May 08, 2019 4 min read
It all started with the most glorious of camping trips. I’m talkin' about a place where the La Croix flows like wine, where the flies instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talkin' about Big Sur! Okay, the flies weren’t that bad, but forgetting bug spray was certainly a mistake. We scored the best spot and had an ideal setup with the Tepui tent popped open, bikes leaned on a nearby tree, and the truck packed full of snacks. We spent two days up in the mountains riding, hammocking, and shooting at cans with a bb gun.
Eventually we packed up shop and descended out on the mountains en route back to Santa Cruz. We pulled off the main road that led back to the highway for a little swim and then decided to continue on the dirt road for a while. Lets call it the “scenic route” that also included some creek crossings. The first two crossings were cake, it wasn’t until the third where trouble struck. This one was a little bit deeper than the other two, but seemed passable. All was going well until about three-quarters of the way through when the engine stopped and then the car stopped and then the shits and giggles also, stopped. Now we’re stranded in the water and about a mile or two off the main road. I hightailed it out the window of the car, grabbed my bike that was hanging over the tailgate and pinned it out to the main road to find help. After being shrugged off by the first jeep and it’s redneck trifecta within help came rolling down the road in the form of Ron, Mary Jane, and their dog. Im guessing they were in their 70s and were happy to help. Ron was driving a new Dodge 2500 Turbo Diesel truck and even had a new tow strap he was excited to use! His setup was ideal for pulling idiots out of creeks and other sticky situations.
Long story short we get pulled out to the main road with spotty cell service and after giving up hope on the truck starting we call a town truck and wait a couple hours them to show up. I really wasn’t sure what was wrong with the truck. I knew I hadn’t hydro locked the engine since the water wasn’t deep enough for the intake to be submerged. The only thing I knew was that the engine wouldn’t turn over. It wasn’t until the truck was tilted upward being pulled onto the tow truck that water and oil poured out of somewhere…I quickly ran over and stuck my head under the truck to see a massive hole in the upper oil pan. The hole is in such a high and protected area the only conclusion I can draw is that the oil pan was super hot and when we hit the water it cooled so quick it cracked and then sucked a bunch of water in until the engine finally seized and quit on us. So now I’m in the market for a new engine. Give me a shout if you have a spare Toyota 4.7L V8 engine sitting around!
So this whole debacle went down on Friday. Saturday I woke up with the feelings of sorrow and regret still fresh. I gutted my truck down to the metal floor to dry and prevent and funk. Did I forget to mention that the truck floor also flooded when it was bathing in the creek? With the truck set to dry out for a couple days I got back to training with my rest week coming to an end. Bicycles have always had a way of calming me and placing all worries in the rear view.
They do say that stupid hurts, but what they don’t tell you is that its also expensive. Lucky for me there was a big local cross country race with a pretty good payout. All I needed to do was win and the prize money would slightly nullify my questionable judgement calls earlier in the week. I have won this race before and know all the trials like the back of my hand, but I always like to pre ride and make sure I have the course dialed. Tuesday I went out to rip another practice lap before Saturday’s race. I was looking at a new line through the only gnarly descent section of the course and had a sweet new way to straighten out this tricky chicane before a rock and rooty drop. All was going well until it wasn’t. Still not entirely sure how I messed it up, but I did. I got tossed off the drop totally sideways and slapped real hard. See below photo for what it looks like when you don’t mess up. I jumped up and an eerily familiar twinge was coming from my left shoulder. I wasn’t really sure what it was, but I knew it wasn’t good. The last time I broke my collarbone it took about 20 minutes to really start hurting so all I knew was that I needed compose myself and get home asap. It was about a ten mile ride home out of the trials.
A quick visit to urgent care confirmed my suspicion…It was my collarbone. A much more minor break than the last time, but a break nonetheless. I cracked the end of my collarbone off. The bad news is it is broken, the good news is that I am already back on the bike with the doctor’s approval. We’ll just have to chalk this one up as a minor hiccup.
So after making one of the biggest mistakes of my adult like (killing my truck), I decided to go out and kill my other collarbone. All is a week’s work my friends. Not much I can do at this point but look back and laugh at how bad the week was. My bone will heal and the truck, well its only money and we will all be back on the road in no time. The sun is finally out and things can really only get better from here!
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