Sometimes things just hit too close to home. Such is the story of Wesley Hixson .
I didn't know Wesley Hixson. From everything I have read he was a lot more experienced mountain biker than I am. He was a young man of 30 who left too soon and the story is tragic not only because he leaves behind a family and friends who love him but because it was an accident that shouldn't have happened. That's why it's an accident.
The mountain bike community is something I am pretty new to but I have always found them to be amazingly friendly and helpful. I have had my share of near misses and I have always had someone there to help fix a flat, give direction, or walk or ride me off a trail. A stranger even stayed with me when I needed medical attention until the EMS came. They are always the first people to pass me by on the trail and make sure I am okay. They don't leave riders behind. That's just who mountain bikers are.
People are looking for answers in this tragedy and there really aren't any. There are no fingers to point and nobody is to blame. My instincts tell me as a rider that we all tend to feel we are okay after a fall, even if we may not be okay. Things happen. We fall. We fall a lot. That is just part of the ride. There is kind of a saying in biking that if you don't fall you aren't doing it right. When I come in after a particularly hard ride, my friends look at my bruises and scrapes and think I got beat up. I laugh and say 'No but I had a great ride! I face planted once and hit a tree!' They think I'm nuts. Maybe I am. Remember that I am new to this sport and I don't get a chance to ride near enough right now but God, I love it.
What makes this so hard, I think, so real, for anyone who mountain bikes, is that we know, no matter how experienced a rider we may or may not be, this could be us. There is nothing special or different about this situation that any rider who has been on a mountain bike more than 20 minutes hasn't experienced. Quite simply if you love biking, this is part of the sport, part of the adventure.
So will any of us quit? I doubt it. What will happen, I am guessing is that the community will find a way, when the time is right to honor Wesley. In the meantime individuals will donate to his family fund as he left behind a wife and young kids. As for personal safety, we will all check our helmets and make sure we have our cellphones with us if we didn't already. (I did). Me personally, I doubt I will ever not think of Wesley when I am at Northshore now. I am betting he has found the ultimate ride in Heaven. May God grant peace to those he loved.
Note: I didn't change this from Mountain Bike Monday because they found Wesley yesterday.
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