Watch out for turkey necks
They'll grab you when you least suspect it
Yesterday was a day of turkey necks.
The first was only obvious to me. The second I shared with Brent.
The first didn’t hurt. The second was totally painful, the kind of pain that requires an osteopath or chiropractor.
Let’s begin with the second shall we?
In keeping with my recent Sunday tradition of going mountain biking somewhere, we loaded up and drove to Kepoch mountain. There they have a trail network with well over 40k of maintained trails. It’s delightful.
The weekends are best. That’s when the shuttle runs. The shuttle is a flatbed pick-up that tows a trailer. The bikes go in the trailer. The people sit in the back of the truck. The truck drives to the top of the mountain. Biking becomes a gravity sport.
Typically I need to earn my downs by pedaling up hills. With the shuttle, it was a day filled with downhills. It was a day spent shooting down steep, technical trails filled with jumps, drops, roots and rocks. It was a day where the grin never left my face.
Well. Mostly. Until I encountered the turkey neck.
As a soon to be fifty year old man, much of the terrain there took me right to the edge of my limits. One section of a particularly gnarly trail - a very large drop that accelerated into a really tight corner - I even walked. The consensus I’ve established is that people my age don’t heal quite as quickly we did twenty five years ago
This self awareness was helpful. Midway through the day, a younger dude took the trail where I chose to bail out and walk. He went over the handlebars, landed on his face and snapped his helmet in half.
Though he got down under his own steam, my guess is that he still has a headache as I type this. It wasn’t long after that when I encountered the turkey neck.
We were peddling on the easiest trail we had been on all day. It was a rolling, ‘green’ trail that flowed along the ridges, cutting back and switching directions across the fall line of the hill. Things were going slow and easy. What could possibly go wrong? Hitting a turkey neck, that’s what.
Brent was ahead of me, switching trails. I was looking at him. He was climbing a section. As I cycled into this section, I started getting ready for the climb. I shifted gears and adjusted my riding position and was about to shoot up the small rise to our next decent. That’s when it happened.
That’s when I hit the turkey neck.
A turkey neck is the remains of a small cut off sapling. They’re about six to ten inches long. Over time the bark disappears and dust from the trail clings to them. They blend in perfectly with the background. On the edges of the tails, they can be hazardous, but are typically easily avoided. This turkey neck, on this trail was the least dangerous thing I encountered all day.
In a moment of distraction, when I was anticipating ‘what’s next’ I missed the turkey neck. The turkey neck didn’t miss me. It all took place in slow motion yet happened so quickly I couldn’t pull out of it. I did however have the chance to growl the word fuck as I fell.
Another exclamation of fuck.
Of all the things we did today, I wipe out on a rookie movie? Of course.
Luckily I was moving fairly slowly. Though my back is sore and neck is stiff, I’m fine. This is nothing that a couple of Robax and a trip to the osteopath can’t fix. I dusted myself off and we kept going. I was a little shaken, a little humbled at first, but the crash was soon mostly forgotten.
We had a great day.
The first turkey neck happened before Brent even showed up at the house in the morning. Part way through writing yesterday’s foolsletter, I decided to change the stupid sounding name of the kid that I was writing about. I read through the whole post, carefully changing the name to Squank.
I was quite successful. At least I thought I was until I read the message that I sent to myself.1 The very first mention of the child in the story, I forgot to change the name.
No big deal I’m sure. And, I’ve been attempting to proofread these things. The turkey neck in the foolsletter took place almost immediately. In the most obvious place to make a correction, I fell into the kind of typographical trap I’ve been attempting to avoid. I left you all a narrative turkey neck.
When things are intense whether it’s blasting down a hill on a mountain bike, doing a big bunch of edits or driving in the snow, our nerves are tingly, attention sharpened. When we figure everything is aok and under control? That seems to be when the headless turkeys stick out their zombie necks and bring us down.
Does this happen to you?
Do you find yourself getting through the tough stuff only to be come hard down to earth when things seem easier?
If not, how do you avoid the turkey necks of life?
I subscribe to this drivel as well.