Friday, March 28, 2008

Mean Street

There's only been two activities I have done in my life that scared me. One was spring board diving (insert Louganis joke here..). My Father, and a few of my brothers were competitive swimmers. I really wanted to do something that my Father considered valid. I was a skateboarder, surfer, and a musician, all activities for the soft of head, in my Dad's eyes. I decided to dive my senior year. I was pretty good, but I could never shake the fear I felt, flipping and twisting in the air. I was able to do anything my coach asked. He loved the fact that I would throw my body, any way he deemed necessary. Just because I was scared, and by scared I mean, wake up screaming in a cold sweat scared, didn't mean I sucked. I just really didn't enjoy myself. My Mom and Dad were proud to have something to say at a party that didn't require an apology. There were some nice looking girls on the the swim/dive team.Things were good for a while. Eventually, a thought started creeping into my head, that it was just a matter of time before the board and I met under less than optimal circumstances. One day my hair hit it, then a hand. I moved up to three meter, where the mistakes had a higher penalty. On a Thursday practice that winter, I blew a back one and a half layout and landed flat on my front side. I got back on the horse, over rotated, and painted the back porch to match. My coach had to lift me out of the water, I was cooked. Thus ended a brilliant ten month diving career.

The other monster in the closet is road cycling. I have been doing it for eight years now and I can't shake the fear. I hate riding in groups. Like diving, the fear is not paralyzing and I still ride aggressively, but I am always thinking of the bad things. The horrible noise of the bike and rider meeting the ground. The fear of an unstable rider, taking me out. Road riding is all about being smart. It's about knowing when to lead, and when to follow. It's about, small refined adjustments of shifters, brakes and body position. These arts, are all lost on me. After all these years, I would still classify myself as a twitchy handler. Last and certainly not least, it kills my neck, on the ride, and for days after.

There's a lot I could say in defence of the discipline, but at the end of the day, I just don't enjoy it. I am tired of dreading road days, and all the feelings that come with it. I don't feel like it beat me, I feel like I am putting something to bed after a solid effort. Life is short and so am I. I will be spending my time in the woods if anyone is looking for me.



BIGWORM said...

Now, if you go and give up the road, who's gonna start all those damn yellow sign sprints?! You're right about focusing on the crashes being a HUUGE buzz kill. That's what makes sprinters amazing, they can completely tune into the task at hand, and the fear of crashing is not on the radar. To them, it's the price of doing business. I've never had that ability, at least not at that level. The same can be said for riding in traffic. It seems like more and more of my friends woke up one morning and were terrified of riding around cars. It's understandable, people drive like jerks, but I guess I just still consider it the cost of doing business.

On the roadie front, I understand I spooked the Wrecking Ball on last night's ride. I went to attack, and shake him off my wheel, but apparently in the process, I came over on him pretty bad, and almost caused more trouble than I meant. So for the record, I'm sorry about that, Boss. Now stop all this "I'm selling my road bike and buying a freeride bike" nonsense. You think your neck hurts now...

Human Wrecking Ball said...

Thanks for the apology, but it isn't needed. I was never mad at you, just tired of being the dumb ass on the Joe's ride. I left last nights ride feeling like I always a moron. When you add neck pain and a $2500.00 bike you can't ride anymore, it ain't fun.
That bike just isn't going to work. I may get a perfomance hybrid (Raleigh Cadence fc, or some such) but my group ride days are over. I may be up for some loops through Kilearn and Ox Bottom, but no Joes, and no anything else that involves people I don't know and trust.

BIG JIM S. said...

Hmm, it sounds life WB just needs to win more sprints. It's kind of like golf (but not like it at all of course). I swear every time I play that I will never ever ever ever play again....then I hit one great shot (1 great shot out of 124 suck ass shots) then wonder when I'll get a change to play again.

Oh yea, one Trek Fuel EX8 on sale...really cheap...damn oak tree.

Ms. Moon said...

I think you should trust your instincts. There is a reason we have them.

Anonymous said...

Road biking just sux.
Who wants to fear for their life every time a car passes?

For road riders, It ain't a matter of IF you get hit by a car, but WHEN.

Now, a rail-trail or a 6-Gap IS fun,
that's about all I care to do anymore road-wise.

RickySilk said...

T, sell the road bike. I've got a plan for you. A 29er with 1.9 semi-slicks and a nice easy on the neck handlebar rise. Then I can show you the pure bliss that is red clay ridin'.

Anonymous said...

That sucks. My road bike will be here on Monday and I won't even get a chance to pull you to a yellow sign or sprint.

Der wood

Human Wrecking Ball said...

Thank's for all the comments guys. I am super bummed. I love that bike. The first time I rode it, I loved it. I feel like I am being forced against my will to stop riding it.
I did test ride a performance hybrid today. I am hopefull. I stand by my group ride statements, but I will always ride with my crew if I find a solution.
Silk got me scratching my head. That's an angle I didn't think of. Your blog was so funny today btw! We should plan a group clay ride!

juancho said...

A tough, but noble call. I have a road bike. I use it for traveling in between rural convenience stores.

you will get no thanks for the picture though, that is going to cost me a night's sleep.

Magnum said...

yep, instincts are crucial. Trust them and do well you will young Jedi.

Anonymous said...

Tighten up ya little biatch. DD

Bounce said...

Human, the way you put words together really speaks volumes.

I love it.

Every time I read one of your posts, I am left laughing out loud and saying, "No shit!"

(diving and father-son relationships included - been there on both counts)

You're probably a great song-writer.

Human Wrecking Ball said...

If only!