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I'm a consulting geologist for a small company in the Denver area. I study problems related to active tectonics, using geomorphology, structural geology and remote sensing.

Monday, August 21, 2006

tails from the butte

below is my account of the saddle-snapping i eluded to in the previous post. I got an email from a concerned family member/reader/rider and so i clarified... i thought i'd share.

yeah... the saddle snapping experience was one of those life-flashing-before-your-eyes moments. basically it played out like this:

we rode a trail called, simply, "401". the ride to the trail starts with a 6 mile climb from one of the valleys leading out from town, up to about 11300 feet. then some steep single-track leads to the crest of the actual 401 trail. the next 6-7 miles is a hair-raising, death-defying and all too fun descent along an 8-12 inch wide single-track that sort of skirts the side of the mountain. the trail occasionally crosses small drainages... and it was at one of these drainages where the trail took a small series of three turns around the miniature gorge and gully where i happened to be carrying a little too much speed through the corner. on the last left hand corner (the exit was actually up a little lip or jump-shaped ramp. the slope dropped off to the righthand side) i unwittingly launched my ride into space. expecting the trail after the lip of the ramp to continue in the same line (it didn't), i realized my mistake mid-air and pulled the bike back towards the trail as much as possible, and as soon as my front wheel missed the trail i exited the cockpit post-haste, in what the only witness to this mishap described as, "probably the most well executed front-flip / rolling fall in a dangerous situation" he had ever seen. essentially i flipped off the bike and landed basically ass/feet first on the very steep and (thankfully) well vegetated slope immediately preceding the rocky and precitous drop into the drainage gully, and slid about 10-15 feet down-slope with my arms spread out behind me to stabilize and steer myself. my bike (since i had flipped over the front of it) came down behind in a fairly controlled manner and i was actually able to grab it and stop it from finishing the ride without me.

so, all in all it was a near tragedy that was averted through tuck-and-roll reflexes and a whole lot of luck. i did hurt my calf muscle in when i smashed it into either a rock or hit it on the bike during my ejection, and my ultralight hundred dollar saddle suffered from a snapped nose, but those are acceptable consequences considering what could have happened.

i haven't really gone on a serious ride on that bike since then, mostly because i don't have a saddle on it anymore... but i'm looking forward to replacing it very soon and getting back out on the trail.


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