I introduced John to mountain biking. His funeral is today in Penrith. Sadly I’m stuck in Africa on business but I plan to be there when his ashes are scattered off whichever mountain his family choose.
He broke his neck going over the bars on a rock step in an area that some STW members know well. Remember, going out mountain biking isn’t about showing off for the Go-Pro and taking stupid risks; it’s about enjoying the day and coming home safely to your loved ones.
Maybe it’s because its a situation that you can all too readily identify with but that is very difficult to read without getting too deeply involved in the families loss. I hope they are coping as well as they can at the moment.
John sounded like he could not have been more experienced or more prepared for being out in the hills and like Merak say above it is a stark reminder that if this could happen to him it really could happen to any of us.
When our son aged 14 had a ski accident in January the clinic in Moutiers was full of gung-ho skiers, all young men mostly in their twenties, who had crashed while out of control at high speed, breaking many bones in their legs or shoulders. One who had multiple fractures, was even bemoaning the fact that although his GPS showed he’d been doing some ridiculous speed like 80 kph, hs Go-Pro had been switched off and he hadn’t recorded the crash. When I learned to climb the lesson that was drummed into me repeatedly was “always know your limits and never exceed them, be prepared to turn back and always have an alternative plan so that the day can be salvaged and enjoyed in safety”.
I really do believe people have seen so many emergency hospital and helicopter rescue programmes on TV that there’s been a big increase in the level of risk they are prepared to undertake.
But how many of us have tried to nail that one tiny move rather than back off and walk it or sideslip it? All of us, I’m sure.