Recently I went to Rotorua for a weekend of riding which started with carnage and ended with carnage. The plan was to get their early sat morning and make the most of the our time in mountain biking heaven. I was picked up around 630am and was on SHWY1 by 7am, which meant on the trails by at least 10:30am. A quick breakie stop in Matamata and we were on the shuttle by 10:30am as planned. With the bikes loaded on the trailer we were sitting on the bus with anticipation of the trails to come, when a rider approached the bus driver with the news that a young kid hurt himself on one of the trails.
Luckily for the young fella one of my mates has pre hospital first aide, so we got dropped half way up the hill to go find him. About ¾ way down the jump track there he was with his older brother just watching helplessly. He was curled up, crying and in a lot of pain. My mate quickly accessed the situation. It seemed he could have fractured or broke his hip – not good. We knew we had to get him down the trail and to where an ambo could pick him up, so we ditched the bikes and scooped the boy up. The first thing you notice is how steep some of the tracks are when you are walking them with someone in your arms. On a bike, your moving fast and roll through much of it, but when you are walking it is a whole different story. About 15-20 mins later we walked him out of the bush and laid him down against a tree to wait for the ambo. Ive got to say he was a pretty brave little guy as he seemed to be in a lot of pain, but sucked it up while we took him down the track. Another ½ hour and the ambo arrived. They did their own assessment and loaded him on to a stretcher. We put him in the ambo and that was the start of the trip.
Another ride on the bus and we were at the trail head. I must say it was unnerving having your trip start with an injured rider. It doesn’t really make you feel at ease with what you are about to do, as you know it could easily be you laying on the ground in agony. After a couple of runs you loosen up, forget about the recent carnage and just enjoy the trails. Saturday was pretty mint, other than starting it with the kid’s crash. No one from the group bailed and we all headed to the hotel stoked on the days ride. From my memory we did 7-8 shuttles – not to bad when the first 1.5-2hours were spent dealing with an injured rider.
The hotel had hot pools so we soaked our bones in the geothermal activity of roto-vegas. A couple beers later, we hit the sheets as we had a big day of riding a head of us.
Up early, quick breakie and right to the bikepark. Everyone was flying. Maybe the rust was shed on Saturday or everyone was trying to make the most of the day, but everyone was hitting it. Instead of just shuttling we peddle up to corridor where we repeatedly hit that trail nailing the table tops, hip jumps and massive berms. I must have rode that track about 4-5 times. After that we headed towards the shuttle pick up to do have some more gravity assisted fun.
We hit everything and even a couple sketchy secret tracks. I think the best combination of the day as jumps, to corners to jumps for the last bit of downs, which is where the end of day carnage happened. As always it was the last run that claimed one of my mates. He was behind on the way down and on the last of three jumps when he came out a bit too hot, which sent him over the bars and slamming into the ground. I didn’t see it as I was in front, but that is what he thinks happened. Me and another ride made it to the bottom and were hive fiving, discussing how much fun that was all while waiting for our other friends to arrive. 5mins, 10mins, 20mins.. we knew someone had an off. Finally he managed to walk out with the assistance of our other mates, but was def worse for wear. He initially thought it was a broken wrist, but it was much more. After an x-ray he was diagnosed with broke his wrist, collar bone, shoulder and thumb. Shitty! His riding will be done for this summer, well before it even began. It sucks seeing one of your friends get hurt, but in a sport like this it happens and that is just part of it. You know it can happen, you see it happen and you then pray it doesn’t happen to you!