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Archive for the ‘accident’ Category

P1030760, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Can you see yourself in this mob?

The MX1(Monster Energy CMRC Nationals) has just roared past, several riders are down and scrambling for cover as the pack tears over them.

Obviously this spectacle is of interest to those who’ve come to watch.

It’s as interesting to watch the people – that is people watch – as it is to watch the sport. Tattoos are in. Many go shirtless – suntanned, sunburned, fat thin and every shape and permutation in between. Beards, Mohawks and shaved bald, but not so often clean cut and preppy. As a rule the motocross enthusiast is younger and a little less coiffed than the slick pretty-boys you might see swaggering round a mall.

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The MX2 – Walton 2010 – The Monster Energy CMRC Nationals

I believe this captures the essence of what its all about. These guys are going at it full bore – “death or glory” so to speak.

The riders are typically classed as either factory riders or privateers. Factory riders are those who are paid by Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha. They are trained, coached and provided for as the most skilled athletes in the country. Many have personal trainers, their own mechanics and bikes (once properly tricked out) of a value approaching $70 000.

The privateer has a dream; he hadn’t made it yet and their world is a colder harder one.

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Walton Monster Energy CMRC Nationals

Everyone was gunning for the “holeshot”.

In motocross the “holeshot’ is the position that a rider takes who manages to make it through the first turn ahead of the pack. Not anyone can take this spot, the rider needs reflex, aggression and just all-out lack of fear.

In the time it took my camera to reset itself from the picture of the running 30 second girls, this was all that could be seen of where they stood – the pack had passed and up ahead the riders were already going down and scrambling for their lives.

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Mad Max and fish net stockings

Admittedly you might wonder what fish net stockings and leather mini skirts have to do with sports, but here’s the answer – Walton’s Grand National Motocross Championship 2010.

I’d always maintained that these public spectacles were a bore, but a coworker convinced me to check out Walton one year and I’ve been a fan ever since.

Walton is spectacular not only in the daring of its riders who take some nasty falls and demonstrate incredible skill, but it also is a cultural phenomenon. Walton attracts a certain fringe element the overall impression of which is something very unique. Put all the grease monkey’s skilled mechanics, motor heads, tattoo people and crazed lunatics on high power bikes and pump them up on free energy drinks (Monster Energy sponsors the event) and you get this most incredible vibe.

These ladies perform the all important task of holding up of the “30 seconds to start of race sign”.

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Bottom of Ongley’s Hole in Dewdney’s Cave

Looking back on it (20 years ago) you could say that the cost of a backpack full of camera equipment was small in comparison to the the medical cost of the back that they had cushioned on the fall.

Its hard to imagine in a largely horizontal maze like Dewdney’s Cave how a person can fall, but the shaft above the main passage certainly provides that opportunity.

In this unfortunately blurry picture from a camera that survived, my son Joshua looks at the rope that I had used. One of the golden rules of caving is to not use equipment that you find set in place by others. Who would have thought that a rope of that thickness would have broken – but it did!

Ironic as it might seem I am now a safety professional in my working occupation. My job is to prevent people from being hurt in accidents.

The theory is that an accident doesn’t just happen, it is a sequence of events, one leading to another and finally the accident. There is a saying that backs this idea. “For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the rider was lost, for want of a rider the war was lost”.

Simply put, there was something that preceded my fall down Ongley’s Hole, something small that led to something more significant. “Stupidity” jumps immediately to mind, but in following the usual line of inquiry I ask why did I choose to use a rope that was left in place above the shaft by another – in answer I would say that my belief was that it could not happen to me. Why did I think this? Because I never had the experience of seeing it happen and my caving skills were largely self-taught.

There is another thing we talk about in health and safety, it is called a free learning. I escaped unscathed and learned my lesson at the relatively inexpensive cost of most of my camera equipment in the thankfully forgiving caving environment of Southern Ontario.

Your free learning is at my expense so it is truly free …

and now you know that it can happen to anyone!

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Kansas – where the wind always blows

P1020289, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

There is always a wind in Kansas. Wichita is said to be one of the worst places to fly into on a summer afternoon in tornado season. My boss told a funny story (not so funny for him) of one such experience that left a whole plane full of men screaming like babies. Pilot comes on the intercom – “WHOOEE, what-da-ya-think of that” Needless to say nobody was too impressed but the pilot seemed to be having a great time. Lesson is that if flying into Wichita in mid-summer, do so in the early morning.

Anyway, here is how the luggage issue ended up…

I finally reached the airport (by phone)¬†and they explained that I should have filled out a lost luggage claim. I told them that I had done so with the only people that I could find. Apparently they were new employees and had not done it right so I was now screwed. I called back later in the day for a second opinion and was told that my luggage had arrived on the same plane and so I was now unable to have it delivered as that was against their policy. Point is, it wasn’t on the carosel – thats no good to me.

I finally retrieved my luggage as I was leaving on Friday morning – just in time to put the clothes that I had bought from Walmart into it, re-tag it and pop it on the plane for Atlanta (My transfer before Toronto).

On the goodside – everyone at Dodge was very helpful, had a good long talk with the lady at the front desk of the Holiday Inn who was excited by the impending arrival of the casino in Dodge – she likes “Texas holdem”, but admits that with the casino comes the crime and social problems also.

Picture is where I stayed – at the Holiday Inn Express. They serve a pretty decent breakfast and we watched news of the election with a room full of hunters (Turkey or pheasant I think). People were pretty polarized in their views according to their level of affluence.

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I am supposed to be studying for a test instead of blogging (Occupational Health and Safety – (Connestoga College)

P1020275, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

As mentioned in the previous post, I had found myself wandering around before the sun came up. Not much to see in Dodge at that time but there was a certan something that made the place so atmospheric. I could hear the train’s horn long before it came. Looking down the tracks you could see the light approaching from many miles away. Considering the flatness of the terrain I suppose its kind of normal. Anyway it took about 15 minutes from first appearance to arrival and as the trian sped by it was a shocking blast of sound and movement – afterwards, silence again, somewhere off in the dark I could hear a horse neighing and down the tracks… red tail lights as the train roared on through the plains. Continuing on to “Boothill” not much seemed to be going on there either at that time in the morning.

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