Scoot Commute

I have to stop falling off my motorcycle

Posted in Pleasure Ride, Ride Reports, Suzuki DR-Z400SM (Elsa) by sbahn on 2011/10/17
Forced to pose above the beast, my beloved Elsa the DRZ400

Forced to pose above the beast, my beloved Elsa the DRZ400

So, I hurt my right shoulder about a month ago. I was at a camp-and-ride and thought, “Why the hell not try the rocky death loop that all the boys who’ve been riding since their umbilical cords were cut ride on a regular basis? It can’t be that bad.” Well, let’s just say, I don’t think I’ll ever understand that kind of riding. Sand, yeah, I get it. Single-track in the trees (like Hodges Village dam), yeah, I get it. Easy, relaxed double track through the woods where you can see pheasants, yeah, I get it.

But rocky death? The first time I ever rode rocky death was on the CT90 in Wrentham because that was supposedly the easiest of the three local Massachusetts trails. It was like riding in a dry riverbed. I kept at it because I was on the Honda Trail and it weighs nothing. Easy to pick up and easy to paddle through. But this time, on a big bike to me (the DRZ 400 with S wheels), doing the Pachaug Loop, boy was I in waaaaaay over my head.

I was doing ok, getting through things, even though falling over and over and over into the mud puddles (thanks Matt for getting the bike upright every time). But the rocks, dahamn, I had no idea how to handle them.

Toward the end of the section we were riding, where my head was just sort of screaming “What the hell! How do you even pick a line in this nightmare?!”, I came up over a little hill and suddenly found the front wheel up into the trees and the rear wheel still in rocks which was about a foot lower. As I saw the trees coming toward me I’m certain I grabbed front brake (don’t grab a handful of front brake, dumb dumb dumb) and that was that. I was flying over the handlebars with enough time to think “Don’t let your head hit the rocks.”

Packed up and ready to head home on Sunday morning

Packed up and ready to head home on Sunday morning

I remember lying there a moment, just a moment, as I pulled my chin into my chest to make sure my helmet hadn’t hit the rocks when it occurred to me that I should hit the kill switch. That’s right, the DRZ was still running. Then I lied back down in the dirt. The second thought I had was, “Oh, you should probably turn the bike off as the light is still on” so I pulled myself back up and crawled over to turn the key.

Then I lied back again in the dirt and rocks. Just sort of listening to myself breathe. I could hear the guys in front of me, brrrrappp brrrrrappp and I figured, eventually, they’ll discover I’m no longer behind them.

It seemed like minutes but I’m sure it was only a minute or even less, when I thought, “Hey, you should really get up and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Your bike is mating with a tree and your shoulder is on fire but the guys do this shit every weekend. Suck it up.” And with that, I pulled my torso up and sat on the ground breathing. I was not going to cry.

Eventually the guys came back and to my surprise, they were both concerned if I was hurt. I really had no idea if I was hurt or not. I just knew my shoulder was causing me great pain. I asked them if they would mind, terribly, getting my bike in some kind of upright position so I could ride out.

The boys that tried to leave my body parts and the DRZ400SM parts all over Pachaug

The boys that tried to leave my body parts and the DRZ400SM parts all over Pachaug

And then I came to my senses. I looked at Matt, who had walked back to me, and said, “Dude, you’re gonna have to ride her [Elsa] out for me. I can’t do it.” That was hard for me because I really wanted to be able to do it, but all I could see was rock after rock after rock and the jarring pain that would cause. Little did I know we had almost finished the rocks and it was the fun, pine-needle-strewn-whoops section. Oh well, I got to walk it.

I am proud to announce that I managed to ride the bike on the gravel campground roads back to camp. And I wasn’t alone when I got back as one of the other guys was back already from his group ride because his arm was numb (another long story that involves squid). My boys left me in good hands and not too soon after, the boyfriend showed up, alone, as his riding partner had decided to go back home after too much exploration in mud puddles.

100 miles and a night sleeping on the ground, I'm finally back home and looking forward to some strong medicine

100 miles and a night sleeping on the ground, I'm finally back home and looking forward to some strong medicine

Sleeping that night was ok, on the ground (thanks Big Agnes!), even though I was very careful to not imbibe too much. And I managed to pack up and ride home the next day on the lovely groomed CT DEM park roads and some dirt roads I know in Rhode Island. That was nice to share with the boyfriend.

But here I am, 30 days later, and it was healing until yesterday. So don’t be stupid and ride with boyz who will whoop your ass before your injury has healed.

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One Response

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  1. circleblue said, on 2011/10/19 at 10:13 pm

    Well, I was wondering how you hurt your shoulder. Now I know. But, I don’t like the foreshadowing this post ends with. This can’t be good.


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