Purple

Today’s post may be unsafe for work. I’m not sure. Depends on your work, and whether you have someone looking over your shoulder who is very offended by the very thought of certain anatomical realities.

I can safely say, however, that if today’s post had photos, it definitely would be not safe for work. So, a promise from the outset: today’s post will not have photos.

You’re welcome.

With that out of the way, I need to do some disclaiming. Today’s post requires that we acknowledge a part men have that women don’t. Yes, you are correct: today I will, in fact, mention the portion of the male anatomy that is often called a “penis.” Although, to make you more comfortable with this post — I understand some people find the word “penis” offensive and prefer to not ever hear or see the word “penis” at all — I will not use the word “penis” throughout this post. Instead, I will use a codeword for “penis.” The word I will substitute for “penis” throughout this post is “snipe,” which I have chosen because it is an anagram of the word “penis.”

By the way, “pines” is also an anagram of “penis,” but I chose not to use it, because it is plural, which would be confusing. Also, it could be considered unnecessarily metaphorical, not to mention boastful.

So, “snipe” it is. And I’m going to stop putting quotes around the word snipe, because hitting the quote key twice per word so often is a lot of work.

Also, one final disclaimer: I am not just talking about any snipe. I am talking about my snipe. So, if you find you are capable of reading a story about a generic snipe but not about an actual snipe belonging to a beloved, multiple-award-winning cycling blog celebrity, you have two obvious options:

  1. Stop reading.
  2. Pretend I’m actually talking about someone else. A fictional someone, even.

You also have an easy third option, which is to read this post and then send me an angry email, saying you simply cannot fathom how I would dare to write about my snipe. But since I am about 1900 email messages in arrears at the present time, your message may not receive the attention it deserves, at least not in a timely manner.

And now, at long last, on to the story.

My Third-Most Painfully Memorable Crash

Among the strange-but-true axioms of mountain biking is this: Slow crashes can be every bit as painful as fast ones. If you’re not moving in the horizontal plane quickly — or at all — your body can take the vertical brunt of your fall in one place.

Thus, while my most painful crash of all — rocketing off the road and down a boulder-strewn embankment — was definitely fast, my second-most painful crash happened at approximately zero miles per hour: I stalled out and fell over sideways while attempting a technical move on Porcupine Rim, and separated my shoulder on impact.

And my third-most painful crash — which is the subject of today’s post and to which I swear I will eventually get around to talking about — was low-speed, as well.

The reason for the crash was quite ordinary, as was the crash itself. Namely, it was an uphill endo.

Specifically, I was climbing Tibble Fork. About a mile and a half up the trail, there is an eight-inch ledge where an exposed root crosses the trail. On its own merits, there’s nothing especially difficult about this ledge. But, since you’ve just done an incredibly difficult 1.5 miles of climbing by the time you get to that ledge, the level of difficulty for cleaning it rises significantly.

Anyway, as I approached the ledge I wheelied to put the front tire over the root and onto the trail beyond.

But not high enough.

My front wheel hit the root solidly, bringing the front of the bike’s momentum to a halt. The front wheel magically became a fulcrum at that moment, levering me up and — partially — over the bike.

I then, naturally, crashed down heavily, landing with my center of gravity — located at that moment at my snipe, alas — on my bike’s stem.

Eventually, I hit the ground. And commenced to writhe. The pain was so overwhelming that I really, honestly, thought I had severed my snipe’s ancillary componentry. I had waves of nausea. I groaned. I expressed interest in dying, right there, just to be done with it.

Looking back, perhaps I should upgrade this crash to second-most painful. I’m pretty sure that, at the moment of impact at least, it hurt worse than separating a shoulder.

After some time — minutes? hours? days? — I found that I no longer wished for death, and found furthermore that I could stand without feeling like I would heave.

And in fact, after verifying that my snipe and all associated hardware were present and — amazingly — intact, I finished the ride.

The Next Day

Aside from some expected soreness, my snipe gave me no special reason to pay attention to it for the rest of the day. And so I did not. Pay it special attention, I mean.

Overnight, however, a change occurred.

The thing is, though, while the change was as startling as it was obvious, it was located in such a place that I could not exactly show it off to strangers in the street. At least, not without legal consequences.

However, there was one person who I knew would appreciate what had happened. And so I called Dug into my office — we both worked in the same building, on the same floor at Novell at the time, and as you may expect accomplished a lot every single day — and said, “You have to see this.”

Then, I made appropriate disclaimers about how what I was about to do should be in no way construed as anything untoward, nor should any undue significance be attributed to said action.

After which I of course showed Dug my snipe.

Which was completely, entirely, and utterly the deepest, darkest purple imaginable.

I had planned to ask Dug whether he thought maybe I should go see a doctor, but I then thought better of it, because Dug was collapsed on the floor, laughing so hard he could not breathe.

To this day, I fear uphill endos more than any other kind of bike crash.

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