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Still Mentally Incontinent
The second MI Book

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Sorry, Deer
By joe the peacock
Post your comment 24 Comments/Edits Share:   |    |    |    |    |    |    |  

Have you ever talked to someone who has hit a deer with his car? Even though the situations may differ between individuals—"It was dark and he ran out in front of me" or "I went around the corner and he was just standing there"—no matter what the tale, they will all end with the same sentiment: "I had no idea it could do that much damage."

Deer are dense animals. They're upward of three hundred pounds of muscle and tissue and bone, and they eat healthy and exercise all day. And when you hit one in your car at thirty-five miles an hour, it'll put one heck of a dent in the thing. God forbid you hit one going any faster. I've heard of bumpers ripped off, windshields smashed, and hoods caved in. I have an uncle who swears that he hit a deer once and flipped his car completely over (of course, he's the type who might actually hit an already-dead carcass like a ramp just to see if he could get some air). I've even heard stories of deer flying through the windshields of cars and kicking people to death as they writhed through their own death. It's a thoroughly unpleasant thing, hitting a deer.

And if a deer can do that much damage to a car, can you imagine what it would do to a bicycle? I can tell you the answer to that one: not much at all. But the rider? He gets absolutely nuked.

I used to be quite an avid mountain biker. I enjoyed racing when I was much younger, and then I got married and complacent and fat. But then sometime around 2004, my wife suggested we get fit by participating in the Balance Bar Adventure Sprint. This is an event where you run over six miles, swim a mile and a half, kayak around a lake, ride your mountain bike across fifteen miles of terrain, and test your mettle in feats of strength and dexterity. It's what would happen if Fear Factor adopted a triathlon format.

To get ready, I would drive down to Dauset Trails Nature Center, home to one of the absolute best mountain bike trails in Georgia. I started lightly, going every weekend, and as I got faster and braver and the adrenaline junkie in me began to awaken, I started going every single night. I couldn't get enough of the steep hills, log jumps, ramps, and bridges—all in all, over fifty miles of excitement and adventure. But my favorite part of the entire trail was a short, extremely steep jump run called Pine Mountain.

I ran the Pine Mountain course at least three times every single night. I adored it. It started off at a high elevation with a gorgeous view of the nature preserve below. Once you started down, you reach twenty-five miles an hour extremely quickly, and then the jumps started. These earthen banks launched you straight outward while the ground below you sank ever farther, allowing you to catch major air. Given the steepness of the terrain and the speeds you were traveling, you had to keep your wits about you at all times. Flubbing a landing on any one of those jumps meant the difference between going home sweaty and going home bloody and/or broken.

On one particular evening, I was going through my paces on the trail system and reached Pine Mountain just as the sun began to sink beneath the tree line. I knew I had only about thirty minutes of usable daylight left, and I had to make this one run count. With a full head of steam and all the confidence of a mountain biker who'd just crossed the line from amateur to "experienced," I pumped my legs as hard as I could to get rolling down the hill.

In no time, I was at my top speed of about twenty-five miles an hour, and when the jumps arrived, I began popping and landing them with the skill and finesse of a guy who thinks he has a lot of skill and finesse but really looks like a grown-up hopping molehills on his too-expensive bicycle. Just as I reached the first turn in the trail, a huge brown blob whipped in front of me and blocked my path.

There was no time to brake, or skid out, or try to bail off the bike and let it take the damage. I couldn't even brace for the impact; it just happened. It was like hitting a brick wall that was built waist- high. It hadn't even registered that the thing I'd hit might have been a mammal. All I really knew is that something brown had just stopped my wheels from moving and dislodged me from my mountain bike, and I was going to die wondering what the hell it was.

I hit the ground—hard. I was lucky as hell, because I'd hit the only finger of land that extended out to a much steeper decline down into the nature preserve. A foot to the right, and I'd have soared like Wile E. Coyote into the abyss. Good thing I didn't, because I hadn't packed my Uh-Oh sign in my CamelBak.

Like anyone does upon falling down, the first thing I did was attempt to move. A quick internal system check registered severe pains from my knee, abdomen, and right arm. Were they too severe to stand? Let's see . . . nope. I could get to my feet. My knee was cut, and my sock and shoe were soaked in blood. Any break? Doesn't seem so, just a minor flesh wound. Where the right arm was concerned, I knew immediately that I'd rebroken my wrist, because it felt like it had the last six times I'd broken it. As for the abdomen, every step I took and every breath I inhaled sent a shock up my body. It felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me and then kept punching me for fun.

