Calamity Wenger talks rashes, stitches and pain
My poor mother.
Between my dad and I, we’ve given her more than a few grey hairs.
There’s a reason she calls us “accidents waiting for a place to happen.”
I really hoped I’d outgrow that nugget of genetic gold, passed on by my father but, unfortunately, I’ve not only managed to maintain the title, I’ve also passed it along to my son.
Sometimes, genetics are stronger than our will.
It all started when I put my arm up to open a screen door at the age of five.
Of course, I was at a dead run and the door had never latched before that fateful day.
Result: Crashing through the door, followed by my mom wrapping my arm in J-clothes and taking me to emergency for my first stitches.
At age 6, I had my first concussion from falling off a skateboard.
By age 8, I’d had my second from falling out of a tree.
Between falling off my five-speed bike and my nasty Welsh-Arabian pony, I spent my youth with gravel rash on my elbows and knees and I can’t begin to count the times I hit the ground and had the wind knocked out of my lungs.
Broken bones were limited to fingers and toes in that era.
Not to be outdone, when I was 5, my dad, who was a lineman for for 37 years, fell off a power pole and landed on his heels and then flat on his back.
At some point, he was up in the bucket truck when the whole truck tipped over.
Then, he was electrocuted — hit by 15,000 volts of electricity — and survived.
There was the minor stuff like falling through the rafters of the barn while installing a new roof, blowing the end out of his thumb while driving in a fencing spike (he never used anything smaller than a ball peen hammer), getting hit in the face when the jack popped out from under our sagging bridge as we were trying to prop it up, endoing the quad down the mountain in the bush and sitting there for hours, waiting for my mom to find him . . . the list goes on.
I thought I was getting better.
I switched from horses to bikes after a horse flipped over on me and broke my leg.
I thought it was safer to ride something that didn’t have a brain and the ability to be seriously unpredictable.
Last year, just to prove that theory wrong, I crashed my mountain bike twice, once into a barbed wire fence and had a few more stitches, adding them to the ones I got when we crashed our compact car into a moose 18 years ago.
This year, friends have started calling me Crash.
I hit a pig on my road bike, crashed my mountain bike during a race in Kenna Cartwright Park and just recently had my first major road cycling crash and discovered what happens when you hit the pavement going about 30 kilometres per hour.
Gravel rash is one thing . . . road rash quite another.
I’m appauled to discover the overwhelming strength of this genetic code.
My son has earned the nickname Puncture after falling off his mountain bike onto a log that had its branches broken off, leaving the pointing stubs behind.
This is not a competition I’d like to continue — we can stop anytime.
As much as I love racing my bike, I’m starting to think about giving it up for something safer . . . needlepoint perhaps?
Then again, I’d probably just put the needle through my finger.
Shawn Wenger is a BCRPA-registered personal trainer and weight -training and group-fitness instructor. She runs Fitness For Mortals. E-mail email@example.com for information.