Now normally, any mention of Cookies or cookie cutting, my mouth salivates and my overly enthusiastic physique has a little skip with delight. Sadly in this case, my stomach churns and my mind dreads what could have been to a good mate.
To set the scene, last Sunday Luke, Brian and I were off for our Sunday ride in our local park. Glenebrvie Forest. Leave passes approved, bikes set, tiny teddies packed. Life was great.
Arriving to our first major trail, a relatively gnarly, steep clay based and exposed trail, skid marks presented itself to us. Having had a week of heavy rain and trying spring conditions, Luke opted for the road inspection while Brian and I decided what could go wrong? it's only clay.
The trail itself is a relatively techie, predominantly steep down hill trail with a few corners twisting in and out of tree's and over tree roots placed in fun locations which make you have to actually ride. One corner in particular is nothing spectacular and is definitely not one you would associate with red bull hard line by any means.
Having embarked on said trail with as much enthusiasm as a summers afternoon, I soon approached a corner and subsequently pirouetted gracefully in hysterics off the trail and floundered about like a killer whale hunting seals.
Getting back to my feet I whipped the phone out and started filming brian careering down behind me and off down the trail.
Arriving at the not-so-hard corner I speak of above, Brian found himself offline subtly and slowly sliding towards a tree. A shriek of laughter rang out shortly followed up by me laughing back. Soon after all went quiet, the calls from me unanswered.....
After a moment of confusion, I arrived to find Brian holding his throat on his hands and knee's. WTF? As he fell gracefully, his handlebars decided they would align end on with his adam's apple. The rest? well... All I will say is thank F$@K!!!
My panicked mind subtly tapped at my real time mind saying, "Hey bro, this could be f#@king serious here?!" Hollywood images from movies soon set in as brian struggled to catch his breath. Was I about to perform a tracheotomy trailside while on the phone to the rescue helicopter service? What would I use? Flax, a rusty old multi tool?
Quashing my panicked mind for a second we gathered our thoughts, had a drink, urged him to head back to the car but Brian decided the hurt wasn't too bad so we carried on at a slightly more leisurely pace. After another trail of a reasonably hectic pace, and a progressively more sore throat, we decided we'd make a bee-line for the car so headed back.
Afterwards we would learn that the injury to Brian was that of fairly serious consequences. A fractured Adams apple, massive haematoma to the throat and airway and a few nights stay in the local Hospital followed by a few weeks of bed rest and no talking. (yeah, I'd be screwed with the latter).
The situation could have been potentially fatal had Brian not had a decent brand and style of grip on his bike. Grips?? Well, ya know the little plastic or aluminum end caps that come on most decent grips? they're there for a reason. No not for good looks, for safety. To avoid as the title says, cookie cutting..... (google that, you'll soon get the picture)
Over the years I have read multiple injury stories of people impaling themselves with their bars and leaving quite some damage from the thin aluminum bars. Core samples as you may. If this was the case here, I think this article may be much, much different given the damage Brian sustained from a reasonably blunt object. I hate to think what would have been otherwise...
So, moral of the story? Please, use those little end caps that come with ya poofy XC ESI grips, buy yourself some grips that have them built in, mounted on them or at a minimum replace your old half smashed ones as sometimes, it's the slow, mindless crashes that often do the most damage! Thankfully though, I'll be riding with me ole mate soon enough