In the Rocky Mountains, mountain biking is a form of recreation that is second only to skiing. I found out just how beloved a sport mountain biking is when I broke my collar bone trying to join the cool people and blindly embarked on the first ride of my life. I swear that every person who asked me how I came to be wearing a sling afterward replied, “Me, too!!” when I told them I’d broken my clavicle, or collar bone, in a mountain biking accident.

It was mid-June 2005, and I’d been training for the Ed Anacker Bridger Ridge Run for several months. A somewhat experienced friend of mine asked if I’d like to go for a ride up a local drainage, and being young and naïve, I agreed. I threw my mountain bike (a purple ‘90s affair won at the raffle of my senior prom) in the back of her truck, and off we went.

It was a beautiful day, and everything was going fine. I was enjoying the ride, it was the right level of challenging for me at that time, and therefore we turned back around mile 3. We were just about to mile 1 when, flying down a small but steep hill, my front tire hit a large, protruding tree root, and that was it. My back tire flew up, and like a being bucked off a horse, I was thrown forward into the air and down the hill. I landed on my right shoulder, hard, and summersaulted forward with a thud.

Long story short, the intense pain told me something was wrong, and indeed, the kind emergency room folk confirmed that my collar bone was broken. They had to cut my shirt off with scissors to outfit me with the sling I would wear for a month to hold my arm in place. As I did so, I was amazed to learn the number and range of individuals who share this common injury, usually acquired in much the same manner. I found this very interesting, and the only silver lining of the experience – unfortunately I had to withdraw the Ridge Run, as I couldn’t run for some time after the accident.

Nothing against mountain biking, but no way did I love it that much – I swore I would never go again, and donated my bad-karma bike to my friend Toby. Several years later, I did ride again, owing to my cute husband and dog who implored me to join them, but it was a much slower, more cautious ride. Never say never…I guess it ain’t over till it’s over.

Happy autumn – and from Sauce and KT, go play outside!