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Misadventure at the Lower 35


I dislocated my shoulder. LAME, LAME, LAME.

So we were racing the Wessels race this weekend, aka the "Lower 35" although by all accounts it was not actually that long. At any rate, Jon and I had a great start followed by a mediocre middle and what was shaping up to be a respectable finish. A few miles from the finish line misfortune struck around a turn that would have normally been no problem. The complications, however, were the facts that we were situated on the outside of the turn, in a pack with 3 men's teams, and that everyone was jostling for position to go through the fast current.

We got pushed over to the edge of the turn where were were several big logs and a huge half-submerged tree; Jon [in the front end of the boat] cleared the log, but then I [in the back end of the boat] swung right over and hit it hard. I got tossed out of the boat and body-checked the log.

I was frantically grasping for branches to try to keep head above the water and keep myself from slamming into that downed tree just a few feet farther downstream. I did manage to get a hold of a branch, but the current was pulling my body downstream so fast that POP! went the ball of my shoulder right out of the socket.

Of course I let go of the branch immediately, and my shoulder snapped back in place just about the same instant I smashed into the fallen tree. Everyone in the race was paddling by me and yelling "Are you okay!?" and I was just pinned against the current, stunned.

I was able to hoist myself on top of the tree in the water, grab a branch overhead with one arm, and swing over to the riverbank, where Jon was waiting (he miraculously didn't flip when I got tossed into the water!) and I got back in the boat. I wasn't really able to paddle to the finish line, so we kind of floated and half-paddled our way across.