I trudged over to my bike, which lay about twenty feet ahead of me. Once I got to it, I propped myself on it and surveyed the area for exactly what it was that I'd obliterated (there was no way in hell that anything could have survived the impact with the bullet my bike had become). Lying a few yards up the trail was the deer I'd hit.

Even in the fugue state I was in, I knew better than to walk up to a hulking mass of horns and hooves and attempt to awaken it. But I needed to know if it was still alive. I'd have felt horrible to have killed this poor thing just because I wanted to go down a hill really fast. So I called out: "Hey, deer!"

No response except for the little bolt of pain from my side.

"Deer!" I continued. "Hey, deer! Wake up, deer!"

Nothing.

I winced a little as I reached for the strap of my CamelBak. Slowly, I removed the bag and brought it around to the front of me, so I could reach in for a PowerBar. With what little effort I could muster, I lobbed the carb-loaded food replacement bar at the animal. The landed on the deer's hind quarters with a lackluster paff.

No movement.

I hurled my full CamelBak at the thing. The full weight of the water-filled bag hit the deer right in the head and startled it awake. It ibegan lurching to its side, attempting to right itself, and once it got to its feet, it stared at me.

Which surprised me. I'd figured he'd get a glimpse of me and take off running. But I guessed these nature-preserve-raised animals weren't really scared of humans. He just looked at me, silently asking the question: "Dude, what the fuck was that?"

"Uh, sorry, deer," I said to him.

He just kept looking.

"You, uh, you okay?"

No response save for a small sway of the head and a shake of his antlers.

"You wanna, like, trade insurance information or anything?"

He stood there, staring.

I didn't know what to do. I was somewhat scared that the deer might try to charge me. But the sun was going down, and I'd run out of whatever patience one might possess that would allow him to stand in the middle of the woods with a bloody leg, a broken wrist, and fractured ribs and have a one-sided conversation with a deer. I abandoned the little chat I was having with Mr. Deer and let him keep my CamelBak. I began pushing my bike up the hill I'd descended, keeping one eye on the huge mammal I'd bludgeoned with a bicycle.

The entire time he watched me walk up the hill. He didn't make any moves toward or away from me. He just kept his eyes on me. Every time I'd look back, he was standing there watching me limp up the hill with my bike. When I got to the top, I waved at him with my good hand and said, "Okay, later, deer. Get checked out by a doctor."

I failed to notice the two mountain bikers at the head of the Pine Mountain Trail who'd arrived in time to hear me talking to the animal. They took one look at me and said, "Holy shit, dude!"

"Yeah," I said, not even bothering to play tough. "I hit a deer."

"Fuck," one guy said.

"You want some help?" said the other.

Usually, when someone takes a fall or has a flat or whatever, someone else will pass by and offer help, knowing fully well that the offer won't be taken up. I wanted to tough this one out and be a hero and make it out to my car on my own, if for no other reason than to prove that I wasn't nearly as bad off as I felt. But the bolts of pain going through my body were telegraphing to my brain, saying, "Hey, dummy, you need some help." So I accepted their offer.

The bike had taken relatively little damage. The wheel and the handlebars had gotten twisted and turned sideways, which was a relatively easy fix, and I'd broken a reflector. I learned that there's very little you can do for a broken rib besides sit around and do nothing. But I also learned that dusk at a nature preserve is the wrong time to go testing the speed and handling capabilities of your mountain bike.

The recovery efforts from the accident put the kibosh on my mountain biking for a while, and I ended up selling the bike and turning to other endeavors, like eating a little too well and watching too much television. But I never lost the thirst for the speed and thrill of trees whizzing past and the sight of rapidly approaching earth as I descended from a great jump. I still hate deers, though.





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Posted on Thursday, January 08 2009
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COMMENTS / EDITS



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[No Subject] (Score: 1)
by jezibelle on Thursday, January 08 2009
(User Info | Send a Message) http://img55.exs.cx/img55/66/jezi9iq.jpg
Haha, it made me chuckle. I can see you being a big dork and talking to a deer. Hehehehehe.



Yay for avoiding death-by-deer! (Score: 1)
by grace on Thursday, January 08 2009
(User Info | Send a Message) http://www.gracekennedy.net
They should really install airbags on those things.

