As a youngster my Father always made sure that I had on all of my riding gear, even for a short ride. Anyone that rides a dirt bike knows that sooner or later you “will” take a soil sample and that the more gear you have on, the more likely you’ll get up unscathed. I don’t know how many times I’ve hit the ground, gotten up, and found that nothing was really hurt other than my pride.
Recently, I had a little mishap that once again drove this point home. I was fully suited from head to toe even though it was in the mid-80’s and one particular piece of gear really came into play . . . my boots. Everyone knows that boots are important and that they keep us from hurting our feet and ankles over and over again.
I was riding down a fairly wide trail that was lined on both sides with tall grass. Little did I know that there was log that about a foot off the ground lurking in the tall grass on the right side of the trail. I did see the log at the very last second but it was too late . . . my right boot hit the log squarely as I ran along in 3rd gear or so.
After quickly stopping, I just hung my head down as a they guy behind me pulled along side to ask what was going on. I told him that my foot/toe was probably broken. The pain was sharp and throbbing. They asked if I wanted to continue onward to take roads back to the truck. We were about 20 miles or so from the truck but I decided to move onward. I was there to ride and the trails were awesome. The shock of the impact had numbed it at first so we forged onward down the trail. About 15 minutes later, the pain really sat in. Using the rear brake was no fun at all.
At one point, we went through a deep water crossing and I dabbed my right foot in the water. The Aplinestar Tech 6’s I was wearing are normally very good about not letting my feet get wet but instantly, my foot was wet. Initially, the cool water felt good, but that easing of the pain subsided within a mile or so.
We got back to the truck (after riding some awesome technical trails) and I hesitantly took off my boot. The first thing I noticed was that the tip of the boot wasn’t as rounded as the other one and that the metal top piece was mangled badly. The bottom of the boot was the surprising part. The sole was split about 1/3 the length of the boot from the toe backwards. My sock was red with blood but not quite as bad as I suspected. The bruises were setting in and my toe nail was kinda floating on my toe and blood was oozing out on all sides.
My riding hosts wanted to do a short ride again the next day, but I had to decline. There was no way I was going to shove that foot into a boot anytime soon. I didn’t go to the doctor but I suspect that only my big toe was broken. All the others worked just fine. I cleaned it up well with peroxide and keep it bandaged so as to absorb all the blood. The whole front quarter of my foot ended up being bruised but I soaked it twice a day in epsom salt (at the recommendation of my mother-in-law) and that certainly soothed the pain and kept the swelling at a minimum. I got my foot into a boot one week later and got to ride again 11 days after the incident.
The main point of all this is that I realized over and over again what the result would have been without a pair of quality riding boots in the equation. My entire foot would have been crushed and my ankle would most likely be compromised as well. So don’t take any chances, gear up entirely each time you through your leg over a bike. It will pay dividends!
See you on the trail!