In the Saddle: It’s perilous to be thin-skinned
Friends, foes, co-workers and especially family have been known to call me thin-skinned. I acknowledge that I am, indeed, thin-skinned, particularly on my long, exposed shins.
I took a thumbnail sized gouge out of my left shin the last Saturday in June in a spectacular mountain bike crash. We had completed the technical, switchback-y section of the Lollipop Trail on Smuggler Mountain and were cranking away on a straight section when I completely mistimed a pedal stroke and rammed my crank into a partially obscured stump. My bike got thrown one direction; I went the other. I flew through the air with the greatest of ease. The landing was tough. My left leg raked over the bike, leaving a deep bruise on my thigh, a bruise to my knee and a gouge halfway down my shin.
The wound bled a lot and looked gnarly, but truth be known, it didn’t really hurt after the initial sting. I kept riding with my two partners. I washed the blood off my leg and wound at Hunter Creek. We kept going to the Hummingbird Lode, onto the Hunter Creek Overlook Trail, up the Hobbit Trail to Four Corners and back to Aspen. It was amazing how few people we saw on a prime ride in prime season.
Now, 10 days later, my bruises have turned that yellowish color and the wound is slowly filling in. I hate shin wounds, though, because they are so slow to heal. I’ve kept it clean and bandaged, avoided another knock on mountain bike rides and mixed in hikes and road rides to limit the exposure. But I know it’s inevitable that I’ll hit that same spot again later this season. It makes me wince. It’s time to embrace my thin skin and buy some sort of light, unobtrusive pad — for my shin’s sake.
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Aspen is set to add to its Olympic heritage next month as three local athletes head to the Beijing Games. Halfpipe skiers Alex Ferreira and Hanna Faulhaber, as well as cross-country skier Hailey Swirbul, will head over soon, but before that a send-off party is set for Wednesday.