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Mountain biker’s crash, rescue lead to new awareness

Mountain biker’s crash, rescue lead to new awareness The events of Saturday, Nov. 2 read like a surreal collection of mishap and magic.

Mountain biker’s crash, rescue lead to new awareness

The events of Saturday, Nov. 2 read like a surreal collection of mishap and magic. The last thing Carl Brodeur remembers clearly is tightening the chin strap on his full face helmet in preparation for the descent of Dirt Merchant. Now, almost two weeks later, I gratefully sit across from him at the dinner table while he barely eats mashed vegetables and drinks through a straw. Carl’s horoscope from the Pique for the week of Nov. 1 seems to tell the story well.

"Are you up for a treasure hunt in the underworld? Aries, I’m urging you to scare up some riches in the souls natural habitat, known as eternity, the collective unconscious…the fourth dimension…"

Sounds pretty grim eh. Well thanks to the intervention of many unsolicited souls Carl is here to reap the benefits of this dimension also.

When his front forks suddenly broke off his bike the crash was catastrophic. The impact came suddenly and Carl likely had no idea what kind of a journey he was about to undertake. His riding partner Vanessa was equally unaware of what her day had in store for her.

"I was waiting at the bottom of the trail for him for a few minutes when I had a bad feeling something had happened," she recalls.

Hoping for nothing more than a flat she ran back up the trail calling his name. The scene she came upon would require all of her First Aid training and a cool head.

"Carl was still tangled in his bike and was not moving or responding. There was a lot of blood on his face and most of his lips seemed to be missing," she says.

Vanessa dealt with the priorities of life first, ensuring that his airway was clear (a good call from the reports of teeth strewn across the trail). It was clear to her after spending approximately 10 minutes trying to stabilize him that she would need expert help evacuating him from the mountain. A painful decision was taken to leave him in the drainage position and seek help.

A quick ride to the base of Whistler mountain was the pace setter for her quest to round up the cavalry.

"I knew 911 was the first step but they were not the only people I needed," she says.

She needed people with intimate knowledge of the mountain and its trails. It was getting dark and only a focused search would get Carl the help he needed in time.

The Longhorn Saloon was her first stop for the telephone call to 911. She must have seemed like a crazy woman covered in blood screaming directions to the bartender on the phone.

"I wasn’t about to sit around the bar waiting for the ambulance that may or may not get to where he was," she says.

She ran out of the Longhorn in search of more experienced mountain staff. Her quest led her to the mountain offices where the staff began the process of calling anyone that could help.

Little did Vanessa know that her first stop was all that was needed. A group of pub patrons knew the spot she was describing and sprung to action, starting the chain of reaction that led them to find Carl off the trail and clinging with a death grip to a tree.

Three hours later, after massive medical intervention and a fast helicopter ride, Carl was fighting for his life in the Intensive Care Unit of Vancouver General. The initial medical evaluation was grim. He had suffered a massive concussion, major facial lacerations, a broken vertebrae, and possible broken cheek and jaw. His trip into the fourth dimension was well underway.

Shamans, Meditators, vision Questers, and ordinary people at crossroads in their lives slip into this altered state to explore the underpinnings of the material world.

Carl awoke three days later still in the ICU. He was surrounded by friends and family. His parents and brother had flown at the drop of a hat from Montreal and Hay River. The whole world seemed to be waiting for news. It is unclear what protected Carl but he had emerged in amazing shape, considering the impact sustained. His many years of studying Yogic arts had no doubt come into play – as did the now smashed full-face helmet that now sits on the floor in his bedroom.

The big picture insights they snag in the dark depths can dissolve problems virtually overnight when they return to normal waking awareness. Are you interested in finding out what is beneath the tip of the iceberg?

Carl is still a long way from the sunny days that come after the storm. He is slowly returning to this world. His face is healing after over 50 stitches from a plastic surgeon. The neck brace will serve as a reminder to maintain posture. And his head is slowly coming out of the fog.

"Everything feels new. I am still not sure exactly what is going on in my head but I feel I have received some heightened awareness and insight," he says.

"I am just so thankful to all the people that came together to give me the opportunity to live life again."

Carl will be unable to return to normal activity for some time. But people like him do not waste time no matter what form it comes in. His product design company (BRODESIGNS) will no doubt receive the brunt of his newfound energy. Carl now knows more than anyone that there is a difference between marketing and performing.

"My mission is to encourage unity and diversity, to increase happiness and knowledge, to play through design," he says.

Through the stitches on his face I see a smile cracking but I can barely get over the intensity of his gaze. Here’s to all the good that may come from these strange days.