor did well but landing shoulder first against a berm was beyond it's capabilities. I have an EVS G6 pressure suit but didn't wear it because we had to travel so far on the roads to get there. In this case, I don't think it would have helped any.

I was on a DRZ400 - which I liked a lot. I might get one myself once I heal up.

My wife can't understand how I can break my ribs first time out and now want to do more of it
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:27 PM   #7
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deja vu besides the "crashed and hurt myself part"

personally haven't rode dirt since i was 16 but i just bought a dr200se this winter. Just yesterday, of course my buddy (with a drz400) didn't waste anytime and took me straight to the tight technical stuff (knarly single track, log hopping, steep hills with loose rock, etc). we had a great time and i would do it all over again today if i could
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trc.rhubarb View Post
My wife can't understand how I can break my ribs first time out and now want to do more of it
Sounds perfectly normal to me!

Before you buy a DRZ look at something lighter if it will work for you, every lb you save on bike weight gives you 30 minutes more riding time in a day, those bastard things put on weight as the day progress'.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:38 PM   #9
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Yes, for some impact crashes, gear will not help much if at all.
And when you get older, it can be much worse because bones break easier.

I did the same crash, a sort of high side into the next whoop, at low speed, the bike drilled me into the ground in a sudden stop, not the slide a while stuff, more like a big splat!
5 broken ribs, broken clavicle and scapula, spine plus other stuff.

If I wore a giant foam suit, that might have helped.

Guys who ride in rocks and so on sometimes end up with broken legs, and high sides often end up with something in the shoulder broken, so you were real lucky.

Out of all the things I have broken, ribs cause the least problem after the heal. Don't get a cold though...


Quote:
Originally Posted by trc.rhubarb View Post
Was fully armored. Back, shoulder, Chest, Elbow, hip and knee. Of course gloves, boots and a helmet.
I have no other injuries and no bruising at all. Armor did well but landing shoulder first against a berm was beyond it's capabilities. I have an EVS G6 pressure suit but didn't wear it because we had to travel so far on the roads to get there. In this case, I don't think it would have helped any.

I was on a DRZ400 - which I liked a lot. I might get one myself once I heal up.

My wife can't understand how I can break my ribs first time out and now want to do more of it
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:58 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice and kind words everyone.

My concern about a lighter bike is finding something I can do at least 60mph on. I live a long way from any legal areas to ride so I need a dualsport. Otherwise I'd have to also buy a truck. We only have my wifes car and if I'm out, she needs it. I'm not sold on anything yet but would like a mild mannered but torquey dual sport. The DRZ was nice and honestly, I thought a KLR650 was in my future but now know that 400 can do it but just barely.

I need to start researching bikes more to figure out which are the mild mannered ones. I'm also 6'2 and 300lbs (working on that), so even the DRZ felt small. I'm hoping to be in the less than 3k category for a 4 stroke, street legal beast that is in good mechanical and who cares cosmetic condition. Garage is full with the other bikes so this one will have to live outdoors. Wife wants me to sell one and says 4 is the limit... they are all so different it's hard to get rid of one.

At 42, I better learn quickly before I get hurt too badly Funny part is that I want to do this so that I feel more comfortable on the GS.

Hopefully this will be my only thread over here for a long while but I can say at least 4 weeks!
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:25 PM   #11
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Given that information the DRZ is an excellent choice, go for it! If you can, allow for the suspension to be set up for your weight it will pay back in a far safer and easier bike to ride.

Sell the american tractor, I approve of the other bikes (I own a 900SS, R100GS and a 450 KTM)
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:36 PM   #12
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I thought the drz was tall and top heavy.

Any 250 will be able to do 60 mph, but for a big heavy guy, maybe the drz is a good pick.
The euro bikes are lighter and faster though.
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Old 05-05-2014, 03:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
I thought the drz was tall and top heavy.

Any 250 will be able to do 60 mph, but for a big heavy guy, maybe the drz is a good pick.
The euro bikes are lighter and faster though.
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:25 PM   #14
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Don't forget to do three deep breaths every hour you are awake. You don't want pneumonia on top of broken ribs.
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:03 PM   #15
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Faster I don't need - this had just the right amount of power to keep me out of trouble... lighter, sounds fun but I probably shouldn't outweigh the bike. it might give me a complex

Thanks for the reminder on the breathing thing. They gave me this "inspired volume" meter thing I'm supposed to breathe through every 10m while I'm awake.

I might sell the Harley but I've always had one and I do love it. It's got almost 50k miles on it, so not sure what it's worth. People don't seem to like high mileage HD's. High mileage meaning more than 10k miles. The Duc and I have never bonded but she's a lot of fun in short bursts and with just 4k miles on it, I can probably get good money for it. R90 is another fun one for shorter rides but it needs some money if i'm going to do more than 200 mile or so days on it.. GS is going nowhere... that I know for sure! It's getting close to 70k miles and now that all the bad stuff broke, it's good for another 70+k.
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