Time can disappear during a crash, leaving you wondering just what the hell happened. Or, time can slow down, and flow forward slowly, like cold molasses on a winter's day. That's what happened, during this particular crash.
I felt my rear-end leaving the seat, as the bike's rear-end left the trail. My shoes unclipped from the pedals, and I began what seemed like a slow rotation around the handlebar grips. The gravel and roots on the trail stood out in sharp relief from the dirt surface, as I contemplated which ones I was going to land on, and how much that was going to hurt.
I finally managed to let go of the grips, as my feet went over my head. I was flying along above the front wheel, momentarily. Then, the bike flipped away to one side as I continued to rotate through the air. I was dreading the landing and, at the same time, wishing it would just happen and that all of this could be over with.
Finally, after what seemed like minutes but was, probably, no more than two or three seconds, I landed on my right shoulder with crushing force. Things sped up a lot, just then, but I still heard the crack as the shoulder separated and dislocated. It was neither a pleasant sound, nor a pleasant feeling.
I rolled and tumbled for a few yards, and ended up lying on my back, in a huge rut in the trail. My head was downhill from my feet, and black things were flying through my field of vision. I tried to get up, but the pain in my shoulder prevented me from doing so.
After a few seconds, I saw Bill's dog, Avalanche, running down the trail. We had left her behind, when we hit the downhill, and she was just catching up with me. I was happy to see her. Just having a dog there, some companionship as I tried to figure out what to do, would be a big comfort.
Avalanche saw me, and slightly altered her route down the trail to come to me. Good old Avalanche! Here she came, running right to me, to give me comfort...to show her concern... to...jump right over me like I was a log and keep on running down the trail!
I finally manged to get on my feet, but I couldn't even pick my bike up, much less ride it, with my shoulder throbbing. My arm was hanging at an odd angle, and I knew I had to do something to get my shoulder back together.
I remembered seeing Clint Eastwood pop his shoulder back into place, in some movie, by tying his belt to a tree, wrapping the belt around his wrist, and throwing his weight backward. Seemed simple enough, except I didn't have a belt. So, I just grabbed hold of a sapling, and jerked my body backward.
Let me tell you something about people in movies: They feel no pain when they are pretending to do something like pop a wayward humerus back into its socket, so they don't
I fell to my knees, and tried to not throw up. Eventually, my vision cleared, and the pain in my shoulder reduced to a dull throb. I picked up my bike, and headed downhill, a lot more slowly, where I met Bill, who was heading back up to see where I was.
That shoulder still bothers me, 18 years later, and I have to get the occasional steroid shot to keep it working. But, I survived, and came out tougher on the other side of that crash.
I never did really care much for that dog, after that, though.