Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I meant to do that.

In interesting and only vaguely related bicycle news, there is a community in Germany that has banned cars. You can read the full article here. It sounds like a great idea. It is a new community, so everyone knows what they are getting into. It will be interesting to see if there is any follow up to what is happening in the community in a few years.

The moments in life when you almost die are hopefully rare, but often you look back on them fondly. Last night was awesome because not only do I have a story to tell, but I am uninjured. We headed out to the pump track last night for some evening fun and to check out the new single track they are cutting out in Goldstream. I’ll talk about the single track in a later post. Mostly because our pump track ride was so eventful.

Our winter rabbit came out, which I give him major credit for because he is used to going mach ten everywhere with his impressive spinning abilities. Needless to say, first time pump track riding was not his thing. He made all the mistakes people pumping for the first time make, but by the end, he was getting it. To his credit he was also learning on a full size mountain bike, which isn’t ideal on the rather small track. A stark contrast to that was our new flatland BMX kid. He was basically shredding the course to start, but seemed unused to riding with any amount of speed and was completely hampered by his total lack of brakes. I believe his best comment of the night was, “I’ve only cracked myself in the nuts once.” For me that would have been one time to many.

The best comment of the night came from our super star Reese. He’s that horrible kid that is good at whatever he does. He destroys cross country skiers all winter and kills the road scene all summer. Sadly he also has superior skills on a mountain or dirt jump bike. If he wasn’t such a nice guy, I am sure someone would have killed him by now, or at least started a website dedicated to hating him. I was complaining at him last night because he kept switching directions and was making it difficult for me to decide where to go when I dropped in. His comment back at me was a jaunty “I ride wherever I want!” In a true karmic event this was followed five seconds later by the dull thud of bodied smacking into each other. I looked over to see him and Snarsky laid out. Since everyone was ok, I immediately started harassing him about it.

My near death experience came much later. I packed up my stuff, shed my gear and helmet and was preparing to leave when someone pointed out that someone had done the work to add a dirt jump to the lower parking lot. Since the pump track is about eight feet higher than the lot next to it where the store is, this made for a beautiful roll in to the table top someone had installed. I borrowed a bike (I was too lazy to get mine out of the back of my truck) and hit the jump.

I made the following realizations at speed after I landed.
“Reese’s bike has no brakes.”
“Reese’s bike has one brake, which has a much short lever and is positioned much more inboard than mine.”
“I hope Reese’s brake works well because there is now a large trailer directly in front of me.”
“Reese’s bike does have a good brake and if I don’t crash from the rear wheel being locked up and sliding all over the fricken place, I may not hit the trailer.”
“I am going to go get my bike now.”

Despite these sudden bursts of insight, I didn’t retrieve my helmet and other protective items when I went back to get my bike. So two jumps later when I almost crashed hard (I am getting a bit old for this kind of thing), I would really have had no one to blame but myself. The jump wasn’t lipped as nicely as it could have been, probably from being rallied on a daily basis, so I wasn’t getting the air I wanted without some work. On one of my last takeoffs my timing was horrible. I had way too much speed and pulled up way too late. I was almost fully airborne and basically yanked my front end straight up. I landed in a manual at speed. Although it was kind of cool, my manual/wheelie balance basically sucks and I knew there was no way my front end was going back down. I bailed off my pedals and landing sprinting. Because I don’t actually know how to crash well off a jump, I of course held onto my bike’s handlebars. Somehow I managed to keep everything together and not simply sketch out into a pile of flesh and aluminum. I ended up walking with my bike popped up on its back wheel in front of me. Super Star’s sudden exclamations and yelling let me know it must have looked cool. Sadly all I got out of it was I should definitely be wearing a helmet and my failed attempt at big air had ended in some bizarre trick I wouldn’t be able to replicate without months of practice and lots of luck. Sure, I meant to do that.

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