Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Crying Game (Reddy Hole III)

I narrowly escape drowning, the bike is not so lucky as the front end lands in the water.  Someone yells, "Oh my god that was bad, are you OK?".  I nod and lean against a tree catching my breath, waiting for the feeling to return to my right arm.  There appear to be no bones broken or out of place.  I realize just how very lucky I am to have only glanced off of all those trees in my airborne descent to the bottom of the embankment.  My inclination is that this race is over for me.  Then a funny thing happens....

A rider comes by and I am able to make out the name on the back of his jersey "Jaramillo".  It's Juan, the guy who beat me by one second two weeks ago.  The energy and sensation returns to my limbs as the fire rises from my gut.  Maybe I am man after all.

Of course things are never that easy.  The bike is pointing the wrong way down the hill, partially submerged.  I am already sweating like a pig and the truth of the matter is that getting the machine back up the embankment is probably going to take all of my energy.  I've been doing a lot of training in the gym, but there is doubt whether I am prepared to deal with all this.  Somehow I get the motorcycle upright, turned around, and restarted, then have to do little wheelie pivot turns to get the angle of attack required, stopping halfway up the embankment, because trees are blocking the way.  More wheelie adjustments and finally we can continue.  The marked course lays before me, all of the competitors in my class minutes ahead.  The only thing to do now is try to finish.

Maybe it's the combination of heat, humidity and pain, but a knock like this one really causes the psyche to recoil.  In one brief instant I went from the guy to beat in this class to a very lucky schmuck on an old bike languishing in 11th place feeling like crying.  Self-confidence, ego and desire bruised, they have all but deserted me while the post adrenaline crash is telling me to rest.  I begin to question my ability to ride a motorcycle.  The human body can withstand severe punishment and still perform amazing tasks, but if the mind is not right, it doesn't matter what the body is able to do.  I decided that this was now nothing more than a trail ride out of the woods.  Which would take another hour and a half, give or take....

Immediately, it's obvious that the front end is tweaked.  Somewhere in the tumble, something mechanical as well as spiritual had gotten slapped out of whack.  Turns are totally unpredictable.  When I feel like the machine is pointing straight, it's going off into the weeds.  The front end tucks for no apparent reason.  I start to hate the motorcycle, because it seems to be trying to throw me off again, even though it's nobody's fault but mine.  This thing feels like an accordion with two wheels nailed to it.  I ride on, as quickly as I dare, which is not very quick at all.

The voice inside my head is silent now, its point driven home harshly.

That is the look of pain in my eyes, not determination.  Post crash, notice the right hand fork boot is out of place.

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