Thursday, August 21, 2008

I've never ridden anything like this before

Famous last words, a few years back my friend Jay and I decided to hit a different trail and went to Robert E Lee (it's a sort of Park, sort of woods on the side of the road type thing) here in Maryland. It's not a super XC trail but there are a ton of jumps and few other fun things to ride. We drop in and start through some of the trails, going here and there pretty much just exploring anything that even remotely looks like a trail. After a few decent finds and more then a few terrible ideas we started to head back but we decided to head over to the jumps. These have been here awhile and from the transitions were setup to be BMX jumps so they are a little tight for our 26in wheels. Still we hit a few and moved on to the dirt half pipe, it actually looks like a 20 foot deep rut in the ground that’s been worked here and there to make some nice transitions. This was all pretty new to me, I switched over from BMX to skating back in the day so I really hadn’t ridden any half pipe style ramps before. You can really only jump out of one side of the pipe so we’d cross, drop in, grab some air and then repeat. From a standing start we were getting around 3 foot of air with little effort. After the 5th jump or so while crossing back over I yelled out to Jay, “Wow this is sweet, I’ve never ridden anything like this before”. And there it was, I called down the thunder, I just assured myself a grizzly demise. This time I didn’t stop to turn and drop in, nope I came out of the ramp rode to the right around a tree and back with speed. Too much speed, way too much speed, somehow it had snuck in there “I’m the man”. I didn’t hit the transition until I was at the bottom and that was the first indication of trouble, a 15 foot free fall set off a warning. By the time I got to the opposite transition I knew I was over, big time. I flew out of the pipe like a rocket. I knew I was in trouble but have to admit it still felt damn cool. I had no idea how high I was and was trying to level out the bike but I over compensated. I nose dived and landed hard on my bars. The force was a bit too much for my left arm and it buckled, hello handlebars, how have you been. I came down hard on the bars catching my left shoulder and proceeded to flip. I spun to the left landing on my shoulder, chest and head ( I’ve pieced the last bit together from Jay’s information and the position I ended up in, I don’t remember any of that bit. For me it was just “ Oh Snit “). The next thing I remember is Jay slapping my face and asking if I was ok. I knocked myself clean out and was out for about 5 to 10 secs I guess. I of course couldn’t answer as I had no air in my lungs to form a response so I just gurgled, waved and counted the stars floating about. Once I started to realize I was still alive and that I could move I started to look around. Where did all these people come from? When we were riding we seriously only saw 2 people, now I had 12 plus people ogling. I had hikers, bikers and kids all around me. Some smirking, some concerned and for the kids it was confusion. One asked “what happened to him?, my boy Jay being a tool tells them he just kicked my butt. Jay now realizing I was alive had fulfilled his duty of friendship and now could laugh at my pain. The kids were shocked, he laughed and said ”just kidding, he fell”. So there I sit, stunned and now with a growing crowd feeling more and more like a goon ,so I hopped up and brushed myself off. This broke the crowd out of their mesmerized observation of the crazy mountain biker who had smashed himself up. And now with no hope of more drama they decide to dissipate. After most of them had moved off Jay started laughing and said “only you man, you were seriously over 7 feet high! You could have jumped me! It looked pretty good until you landed on your handlebars.” “Why did you go in so fast?” I said I didn’t know but I did, I’m not the man. After a few more minutes of recover time we started to head out of the trail. I was riding a bit slower but I was still riding out so I call that a win!

We get back to the cars and start to pack up shop. I put the bike on the rack and load up the gear in the hatch. I look down and realize I’m filthy. I’m not going to get in the car with muddy sweat all over me so I take off my jersey and shorts. I still have my squeezers on so at least I’m not neked. I forgot to bring a change of cloths so I guess it’s going to be a squeezer only ride home. Me and Jay finish up with the typical “good ride” and head out. I get on the beltway and start heading home. I’m starting to stiffen up a little bit but not feeling too bad for falling 7 feet onto my head. Still, was a fun ride and have another story to add to my annuals. So there I am, driving home. Everything status quo. Or is it? I look over to my left and a guy in an Audi is staring at me. HARD. So I look back at him, I mean what the hell? I didn’t cut him off or anything. I’m just a dude with a bike on top of his car, that’s not so strange. Whatever, not going to worry about him. So on I go. Again I look to the left and lock eyes with a woman in a truck next to me. She starts to look away and then whips her head back, big time double take. Then she goes one step farther to reach over to the guy driving and point me out. What the? They are now both smirking at me and I’m thinking what is wrong with me? I drop down the visor and pop open the mirror. WOW, I have a lot of dirt on my face. And when I say a lot I mean a ton, it’s like I stuck my head into a bag of peat moss. My face must have numbed up because I didn’t feel it and everything seemed normal. JAY! Damn .. well I’m not going to knock all the crap off in the car so I figure who cares. It’s been on this long what’s it matter. I grab my phone and call Jay, “Dude! Why didn’t you tell me I had 5 pounds of dirt on my face?” “I thought you knew” .. you thought I knew? “Why would I leave it there?” “hmmm good one”” thanks buddy. “ He seemed like he really hadn’t thought about it, or he hid it well.

I’m almost home, can’t wait to get out of the car and squirt myself off with the hose. I’m a tired, sore, dirty mess and just want to lie down. I pull up to my road and I park on a pad behind my house which I have to access via my alley. I start to pull in and realize someone parked their truck in the alley. I’m not going to be able to make it down to my house. At this point I’m thinking of course, well maybe he’ll be down there and I can ask him to move. So, I hop out of the car and start walking down the alley, no shirt, no shoes, just my squeezers and my best impersonation of Swamp Thing. Though I don’t really thing about any of that until I see the guy and start to walk up to him. He has his back turned and looks to be an electrician working on someone’s AC unit. Now it starts to hit me, I look like a nut, this is going to be good. “Excuse me buddy, could you move your truck down a house or two so I can get to my parking pad? Still with his back turned “Umm sure” .. then he turns around. I almost laughed out loud. The look on his face was priceless, “yeah, sure man I’m real sorry about that”. When he left his house that morning I’m sure he wasn’t thinking he’d have a run in with Swamp Thing, and in his tights no less.

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