I started riding mountain bikes about ten years ago when a touring cycle I had back then was ripped off from a garage apartment I called home during my Fort Worth years. I decided to make the move to the studier frame and the fatter tires so I wasn't constantly judging whether the pothole or sewer grating coming up on me and fast was to be feared or sneered at. One Peugeot trail bike later, I sneered at all obstacles and I never looked back. Often people give me hints as to challenging trails they think I'd love to explore, zooming along loose and bumpy terrain. That's not my bag. Unpaved fire roads in state parks are fine, but I'm not in it for the adrenaline rush. The bottom line is I'm too fat and clumsy to venture on the rougher trails — except very slowly. And today, while on an unpaved path atop the levy of the San Antonio River just behind Mission San Juan, I decided to take the incline down to the grassy floodplain. It was hardly what you'd call steep, and the gravel surface seemed innocuous enough. But halfway down I realized the recent rains had loosened the larger rocks. Also, heavy dredging machinery had used this road, tearing it up even more. I kept my focus on that area just around the front wheel. A bad call. You really need to take stock of the next ten or twenty feet. I saw a chunk of limestone a smidge bigger than a softball. I swerved and rolled over a section of wood the size of a tallboy. The gravel was too loose to brake hard. And then I saw that I was heading for a section where the “gravel” was nothing but those softball-sized chunks of limestone. I tried to push on through, but by them I was bouncing too much.
On those rare occasions when I lose control of a bicycle, it's always a smooth separation; like the lower stages of a Saturn V, the bike just falls away from me as I somehow manage to launch myself into unencumbered freefall.
I love those magical moments. I was laughing as I sent a lone expletive toward the sky. I'm not sure how fast adrenaline hits the bloodstream, but the rush hit me then, truer than were it delivered by a hypo. I reached out with my left hand to brace for impact onto the rocks — and there was a smooth interval of time where I turned to smile at the bicycle rotating above me, heading toward the grass, and then I looked back down and watched a rock-strewn puddle rush up at me. I skidded first on my left palm (padded by my glove), and them I took most of the impact on my shoulder, splashing down into the muddy water.
And then time was back to normal as I found myself back up on my feet, grinning like an idiot. I picked up the bike and continued along the path, walking it beside me.
My iPod continued playing Christine by the band Deckard, but it wasn't meshing with my mood, so I switched it off.
This is exactly why people ride bikes down mountains … on purpose. A spill isn't really a bad thing. The biggest problem with a surge of adrenaline after you crash, is waiting to see what the real damage is. This whole hormonal component of the fight or flight reflex keeps one in the dark — the pain comes later. Sometimes not for hours. But that all was seven hours ago, and it looks like I lucked out. Just a stiff thumb.
And Drew, if you're reading this, the bike I'm borrowing from you, came through it all unscathed. Kudos to the lowly Schwinn.
I was able to enjoy a Saturday on the bike trail because the shooting for Leftovers took a weekend off. When Robin called me the other day, I was a bit baffled. No movie? What was I to do? My weekends had been filled with production for — well, it seemed like a very long time. Besides, I'm not a fan of weekends. When given the choice, I prefer working on weekends and taking off a couple of weekdays. Weekends are crammed with a bunch of assholes running around getting in my way. But what am I griping about? My current status of self-employment allows me to enjoy my weekdays to the full. So, really, today was just another day. I worked on the Josiah Festival. And I laid out a course for the up-coming NALIP Meet-the-Maker film series I'm curating. It's too early to starting talking much about my plans until I speak Monday or Tuesday with our nonprofit co-sponser. And I still need to contact the filmmaker I want to bring to town.
I've been lucky enough to have friends who have provided financial assistance to get me through this rough patch. But I'm currently working on three different film events — all with budgets! The payment might come slowly on two of them, but I've got some breathing room.
Now what am I doing tomorrow? I know I'm not making a movie …. Oh, actually, this will be the first time in over a month I'll be able to go to Pepe's Cafe for their Sunday lunch special of Enchiladas Verde. And that, my friend, is the cornerstone of any successful Sunday. That is, for us unbelievers — hellbound, perhaps, but definitely well-fed.