Crash Report: Loon Lake, Rubicon Trail



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T

Trekkie Dad

Guest
July 4, 2003

I hate this trail. It¹s a hard ride, and every time I ride it, I come back bloodied. I¹d done it
twice before, and some insanity had taken me over when I agreed to do it again.

³Can we go back now?² I cried shortly after we started on the Loon Lake trail. A quarter-mile in, I
had already scraped my right knee in my first fall, and I could feel the bleeding under the fabric
of my tights. (I had worn them to ward off the inevitable scratches that come from riding the brushy
sections of this brutal trail.) Larry and Rory were already well ahead of me, so of course they
didn¹t hear my complaints.

So I kept going, mostly pushing the bike and occasionally riding it. Now and then it was
occasionally pleasant with some spectacular views of Loon Lake‹as long as we didn¹t stop long enough
to let the mosquitoes find us. After working our way out of the lake basin, we descended on an
abandoned road that was paved with small granite boulders. It was a miracle that I hadn¹t gone down
in this rock pile of a trail, though there were a few close calls. Finally, we got to the cross
trail that was to take us to the Rubicon (jeep) trail near Buck Island Lake. I was feeling hungry,
and soon we would stop for lunch

When we got to the jeep trail, Rory decided to head toward a nearby jeepers¹ camp, and Larry and I
followed. The ³road² was dusty, rutted, and potholed, but at least it wasn¹t covered in rocks, so I
let the bike build up some speed on a gentle downhill.

BAM! Without warning an unseen hole swallowed my front wheel, and I went over the bars and landed
squarely on my right shoulder. Pain erupted there and shot through me like an electric shock.

Irma, a jeeper who had witnessed my fall, ran over and asked if I was all right. I was moving my
right arm with some success and a lot of pain, so I answered, ³I don¹t think so.² She pulled the
bike off me, brought me a small bottle of water and asked who I was riding with. As soon as I gave
her Larry¹s name she was yelling it out loud. Larry, Rory, and several others came running. While I
sat there Rory was cautiously feeling my shoulder and said, ³Looks like he broke his collarbone.² I
asked for the ibuprofen in my pack and swallowed two of them. I felt myself breaking out into a cold
sweat, so I said, ³I¹m feeling shocky. I need to lie down.² One of the jeepers‹Jim, I think‹helped
me up by the left arm and helped me to lie down in the shade in front of a jeep. Out came ice packs
for my shoulder and another bottle of water to drink.

It was clear to everyone present that I would not be leaving under my own power, and they started
working out a plan for a rescue. Cell phones were useless. Radio contact to Loon Lake was
problematic, so one jeeper drove back to Spider Lake (about 45 minutes away) to establish a relay
and call for an airlift. Meanwhile, I had started to shiver, so I asked for a blanket, and one was
quickly produced along with a Mickey Mouse pillow. Someone offered me a cold peach, which I ate
after the shock subsided. As long as I lay still, there wasn¹t much pain. I was about as comfortable
as one could be lying on the ground with the occasional carpenter ant crawling over me.

While waiting for help, names and numbers were exchanged, arrangements were made for transport of my
bike and other gear, Rory took pictures, and Irma got out her video camera. We joked around a bit,
and I complained about being referred to as ³an elderly gentleman² over the radio. One of the guys
was asking me if I wouldn¹t mind tightening a few bolts on the jeep while I was under it. Another
offered to buy my bike cheap, since it looked like I wouldn¹t need it.

I could see the helicopter circling about before it landed in a nearby clearing and two men clad in
navy came up an introduced themselves. Frank asked me how I was doing, and I replied, ³I¹ve been
better.² I told him I could probably sit up, but guessed that would not be allowed. He questioned
Irma and me about what had happened. At no time had I lost consciousness, and I had full recall of
the fall, though I had been in shock. He explained what was about to happen: the neck brace,
backboard, and the IV.

As I was being prepared for transport, the helicopter was moved to a better site, and Frank
recruited volunteers to carry me to the landing site. They had to slog through a stream, and Frank
gave them explicit instructions as to how to approach the helicopter safely.

Being loaded on the copter felt like being slid into a drawer, and my head and upper body appeared
in the cabin beneath Frank¹s seat. He laid an oxygen mask on my face and placed electrodes on my
chest while explaining that the flight would take about ten to fifteen minutes. A blood pressure
cuff on my left arm inflated and deflated at regular intervals.

Soon we arrived at the hospital. ³Nice landing,² I said, and I suggested they install a mirror on
the ceiling of the copter so future ³passengers² could see where they were going. A whole new set of
faces appeared as I was transferred to an emergency room bed. Each person introduced himself, and
the nurse in charge informed me that I would be taken of the board as soon as the doctor approved.

After being questioned, examined, and poked and prodded from head to toe, I was relieved they found
no other injuries. (I did request that my knee be cleaned up, though.) X-rays revealed a broken
clavicle (just as Rory suspected), but other than a sling, ice packs, a cleanup of the knee, and
pain pills, no treatment was offered. I was discharged but allowed to stay in the emergency room
until the bed was needed. I was offered a turkey sandwich and a soda, which I gladly accepted. I
also had use of the phone, so I could check on the progress of being picked up and taken home.

It took Rory and Larry four hours to get back to Loon Lake and about two more to drive to the
hospital. By then I had given up my ER bed and was sitting in the waiting room with my x-rays,
prescription, discharge papers, ice pack, and pain-pill-to-go. On the way out of town we stopped for
a bite, and Rory fell asleep in the back seat while Larry had to listen to me recount the experience
all the way home.

Did I tell you I hate this trail?

