Sunday, April 20, 2008

Road Rash

Oh boy does that term bring back some painful memories. But before I get to those memories, did anyone see Pozzato's road rash from Paris-Roubaix when he wiped out just before Arenberg? It looks ugly. On his right hip, and the shorts are shredded. Here's a link so you can see it. I know it may look small to you, but road rash is very painful and it looks like it's right on his hip bone too. Not fun when you've got 150 kilometres still to race and a lot of it over jarring granite cobbles.

Perhaps this post coulda been titled Skid Marks In My Skivvies, hmmmmm.

Is this going somewhere? Yes, it is. Did you know I've had some road rash too? Did you also know it happened to a young dave back in Alaska? You guessed it: another thrilling episode of...

Story Time With Unkie Dave

Side note: there will be cool birdie pics, but at least read the story first so I don't feel I've typed this in for nothin', ta.

Another side note: ta is aussie slang for 'thanks, mate'. Ooo, just had to fix a typo, I'd typed "assie" instead of "aussie", coulda confused ya.

One more side note: this is NOT a rehash of the story about when I left my face on the pavement! But you should go read it anyways cus there's lots of good stuff in it. That's back when I was writing funny stuff, not like this gunk nowadays.

Meanwhile, back in Alaska in the late 70's...

I used to xc ski, doncha know. That's cross country ski for those of you abbreviationally challenged folks. In fact, I even used to race. I was even on the high school team for 3 years. So was my brother... he shredded his shoulder whereas I shredded my knee and my ass.

This story is about the shredding of my ass. Ahem... should be some damned good google searches returning this post, eh! Ha! The knee shredding will have to wait.

I raced before the skating technique was developed. Oh sure, Bill Koch used it in 1976 to get a silver, but by 1979 it really hadn't filtered down to my level. Since everything was diagonal (or classical I think it's called now????) all the cross training was aimed at the diagonal technique. Specifically, we were all expected to be on the xc running team too. No snow? Then run with poles.

And a great summer training thing was... roller skis. Nowadays a lot of skiers use roller blades and poles for summer training, but we didn't have that luxury back in the dark ages. Heck, I remember my first pair of carbon fibre ski poles, WOW were they light! Much better than fibreglass poles.

Anywho, during the summer between my freshman and sophomore (who the hell thought up these silly assed names?) years, my parents (thanks!) bought doug (me bro) and I a pair of roller skis. Well, actually, they bought us EACH a pair of roller skis, ahem.

We tuned them in the garage and on the driveway so they'd track straight. See, if you didn't do that then one ski could go one way while the other ski went some other way and then you'd go splat on the pavement. We thought it would kinda hurt if that happened so we tuned the front wheel so they'd track straight.

Can ANYONE notice just a wee tiny bit of a certain writing technique called foreshadowing? No, you can't? Well in that case you were raised by Hollywood and the telly! I'll get off my soapbox now and back to the story.

We did a bit of back and forth along the bike path on Jewel Lake Road (in Los Anchorage) till we thought we had the hang of it. Well, doug (my older brother) had the hang of it and I was just kinda following along. Little brothers are like that...

We went on down past Caravelle, no worries so far. The roller skis tracked pretty straight and I thought I had them under control. Guess that'll teach me to think, eh! The climb up to four corners was no worries at all, very easy on them suckers.

We then started to go down the bike path where it goes past Delong Lake. Any of ya'll from that area? Remember how the path gets real steep past the old chevron gas station (I'd be shocked if it's still there), and then gets really really steep as it shoots straight downwards?

Just before it drops straight down, there's a little lip that if you're on a bike you can catch some good air on if you've for some speed going. You can ALSO get a bit of air if you are on roller skis. Whether you can land or not is irrelevant, you're going be airborne for a very brief moment. In a tuck, on roller skis, on the hard asphalt, while wearing thin short shorts.

Side note regarding short shorts: anybody remember those Nair commercials about wearing short shorts? Or am I showing my age again?

Back to the story.

But I knew you could get some air if you weren't careful! Ha! I can learn! Actually having ridden down it on a bike practically every summer day for a decade makes you learn every bump, whether you want to or not. So I was careful not to carry too much speed going into the hill, and I made it! Wee-hoo! Three cheers for me! Ok, now time to get in a good tuck and catch up to Doug (my older brother).

