Ah, yesterday... It was that kind of day. Beautiful weather, wonderful riding friends, and a trail that couldn't have been better (although to be nit picky it was bit dry for my liking).
I drove up to meet with some friends and their friends-who are now my friends-to ride at one of the better places around. Blue Mountain Reserve is about an hour and forty minutes from my front door, but worth every minute of the ride. It's rocky, but not overly so, with some great rollers, and sweet single track that at times is swoopy and fast, but at others steep and tight. It's got technical climbs and descents, and things that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, but it also has tame trails that make you look around and appreciate the Spring that has come. It's a wonderful place that leaves me with a smile every time I leave-even after what happened yesterday.
One of the guys we rode out with, Jeff, was about equal in ability to me. I say this (not to sound like a jerk) because most of the guys I ride with aren't as good as I am technically or have as much stamina as I do riding wise. Not that it matters, I still enjoy their company immensely, but it's nice to have someone of an equal or greater skill set that know the trail to push you. Needless to say, Jeff and I were fast friends and rode together very well. The guy is an animal and I was stoked to be shown the trail and new lines by someone who's been riding for well over 20 years.
Like any ride where you're pushing yourself, there's always the possibility that you may go down. I had a few tumbles and miscues, but nothing too major. Then it came. Something stupid and freakish (they always are right?). As we rounded a simple corner on the single track, I struck a downed tree with my foot, the exposed roots of which tore into my light weight XC shoes, slamming into my toes. It hurt like hell, but I didn't think much of it. I've had incidents like that before, and I've always come away with nothing more than a stubbed toe, a torn sock, and a story. Looking down, the shoe was ripped apart, but still ridable. I didn't think anything of it, ignored the pain, and sprinted to catch back up with Jeff.
We probably rode for another half hour or so, got back to the trail head and chatted some more. After a while I took the shoe off to asses the damage, saw nothing more than a few cuts on swollen toes, rinsed them with water and called it a day. Nothing out of the ordinary for certain.
After getting home, I got into the shower, washed up, and started to clean out the cuts on the toes with some soap and water. Scrubbing them, I spread apart the two toes that took the majority of the slam from the tree to find that I could see inside my foot. That's right, tendons, ligaments and all. Greeeeaaaaatttt.... Here comes the ER visit!
Got to the ER last night and would spend the majority of it there. The nurses were nice, the doctors were nice, and even the other people in the waiting room were nice. What will not be nice is the bill I get in a couple weeks. The irony in all of this is that I'm in-between health insurances and the new one starts tomorrow. Sweet. The important thing in this all is that I'm ok and that I'll be riding again soon. It was a total freak thing that I don't think I could ever do again if I tried. Just another step on life's journey I suppose.