For pics and info about the trail, and to read Rory's account, go to: http://www.tahoebike.com Click
on the link Loon Lake Loop at the bottom.

TD feeling better day by day

--
[email protected] World Without Cars Dictionary of Vandemisms (2001) is available at:
http://trekkiedad.freeservers.com/wwc.html ICQ# available on request
 
P

P E T E F A G E

Guest
On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 01:29:42 GMT, Trekkie Dad <[email protected]> wrote:

|July 4, 2003

| I could feel the bleeding under the fabric of my tights.

Tights? July 4th?

Good God man!

Maybe the MTB Gods decided to punish you for excessive fredliness?
 
G

Gabrielle

Guest
On Wed, 09 Jul 2003 18:29:42 -0700, Trekkie Dad wrote:

> BAM! Without warning an unseen hole swallowed my front wheel, and I went over the bars and landed
> squarely on my right shoulder. Pain erupted there and shot through me like an electric shock.

Crikey.

Heal quickly and well.

gabrielle
 
P

Pete

Guest
"Trekkie Dad" <[email protected]> wrote
>
> BAM! Without warning an unseen hole swallowed my front wheel, and I went over the bars and landed
> squarely on my right shoulder. Pain erupted there and shot through me like an electric shock.

OUCH!

> TD feeling better day by day

Heal quickly.

Pete
 
M

Mike Demicco

Guest
Trekkie Dad <[email protected]> wrote in news:trekkiedad-
[email protected]:

> July 4, 2003
>
> I hate this trail. It¹s a hard ride, and every time I ride it, I come back bloodied. I¹d done it
> twice before, and some insanity had taken me over when I agreed to do it again.

Yep, I did this ride about 5 years ago with Bob Ward/Hairbrain Adventures. He called it the Loon
Lake Death Ride and March. I biffed more than a few times and probably walked more than rode.
Contrast this with some techno dude who claimed in rec.bikes.off-road that it was easy and he rode
all but 100 yards - although he came across like he was pretty much a legend in his own mind. YMMV.
 
T

Trekkie Dad

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
P e t e F a g e r l i n <[email protected]> wrote:

> On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 01:29:42 GMT, Trekkie Dad <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> |July 4, 2003
>
> | I could feel the bleeding under the fabric of my tights.
>
> Tights? July 4th?
>
> Good God man!
>
> Maybe the MTB Gods decided to punish you for excessive fredliness?
>
>

LOL

Hey, I KNEW I was destined to fall. The tights have neoprene inserts sewn in, and are pretty good
at protecting from minor scratches. If only the neoprene covered the knees...but then they wouldn't
be flexible.

I also wore protective covering on my arms--sort of like arm warmers but with an open weave and
padding over the elbows and forearms. Also full-fingered gloves.

Even on July 4, that getup was not uncomfortably warm at that elevation.

Next year you can go in my place.

TD (if only I'd been on the road, where I belong)

--
[email protected] World Without Cars Dictionary of Vandemisms (2001) is available at:
http://trekkiedad.freeservers.com/wwc.html ICQ# available on request
 
P

P E T E F A G E

Guest
On 10 Jul 2003 03:55:22 GMT, Mike DeMicco <[email protected]> wrote:

|Trekkie Dad <[email protected]> wrote in news:trekkiedad-
|[email protected]:
|
|> July 4, 2003
|>
|> I hate this trail. It¹s a hard ride, and every time I ride it, I come back bloodied. I¹d done
|> it twice before, and some insanity had taken me over when I agreed to do it again.
|
|Yep, I did this ride about 5 years ago with Bob Ward/Hairbrain Adventures. |He called it the Loon
Lake Death Ride and March. I biffed more than a few |times and probably walked more than rode.
Contrast this with some techno |dude who claimed in rec.bikes.off-road that it was easy and he
rode all but
|100 yards - although he came across like he was pretty much a legend in his
|own mind. YMMV.

Sounds like Mark Weaver's description. Given his level of riding, I don't doubt the veracity of
his report.
 
J

J'M Sm'Th

Guest
P e t e F a g e r l i n wrote:
>
> On 10 Jul 2003 03:55:22 GMT, Mike DeMicco <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> |Trekkie Dad <[email protected]> wrote in news:trekkiedad-
> |[email protected]:
> |
> |> July 4, 2003
> |>
> |> I hate this trail. It¹s a hard ride, and every time I ride it, I come back bloodied. I¹d done
> |> it twice before, and some insanity had taken me over when I agreed to do it again.
> |
> |Yep, I did this ride about 5 years ago with Bob Ward/Hairbrain Adventures. |He called it the Loon
> Lake Death Ride and March. I biffed more than a few |times and probably walked more than rode.
> Contrast this with some techno |dude who claimed in rec.bikes.off-road that it was easy and he
> rode all but
> |100 yards - although he came across like he was pretty much a legend in his
> |own mind. YMMV.
>
> Sounds like Mark Weaver's description. Given his level of riding, I don't doubt the veracity of
> his report.

Weaver ever get off of the motorcycle and back on a bike?

--
J'm

To Reply Direct, Remove Clothes. ...-.-
 
P

P E T E F A G E

Guest
On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 15:06:56 -0500, J'm Sm'th <[email protected]> wrote:

Contrast this with some techno
|> |dude who claimed in rec.bikes.off-road that it was easy and he rode all but
|> |100 yards - although he came across like he was pretty much a legend in his
|> |own mind. YMMV.
|>
|> Sounds like Mark Weaver's description. Given his level of riding, I don't doubt the veracity of
|> his report.
|
|Weaver ever get off of the motorcycle and back on a bike?

Not that I have heard.

The last word available on the 'net:

http://www.geocities.com/Pipeline/3195/
 
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