Nose gear malfunction

I was sorting through some old photos today, and came across probably the most expensive pic I’ve ever shot.

Why expensive? It cost us a ton of moolah in medical bills.

Here’s the setup. It’s 1998 and we’re visiting the guys at BBR Motorsports, face to face for the first time after doing business with them by phone for years. We’re on their backyard track, playing on one of their super-cool mini conversions and also one of the first YZF400’s in the US. Everyone’s having a tough time getting the YZF started, and Mike’s awesome at starting any bike, any time. So, after everyone else has had a go, he throws a leg over and kicks the thing to life. Duane says, “go ahead and ride, you earned it” so Mike takes off.

He’s riding around the small track, tentatively at first. Each lap I yell to him “Do you want me to get your helmet?”, he shakes his head no. Each lap he’s going a little faster and getting more comfortable on the bike. I can hear him coming towards the small step-up jump near where we’re all standing and I hear the engine rev, so I aim the camera and shoot this:

Houston, we have a problem.

After clicking the shutter, I step back quickly as he grinds to a halt at my feet. He’s basically made a three-point landing including the footpeg, the bars (now bent), and his nose (now bleeding profusely). He never let go of the bars.

Way to make friends and influence people, I tell ya.

We sop up as much blood as we can, apologize to the Brown Brothers for thrashing their shiny new bike, they wave goodby and say “no biggie, you’re not the first” and we head to the hospital where Mike is diagnosed with a broken nose (duh) and a severe lack of forethought (not really, that’s just what I was thinking). They pack his nose, remove all the money from his wallet, and off we go to Supercross, where he proceeds to ooze blood and generally look like some goofball that got the bad end of a bar fight.

After the swelling goes down a few days later, he spends more time being tortured by our local docs who stick a few rods up his nose, make cracking sounds, stuff his beaker full of drugs and gauze, charge us up the nose, and send him on his merry way. He removes the stuffing and goes to work, garnering sympathy or a horrified look from everyone he meets.

Time goes by and the nose never heals properly (I guess the part where the doc told him to leave the packing in for at least 24 hours after it was straightened might have been for a good reason after all). Another trip back to the torture chamber — er — doctor’s office and a bit of surgery for a bunch more money and he’s good as new, better actually, since he now wears a helmet EVERY TIME he gets on a damn bike.

Moral of the story? Don’t show off on a new bike, especially if it’s not yours. Don’t ride without your helmet, especially if you’re planning on crashing. Don’t remove the packing after they fix your broken nose, especially if you’re not that fond of follow-up surgery. And most important of all, don’t let your wife take photos of your stupidity that can be used as an embarrassing reminder for the rest of your life, especially if she writes a blog.

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