Myles lies on his bed, lounging like a leopard after lunch. If he had a tail it would twitch. Beneath his black Troy Lee sweats, his broken legs are mending by the minute. What’s coming next are Myles’ own words about the wreck from his personal journal, written before he could walk.
“My day began in Hollister Hills, California -with my bro Chris, local moto honch. The smell of racing gas was giving me goosebumps as I warmed my bike, ready to hit the fresh loam left by the November rain. We covered the whole park by midday, assaulting every single track and technical hillside notch. We took a break, undressed, and went to town for a bite.
We were ready to call it a day-and I convinced myself to suit up and go for one more ride. We were ripping everything in sight…avoiding rangers because I had no spark arrester. Being banditos, we stayed on the outskirts of the park… practicing the downhills in neutral with the engine off. We ended up on a wide open fire road.
I compression-started my bike and I was off down the road…I’m in third…fourth…fifth…wide open. Wide smile. I let off and clicked down to fourth. My 250 had pulled away from Chris. I looked back to catch a glimpse of where he was, my ego soaring.
I began to enter a turn. Not really worried, I’m off the gas, coasting into the corner.. The turn gets tighter and tighter. I was drifting to the right as the road was bending to the left.
I was on the outside edge when I saw the tree, a small, scrawny scrub oak. My heels were resting lazily on the pegs-the back brake out of reach. When in doubt, gas it, and I did- right into the trunk with my forks. Just before impact, I bail. As I jump from the bike-Bang. My right side and leg hit the tree, snapping the femur.
My left boot sheered the clutch lever bolt right off as my leg caught the handlebars, hyper-extending my leg to the point of mass destruction. I ragdolled down the hill to a stop.
Chris immediately came to my aid. “Are you OK?” In that moment my brain drew a blank because I could not move my legs. I knew instantly my legs were badly broken. “I need you to go back for help.”
Soon after I went into a semi-mushroom like trip…Technicolor fall leaves crunching underneath. Waiting. Gripping an exposed root, listening to the distancing sound of Chris’ bike, knowing that I was soon going to face the reality of serious injuries. People trickled to the scene. Finally the rangers arrived. Ranger Mike immediately began cutting off my sweet new boots. Anything, just don’t move my legs.
I hear the chopper approaching. For a moment I was almost happy. Once I was on the backboard I could relax. The medics asked me if I wanted something for the pain. Needless to say, I accepted. With pleasure.
Once airborne, my mushroom-like trip turned into a morphine cloud. I didn’t want to face the facts of being injured. I remember the instant we left the ground, I made a conscious decision that if the heli was going to crash it would be totally OK if I died.
We arrived at San Jose Medical Center. Wheeled in and diagnosed. Nightmare became reality. I was soo scared to let the doctor operate. Was this guy going to be able to put me back together? Could I hold out for an opinion from specialists? Fear and sadness mixed with my drug-induced state made it hard to make the decision to go ahead. I spoke to my mom on the phone and started to cry. It was urgent to get underway. My leg was the size of a balloon.
After answering a slew of questions, the anesthesiologist administered a dose that could have killed a horse. Lights out. Complete trust and faith were all I had.
Woke up in this dark hallway moving smooth and effortlessly along…the wall paneling zooming past me like blasting through some Babylonian, florescent tubing. Beeps and clicks and the drone of a PA system. I hear my father’s voice and feel the comfort of a loving touch. “You’re OK, you’re through with surgery”…11 hours worth. Hearing the words were almost insignificant to my mounting thirst and the pressure in my right butt cheek. My tongue glued to the roof of my mouth…all I can think of is water. My mother spoon fed me ice chips. It was relaxing and pure relief to my Sahara thirst. 4 AM. I am recovering.
After being in the hospital for nearly a week the real world almost doesn’t exist. Sitting there wacked on morphine gives you a fake sense of comfort. The day I was released, although I couldn’t wait to get out, I felt a frightening responsibility.
I now had to look after myself and protect the injuries from my own lack of ability. I chose to stop taking painkillers, any meds. The drugs are so bad, they’re insidious, giving you a false sense of security. I’ve learned that facing the brutality of being hurt, you can have a much better state of mind if you are clean. The brain can function.
Arriving home I saw my family and friends really being there for me. My buddies faces are readable, sort of apprehensive, supportive, but truly bummed out. No one can be sure how I will handle being out of commission.
Being transformed from athlete and exercise freak to a wheelchair-dependent guy with two broken legs left me with nothing except my mind to entertain my thoughts and upward energy.
Until this point in my life, the activities that are truly fulfilling involve great risk. The sports I love are dangerous-commanding respect from participants and fans. The fascination is going higher, farther, faster, more intense. Risk is the danger one faces every time out.
I was angry at myself for putting my body at risk and losing the roll of the dice. Letting go of the resentment toward myself is a big step in recovery-accepting the loss and the responsibility and trying to let go of what I could have, should have, or didn’t do.
An accident like mine can be looked at as an accident or as a sign, possibly a signal to wake up to something. No one wants to admit that they self-destructed, but there is a certain sense of relief when you get to a place of perspective— where the clarity of life streams into your existence.”