This past weekend, I decided to join with 11 other Netriders on what should've been a fantastic 3-day trip to the snowy mountain region in north-east Victoria. Not that it's very snowy right now, but it's still a beautiful area, and a great place to ride and it was meant to be a great trip. Don't get me wrong, it was a great trip. To a point. I experienced some new roads, some fantastic twisties and was feeling absolutely awesome about everything, until suddenly I came upon a hairpin bend on the Mansfield-Whitfield Road, just a couple of kilometres out of Whitfield, and I got myself into the poo. Big time. Before that, there'd been about 30km of straightish road. Not straight, but straight enough that I guess I got complacent, so when this hairpin turned up, I just didn't slow down enough. I slowed down, sure, but obviously I didn't slow down ENOUGH, and I got too close to the edge. That was mistake number one. Mistake number two, I panicked, and I grabbed a handful of front brake, causing me to skid and low-side, resulting in a crash and me going face-first into the bitumen. When I say face-first, I mean face first and my helmet bears the evidence of that, see: Anyway, I got knocked out for a couple of minutes, and the poor bugger riding behind me (louey) found me lying on the road unconscious. She picked me up, roused me, and then the rest of the group came along and got my shit together, called an ambo and sent me on my way. Apparently I spent a few minutes talking a lot of crap, which I vaguely remember and which must've been scary at the time, but vaguely amusing as I started to improve (nervous laughter anyone?) What's the damage? Well, to me nothing massively life-changing I think. My right shoulder is hurting like hell, and I think I've done something to my rotator cuff or a tendon in that area. I've got xrays and ultrasounds booked for Friday. My GP has also asked me to get my cervical spine (the bit right below my skull) xrayed in case of a fracture in that area, but since he's happy to wait a couple of days I don't think he's too worried. Other than that, I have a few scrapes and bruises, and a headache to rival the worst hangover I've ever had, even now. I also have panadeine forte and nurofen plus. Not really supposed to mix those, but... As for the bike, well it's in Wangaratta and I'm in Melbourne, and I don't think anyone has pictures (if you do, please let me know!) but I think it's pretty well mangled beyond repair. Every piece of metal from the headlight to the rear right indicator down the right-hand side is either scraped, bent or broken off and that's expensive. There's a BIG dent in the fuel tank, that I think was caused by the end of the handlebar, and they're not meant to bend that far back. Sounds like bent forks to me so... not good. Oh well, an assessor will go there tomorrow and let me know what happens. Write-off or repair, it's insured so I guess the end result will be fixed bike or new bike. I have spent a LOT of time reflecting on this incident, and I know what went wrong. I got complacent, probably a bit over-confident, and I panicked. Faced with the same situation again, I would (a) slow down more for the hairpin and (b) lean harder/use rear brake not front brake if I had to. Grabbing the front brake was just fcuking stupid. Not happy about that at all. As for the rest, well I've been stoked about how supportive and awesome everyone has been. All the guys and girls in the group I was riding with, random people on Netrider, the towtruck company (who delivered all my gear from the panniers to me free of charge), doctors/nurses, everyone. In particular, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that nobody on NR has told me I screwed up. It's an internet forum, and people on forums can be a bit weird... fortunately, not THAT weird. Thanks guys and girls. I would REALLY like to thank all the people on the ride, especially (in no particular order) Ned, Mad Marty, Portagrug, Greydog, louey, Peppy and spenze (I hope I didn't miss anyone!) who have gone out of their way to do extra stuff to help me or the situation either at the time or afterwards and I really appreciate that. At the end of the day, I've come out of this thinking that I had a REALLY great time on the ride, did something I wish I hadn't done, but I can heal and will draw on the positives and can't wait to get out there and go again, with a few new learnings under my belt.