The River Took My Bike: Epilogue
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my river encounter. I really don’t have any deep thoughts or enlightening insights. It was stupid. I was stupid. There’s really not anything more to it. I made a terrible choice, and nearly paid terrible consequences.
However, I’ve learned from that mistake. I hope I have, anyway.
I’ve written about the dangers of avalanches in this space several times. Sound decision making is paramount in staying safe in avy terrain. It’s possible that after a winter of avalanche awareness, I simply took off my safety goggles (metaphorically speaking, I don’t ride with safety goggles. Yet) in the warm pleasantry of summer. Nevetheless, the entire episode has been a stark reminder that the mountains are merciless. Even familiar trails and terrain can be dangerous.
In other words: Be careful. Be smart.
I’ve since focused on replacing lost or damaged equipment.
I was able to find a bike really quickly. The great thing about having a healthy race scene here in Utah is that there are many race-ready bikes that aren’t being used full time. I was in panic mode in the days after the accident, fearing that my mental and physical preparation for the Crusher would be moot. I suppose such thoughts were born from the luxury of still being alive. Obviously I took time—and still am taking more—to reflect and appreciate the truly important things in my life: My family and friends.
My Garmin Edge 705 was crushed in the accident. Garmin has a pretty nifty replacement policy. I sent in my destroyed unit, and paid $110 for a refurbished one. No questions asked. I half-expected to have to explain the entire story, and then have them tell me that I was an idiot and didn’t deserve a new Garmin. Instead, I spent about 5 minutes on the phone with a Garmin customer service rep. I sent mine off, and they sent one back to me within the week. Nice. +1 to Garmin.
The Canon S95 may be beyond repair. Which saddens me. I feel like I was just starting to really learn the nuances of the camera. It’s a powerful little device, and replacing it isn’t something I think I’ll be able to do right away. And now when I ride without a camera, I feel as if I’ve forgotten something. I have my iPhone (which came all the way back from the river), and I enjoy shooting with it, but it is not the same.
The best news of all (besides still being alive) is that many key components on the bike itself are still usable. My wheels needed some new bearings, and the bottom bracket was damaged beyond salvation, but the shifters, derailluers, cassette, and the crank all look very good. In fact, I’ll be hanging those parts onto my Stumpjumper tonight.
I still shake my head in wonderment at the entire episode. I’ve taken a lot of well-deserved ribbing from friends and family. But I’ve also had many people tell me that they’re really glad I’m still alive. Which is, I suppose, the best compliment anyone can ever expect to receive.
And now? Now it’s time to race. 3 weeks. 3 races*. And after that?
After that, it’ll be time for Tabata intervals, 2x20s, barrier practice and skinsuits. That’s right. Cyclocross is (almost) here.
* USCS #4, Mnt. Ogden 50k, and the Point2Point.
andrew brautigamAugust 17, 2011
If you want a Canon s90 I have one that is going up on ebay sometime soon. No HD video, but almost the same in every other practical way.
ludoAugust 17, 2011
Your story still gives me the willys. I bet that more than one racer in the CD race had a close call with a snow melt stream. I have had a few challenging crossings and every one of them was scary. Frozen or wet lets be careful out there. Glad your OK. Ludo
BrandonAugust 18, 2011
With the way people are winning races this year on Stumpjumpers, you may have traded up.