You almost die an awful lot, Joe.




[No Subject] (Score: 1)
by easily-amused on Thursday, January 08 2009
(User Info | Send a Message)
You're like a magnet school for little baby dangerons (instead of happions, eh, remember that?) that wreak havoc on your life and play on money bars of doom.



[No Subject] (Score: 1)
by Trixie on Thursday, January 08 2009
(User Info | Send a Message) http://ster00ling.blogspot.com/
ha ha - sorr y for your pain but I laughed out loud. I guess it helps I can visualize everything from all the time we spent there :) Do you guys ever go anymore?



hey deer? (Score: 1)
by mouse53 (rm@rickmail.com) on Thursday, January 08 2009
(User Info | Send a Message)
I feel you man. I love to mountain bike, the more natural, the better, but never hit anything live, lol. I have hit one with a car just as it popped out from under the semi trailer I was following too close. Luckily here in Northern Ca the deer are small, ( maybe 160lbs or less ), so I went over it and prayed it came out the back which it did. Still in the mountain areas around here ( Redding, MT Shasta, Weaverville ), I have seen some major damage from hitting deer. I can only imagine how you felt after hitting one with your body. Hope you are ok.




[No Subject] (Score: 1)
by TimeRacer on Thursday, January 08 2009
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~to363904
I'm just glad to know the deer didn't answer you.



[No Subject] (Score: 1)
by CallieMo on Friday, January 09 2009
(User Info | Send a Message)
""You wanna, like... Trade insurance information or anything?""

Hehe...good thing I wasn't drinking anything at the time I read that or I'd have baptized my monitor.

A friend of ours had her car hit by a deer on her drive home one evening. Knowing what damage it did to her car, I'm glad to hear you got away with as little damage as you did.




HeHeHe (Score: 1)
by dorthyandtoto2003 on Friday, January 09 2009
(User Info | Send a Message)
Very funny story. Loved the "add-on" comments. Moral of the story: Hilarious. Good job.



Good story (Score: 1)
by jeremy on Friday, January 09 2009
(User Info | Send a Message) http://www.jeremyhalvorsen.com
Good story Joe, I'm impressed by how much I like this story, I figured with you throwing up that many stories they'd just be there, not necessarily REALLY good, but this one might get my vote, I love the talking to the deer and the wile e coyote comment. good job!



OUCH!!! (Score: 1)
by featsfanbob (bobkublawi@alumni.tcu.edu) on Friday, January 09 2009
(User Info | Send a Message)
You must have a high pain threshold Joe. I would have been a big puss. Broken wrist, broken ribs, bleeding; I can't imagine running that bike back up the hill. Good story.



correction (Score: 1)
by SupremeRuler on Friday, January 09 2009
(User Info | Send a Message)
I trudged over to my bike, which laid about 20 feet ahead of me. lay, not laid
And laying just a few yards..... lying
knowing fully well that the offer won't be taken up on. lose the 'on'.



[No Subject] (Score: 1)
by NotTheDoctor on Friday, January 09 2009
(User Info | Send a Message)
Man Vs. Deer ... 10 Achievement Points

Singlehandedly take down a deer.



Joe's story (Score: 1)
by mom on Friday, January 09 2009
(User Info | Send a Message)
That's true about his Uncle.



Thanks Joe!! (Score: 1)
by reeseslots (nope@noway.com) on Saturday, January 10 2009
(User Info | Send a Message) http://www.myspace.com/lokipro
Oh I've missed your stories!! Thanks for writing again :)



[No Subject] (Score: 1)
by DarkAngela on Monday, January 12 2009
(User Info | Send a Message)
"...because I'd hit the only finger of land that extended out to a much steeper decline down into the nature preserve."
This doesn't sound quite right to me... Maybe write it as "finger of land that extended out before a much steeper decline into the nature preserve." Or something else, that first one just doesn't sound quite right to me.



Praise and Suggestions (Score: 1)
by SlaserX (None) on Thursday, February 05 2009
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This is by far the best story I've read in quite some time, Joe. It cracked me up, which is soooo what I needed.
The only thing I would suggest changing is, it wasnt immediatly clear to me that Pine Mountain was a bike trail.



awesome (Score: 1)
by cmn006 on Tuesday, March 10 2009
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Great Story. Very funny. Good for the book.




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