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Cissbury Blattage

It was the 30th of September, 2001... An average day on the South Downs, clouds lurking dangerously... I was still using my Titanium T1-3000 bike, and wearing a helmet, I thought I'd go for a ride, of the offroad variety.

All was well as I was cycling up, I don't remember it at all, so it must have been pretty average! There must have started to be some very slight precipitation, like a light mist, it didn't seem relavent at the time, and as I reached the gate stating "Cissbury Ring" I turned left (west) down the tracks that lay beyond. It veers to the left, you need to brake because of the loose and rough terrain, then it bends to the right and back to the left, passing through a gate (its usually closed, being open I had extra speed, maybe as much as 18mph) this track is made of chalk, the mist was leaving a moist surface, and as the track creeped to the left, the track was banking steeper and steeper, to perhaps 30degrees is this direction / and BLAM BAFF BLAFF BLAAAAATT. I couldn't move for pain, I lay there, a couple of meters from my unoccupied bike, my watch was sitting next to be minus half of the strap. After resting for a minute I looked down and was greeted by an armful of mud, blood and an exciting large bump. I looked at my hand, and saw a rather mean-looking cut, it was round and about 15mm diameter, where I had put my hand out to stop me, it proceeded to run to the end of my fingers and drip, not that I could feel them, in fact it was weeks before I could feel some of my fingers. My side appeared to be hurting a little (hm, slight understatement!) and just above the shorts line on my side, there lay a large, fleshy gash that went in rather deep, with something white, it didn't particularly make me feel over the moon though.

Instinct told me to move, so I found my watch, looked down at my bike, which was in better shape than me, the handbars weren't straight, if fact the front end was facing backwards and the handbars were twisted about 45degrees to the right. If i went back the way I came, it would be a long time to get home. If I continued it would have taken a long time to get home. So whichever way I went, it was the long route. I decided on pressing forwards, with my 2 working limbs- my right arm, and my right leg. I had to put my weight on the bike and my right leg, which wasn't easy, I also had cuts from my knee up to my shoulder, a graze on each left rib, burn on the leg, an inevitable leg-muscle injury which didn't help walking too much, and bending my left elbow or moving my left arm in general was mildly impossible. It was starting to rain now, and it was getting cold, and began the long trudge home. Theres a strange feeling, when walking away from something like that (I use the term "walking" liberally there!), as though you've achieved something, that you can still walk!

As I approached the top of the hill overlooking Findon Valley the first sign of life appeared, a Kona-bearing female mountain biker! (A nice Kona too!) she offered help, but I was feeling confident that I could make it home, and gave my thanks. As I passed the golf course, I saw noone, neither on the path to Warren road, where I passed noone. Once into broadwater I passed through uneventfully until I met my old pal, Shane! I was glad to see someone I knew, I think he was rather impressed (and concerned) by my injuries, and that I'd actually got this far home! Come to think of it, so was I... anyway after a minute or 2 we parted, and I made my way home without being questioned by any curious members of the public. I felt relieved as home approached, and my brother was in at the time, I didn't really feel like going to hospital, I mean, why should I? Nothing life threatening, I wasn't ill, just needed time for the wounds to heal, oh, and a shower. The water hurt, I kept it close to body temperature but still, it hit me pretty hard! Now that I could see the full extent of things, I noticed I had a few more cuts than I knew of, and soon had them bandaged up.

Still, it didn't stop me from cycling, sure every bump went straight through to my arm where most of the cuts were, but it was easier than walking, unfortuantely someone suprised me as I was cycling somewhere, I foget where, and I found myself braking too hard and being re-introduced with the floor, landing on the same hand, bleeding from the same cut again, it felt like someone was using a thumb-screw on my hand, it rather hurt for ages! A couple of cuts were a little yellow, which was worrying, and were rather disgustinly pussy (as in pus, not cat) but hey, I lived. One and a half years later, I still don't have the confidence to go too fast offroad! I went to the same place on the same date 2002, but fate was on holiday that day, and I survived unscathed. Not much else to say, except that I bought arm+elbow pads soon after, and wear gloves offroad now! So far I haven't had a similar accident, but its nice to know the protection is there. Still have scars, though only two, I'm very dissappointed! The scar on my side will probably never go, I think it needed stitches, it didnt really heal properly and its lumpy now, but I'd rather have scars than hold up the health service, getting in the way of people who really need attention. Lucky I didn't break my arm, so close...

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