Remember back at the start of this story when I talked about "tuning" the roller skis so they tracked straight? You do? Good. We tuned them in a garage and a very short driveway, at low speeds, not under load... So what do you think happens when you are going very fast, over a much longer distance, and your weight is on the roller skis? C'mon, guess! Yup, you're right: they don't go straight.

Hmmmmm, such a small, innocuous clause, "they don't go straight."

What happens to the kid on the skis (who just happens to be in a tuck that's the envy of all downhillers) when the rollers skis don't track straight? In fact, they diverge... Guess what part of the 14 year old little dave hits the asphalt first at around 30 mph. Did you guess His Ass?

I didn't bounce, I didn't roll, I didn't tumble... I slid. Then I continued to slide. Then I slid some more before finally coming to a stop. Oh look, some idiot left a 30 foot long bloody streak on the bike path. Now what kinda idiot would do that? Ummmmmm, that'd be me.

My elbows were bloody, my hands were bloody, my calves were bloody, and both my butt cheeks were totally shredded. It wasn't a pretty site, lemme tell ya. If I had pics of this to post my blog would be banned! At this point, Doug (my older brother) came back after hearing what happened --of course, I imagine everyone in a ten mile radius heard the scream. Somehow we managed the mile and a half back to the house. I don't remember if I walked, or if he carried me. I probably had to walk.

This was the beginning of a couple of very painful mistakes regarding road rash. See, it took a while to hobble back home and during that time the melted, shredded shorts had sorta embedded themselves into my raw, bleeding, scrapped butt.

Next mistake: thinking that taking a cool shower will loosen the fabric from the quickly forming scab. Ah, just a word of advice to any of you who get really bad road rash: DON'T TAKE A SHOWER. 'Nuff said, eh?

Then not being able to pick the gravel and dirt out, and Doug (my older brother) wasn't gonna do it.

I distinctly remembering it hurting, just a wee bit.

Mom to the rescue! Sorta... She picked the gravel and dirt out, and then put on some antiseptic. Has anyone ever had antispectic applied to road rash? No? Well I think I'd rather have all my teeth pulled with no novacaine than EVER go through that again.

I still need to find out what she used to get the blood stains out of the carpet. But since she's not with us any longer (rest her soul), I guess I'll never know.

It was weeks before I could sit down for any length of time. Had to learn how to sleep on my stomach (my back just loved that). Do you know what happens when you roll over slightly while you are sleeping (bare, of course) and the sheet comes into contact with a big ole massive, wet, weeping scab along both your ass cheeks and the back of both thighs? Shall I tell you? Of course I shall, hell you've read this far so what's a bit more grossness between friends, eh? You wake up in the morning with the sheet glued to both your butt cheeks and the back of both thighs.

Ungluing the sheet from my behind was something I never ever want to got through ever again... Shall I just say, "ouch".

So! That's my experience with road rash. I now know that Lucas's PaPaw ointment will heal it up quick with no scarring. No, they aren't paying me, darnit. But if you do have bad road rash try to find yourself some and you'll be very happy.

This is also the reason why I don't race. I just can't get myself to bomb down twisty turny mountain roads like racers do. I can go fast uphill and pull em on the flats, but dang they blow me away going downhill (unless it's straight). Gee, do you think some experience from my youth might have something to do with that???? Just a thought.

Time for some birdie pics! Hey, y'all sat still and read that story so I can at least reward you with some cool birdie pics!


Mon said...

Uh, this story makes my measley blister I posted today seem silly. Lol. Ouch! There is nothing like road rash, and reading this made my stomach hurt!

Awesome pics as always!

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Although this one didn't hurt nearly as much as leaving my face on the pavement, nor any of the broken bone stories, I was unfortunately old enough when this happened to remember it vividly!

Got more pics soon.

Joan said...

Great gory story - foreshadowing and all!! Your humor. under the circumstances, had me in hysterics and I felt your pain at the same time! Thanks for sharing! Your description was so graphic I was able to visualize the whole bloody scene. Ouch!!!
Oh, and about that emu. It was soundless, yes? Other birds were chirping, yes? Have you ever heard emus at night? Sounds like natives drumming - really cool! The deep sound is made in their throats. My brother (sib#11) thought that raising 100 of them near Redding on another bro's property would be a good idea for the eggs and the meat - red meat but not, you know. I even did a show and tell with sib#12 in my son's 3rd grade class -out of the cage - strong kickers they have, but strong bro too. I just loved the way it sounded at night when we were trying to sleep in on those hot summer nights in NorCal. We got an Emu Serenade!