With the weather wet and fairly mild in January, what better place to be... the Welsh mountains on my enduro bike for a couple of days with great mates...
As usual, a long old drive from Lincolnshire but arrived in time for a couple of pints before some shut-eye... Up and at it all excited in the morning to find a little ground frost, but with the sun beginning to shine it was going to be a great day of riding.
We travel all over Europe on our enduro bikes, France, Italy, Spain, Andorra, Croatia, Romania, with a Bulgarian trip planned later this year, but I have to say the Welsh scenery takes some beating!
After a cracking day riding we headed back across the mountains around an hour from base. The terrain was pretty wet but all water crossings were manageable with few deep bogs hard to see in the long grass.
On an incline in 3rd gear, not too fast, my KTM 300 stopped dead in it’s tracks. My body weight took over throwing me vertically upside down over the bars... Now, this has happened many times before and I knew on the way up it would be a soft landing on the peaty/boggy ground...
Just before hitting the ground my friend behind had nowhere to go... striking the back of my head very hard and running me over... This knocked me out briefly but upon opening my eyes I couldn’t feel my legs... Very quickly the feeling came back but horrendous pain from the bottom of my skull kept me down on the ground.
Eventually deciding gingerly to remove my helmet and get onto my feet I had walk around to check all was ok... Now, I have broken many many bones before and thought my neck was ok... maybe a fractured skull but more importantly we’re on top of a mountain and need to get down... So, I made the decision to put my helmet back on and ride back to my friends house, about an hour away, very steady.
Every time I hit the slightest bump there was horrendous pain from the bottom of my skull but different to anything I have ever experienced before? Whatever I’d injured I knew I had to get myself to hospital to be checked...
Dropping over a mountain top and into a valley we came across a farmer and his sheepdog. Still in the middle of nowhere (you couldn’t script this) he’d overturned his quad but luckily not been trapped or injured as the quad had a little weather proof frame/cab stopping it going upside down... The old boy was of pension age so the lads all pulled the quad back onto its wheels and got him back onto a smooth trail before firing it back up. He’d have had a two hour walk, at least, if we’d not found him and the light was already starting to fade.
Over the next mountain and back onto a tarmac lane we descended for a mile or two before hitting the main road back to my mates place.
We left our bikes there and borrowed his van, driving back to the pub where we were staying...
I decided to strip off my riding gear, have a quick shower, and drive to the nearest A&E, in Aberystwyth an hour away...
Luckily their A&E was unusually quiet, a specialist came to assess me in no time at all. I explained what happened and my previous neck break, with that he laid me down immediately arranging a CT scan... A couple of porters wheeled me off with the specialist saying, “don’t worry we’ll just check all is ok then probably put you in a collar and home.”
On my return to A&E the specialist quickly explained to stay where I am on the bed as I have a break in C1 vertebrae.... fortunately, there was no damage to the metalwork around C6 (image below) that I broke 9 years previous!
I could hear the specialist on his phone calling a different department for advice, “Can’t believe it, this fella crashed his bike, been in the shower, then drove himself an hour here.”
If I’d have told him I rode back an hour over the mountains he’d have freaked!!
Four days later they let me out of hospital in a collar... jumped in the van and drove 225 miles home, the wife not happy!