The rest of the trail 401 story picks up just one mile beyond our lunch stop vista. Carving turns thru handlebar high cabbage fields I'm waiting around a switchback for the rest of the team to catch up.
Will the Thrill comes into the turn too hot, sidewalls the only rock for 100yds and washes out.
I'm looking the other way but can tell by the sound alone this crash is not your usual stuff. 'you alright buddy?'. 'yeah' comes back a little shaky.
'Got blood?' 'a little' Will limps around the corner an my stomach goes to knots.
He's got a deep 2-3" gash below his kneecap impacted with dirt + blood = mud and seeping blood down into his shoe. His face goes ashen as I rinse the wound with my camelback and slap a bandage on it, keeping myself between Will and the girls to disguise the carnage.
Looking up, I assess we are but halfway to the car, thanking the trail gods Will's knee remains fully functional.
With a quick 'that should do it, you'll be alright- you think you can ride that Schwinn on down to the car?' Will's back on form carving turns again if but a good bit more carefully.
Not a single tear shed, not a single complaint on that long 3 miles back to trailhead. We stopped occasionally to offer encouragement, fuel, ibuprofen but never did he (or the girls for that matter) panic. Me on the other hand- inside I was a wreck.
Back at Crested Butte urgent care it was 90min of shots, scrubbing, sutures to put my my boy together again. Seeing him enduring that pain haunts me still as I relive the moment. Ugh!
So my little big man is off the bike for 10-14 days and stoically refused our offers to head back home. Currently he and Mom are dropping thank you chocolates off at the urgent care while I exorcise some demons in the park writing this.
Will the Thrill? That boy rocks the house.
And the rock? You will find it's shattered remains sitting trailside on the 401, mute witness to the moment when Immovable Object met Irresistible Force.