Thursday, April 12, 2012

Caught By The Light

It's my first ride back, March 10, 2012. I see them in the distance. I recognize the colors, logos, the chain links, but not the faces. They get closer and I feel more nervous. I am scared of riders bumping me most of all. The collar bone is still tender. We are wearing the same kits but no one waves, and no greetings are passed. I am off the trail and I watch them ride away. Just out of ear shot they talk again like the unwanted guest is out of the room.

It's a chilly morning in February 2009 at San Felasco. We are all ready to roll. I am really regretting not getting the BC vest, it looks really cool. Mingo, Micro, Silk, Shanks, Curl, Little Ball, Frog Legs, K-Dub, Cliffy, Big Worm, Darnel, Spanish Mackerel, Lyle, Ice Berg, Derwood, Big Jim Slade and I are surrounded in a sea of orange and black. Everyone is looking and wondering what the hell is up with us. We are loud, we are laughing. Some are bothered, some are jealous, but all notice. We are still rewinding the previous nights costume exploits. We roll out like we own the place.

I make my way back to the Piney Z parking lot. I am answering questions from kids at the pump track.
"How do you ride those small pedals? How much that bike? You can ride a wheelie? Is there trail in there? Are you going back to Tom Brown? How long will it take?"
I look up to see the Big Man, D, El Gato, Cliffy and Ice Berg rolling up. I yell, "Stripes!" (my derogatory nickname for non crew BC kit owners).
"Ain't no stripes here."
Big Worm says out of a sideways grin. I notice I am the only one wearing the new kit.

The first two hours of San Felasco are always the best. Everyone is together and we have a tradition of singing an obnoxious song. This Year we begin "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the entire crew is singing. We pull off the operatic "Galileo" answer and response as we pass a long line of riders. They think we are dicks and they are right. It's just how we like it. It is the tie that binds us all. We are too rough, too foul mouthed, too loud for other groups. We are in the blind state of wonder that accompanies not knowing change is coming.

Cliffy starts to twitch. Like me, he has been off the bike forever and he wants to ride. They head out and I head back up the multi use. As I crest the top, I see a woman on a entry level MTB. Her seat tube is all the way down. She rides past in the new BC kit.

At the first sag stop we all start to get game face and the factions form. Fast Experts, the B group I am in, with my inner circle and the guys that came with no miles in there legs and a hangover in their head, pick up the rear. It is a model for what will happen in the future. People move to different cities. The young guys get into college and take up motocross. Couples part and others come close, some have strokes, others had heart issues, others tend to family and career. Some just make decisions based on training. The covalent bond is losing electrons and the flashes of energy from the splitting molecules makes me squint. We didn't know it, but it was the last song we would ever sing in the woods. It felt just like another day, but it was the farewell episode of the show you wanted to watch forever. The echo increases as the historic snap shots drift and the credits roll. San Felasco 2009: The day BC went super nova.

I cruise past Tom Brown on the black paved ribbon that has been silent witness to all of my comebacks from threats, great and small. Back on Fern, I look over at the junk trucks by the cement mix yard.

The old glass still reflects the sun, but it ain't like it was.



Human Wrecking Ball said...

"Caught By The Light"

Caught by the light aware but asleep
Never as close as the friends that you keep
Drifting away on one final breath
The further you climb, calm silhouette

And takes you along, long, long, long
And takes you along, long, long, long

Far from a world ailing to live
Far from the wreckage you were left in

And the crossing is over where the righteous remain
In the memory it's deeper, survived by a name
The rest is sufficient, a midnight complaint
Left waiting in silence, left only to sleep

It takes you along, long, long, long
And takes you along.

The Boxer Rebellion

bikechain said...

brada - i sorta understand where you are coming from but sorta don't. All of our bonds and memories won't fade away - at least not for me. There are still there and very strong. I respect the OG and the FNG but recognize there's always room for more. Our bonds precede and exceed clothing OR stickers. I am VERY proud of the black and orange. Thought I was showing respect for it on the "new" kits. realizing now some feel otherwise. No matter where we all end up down the road - there will always be the crew. I just want us to remember why we started hanging out in the first place. For me it was common interests and having fun - specifically being inclusive and not falling into elitism (was a big problem in the cycling community). The idea that I CAN ride that obstacle better than you - but now let me show you how. For me that's what it's about. The names and faces might change but I can promise you this - you missed one hell of a shop ride tonight. You are always invited, welcome and WANTED. let's ride!

Human Wrecking Ball said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BIG JIM said...

HWB, I hear ya loud and clear.

Bikechain is right in that all of our memories and bonds will not fade away. And I do understand that our bonds exceed clothing, but I personally consider my BC (retro) kit as more than clothing. It’s a badge of honor.

It’s also something that I feel I have earned through years of ball busting rides, a shit ton of dickish jokes at my expense, and years of watching/listening/supporting my fellow crew as life sometimes tried to swallow them up. There’s not allot of people I would go into battle with but, if my services were needed, I would gladly stand shoulder to shoulder with any of you OG. I’ve bled with ya, I’ve cried with ya and I’ve laughed with ya. While I understand there is always room for more to join our fold, there is something to be said for earning a spot.

I got nothing against any “stripe”. The ones I know I like. Perhaps the “Stripe” and BC should have been kept separate. What is it they say “hindsight is always 20/20.”

BIGWORM said...

My man, a color is a color, but, core is core. You've always lauded yourself as the FNG, for about 20 years! Fact of the matter is, you are, and always have been, core. What someone else wears, has nothing to do with who "we" are. Never forget it, and it will never go away, my friend, regardless of any changing of guard.

Magnum said...

I still need a drummer for my cover band, Closer to the Heart. I want to do Country-Western versions of Rush songs; you in?

Human Wrecking Ball said...


Magnum said...

Awesome. And in between bouts of viral pneumonia and fishing trips, the Robot Army hits the trails randomly; you can be my winged-man any day (get it? WINGED?).

Juancho said...


Human Wrecking Ball said...

Ok i will work up a logo for that.

Anonymous said...

good one. I heard the next hot clique is the Peter Pan Race Team. Very exclusive group.

Human Wrecking Ball said...

Annony let me knwo where to send the money for the kit. Any groupr that would have me as a member can't be worth spit, but I am in.