Sometimes you do something that is such a combination of luck and mad skills that it should have been caught on film.
My poor blue land rover broke a few days ago (see knackered prop shaft) so it was parked up across town getting fixed. Today then I was stuck at home with no transport.
Luckily though at around 2 I got a welcomed call from the 4x4 centre (about 12km away) who had done a rapid job repairing the beast and it was ready to go. How to get across?
It's been raining heavily in Scotland for the past 2 weeks so the bike paths are a mess, this however seemed fun so I kitted up and headed out on my bike. About 8km of the journey is on an old railway line (that the Queen used to travel on) that takes me from my house all the way into town to Duthie Park. As you approach the park though it gets pretty congested so you constantly have to dodge delinquents, pensioners and dog walkers ... an acquired skill.
There is a sharp downhill right hand 90 degree bend just before the end of the path that takes you down into the park itself. As I was approaching I saw 2 huge people (5ft5 and 250+lbs) out for a crawl and quickly had to make a decision...do I slow down (again) and wait to be let past, or do I keep on at full pelt (30kph) and try and squeeze by. I chose the latter option and kept on at full speed, dodged right JUST missing the elbow of woman #1 and managed to squeeze by ... though chased by a torrent of foul mouthed abuse from the two characters.
Having not thought this through properly I was then still at full speed but now FAR too close to the sharp downhill bend...in fact I was already on the downhill. This meant 1 thing, RACING TURN. Now, a full speed racing turn is one thing, in the dry on a Cervelo with Zipps. BUT pulling off a racing turn at 30kph on a mountain bike on a slippy path covered in leaves...going downhill is quite another.
It turned out pretty much the only way it was going to. I flicked the bike left, dropped my right knee and pushed the bike across the path towards the apex of the turn. Immediately I knew I had done a bad thing, my back wheel decided to start a race with my front wheel...the "who can end up in the park first" race.
With the back of the bike quickly moving towards where the front should have been something amazing happened. In the split second when I would normally have just gone "oh, I'm going to fall again" I had an epiphany. Suddenly I was no longer the unsure biker of old, in that split second I became some sort of ninja rider. My right foot was coming off of the pedal, my front brake was being applied, my weight was shifting, I was no longer out of control, this was awesome I thought.
It only got better though, due to the slipperiness of the leaves on the path, my quick decision making which had instigated a masterful save of my impending bike crash had turned from a cleverly planned manoeuvre into a freestyle bike trick! My bike should technically have come to a stop facing side-on half way down the hill with my right foot on the ground - uphill of the bike. BUT NO! In my ninja-esk manoeuvre the bike continued to rotate around the front wheel and the back just kept on spinning. Before I knew it I was still in the saddle facing back up the hill, right foot still on the ground (pivot point!), but we kept on moving until I finally came to a stop facing back down the hill. A FULL 360.
By this point I was screaming in a fit of joy hoping some unsuspecting film crew who were about to film a short documentary had managed to catch it all on camera. Unfortunately there were no cameramen in sight, so I quickly looked around. The two irate and overweight walkers were still slowly approaching...probably still shouting and cursing me for my earlier overtaking trick, when I span around and gave them a look which said "aaaaaah did you see that!?" ...
...unfortunately they had. Instead of appreciating it for what a combo of luck, leaf positioning and skill it had been they somehow perceived it as some kind of celebration dance for the earlier manoeuvre and near miss I had pulled off in passing them. It just seemed to make them even more mad and their earlier waddle had now turned into an almost walk...time to make a quick exit I thought.
Very very fun though, put a smile on my face for an hour or two.
After that I made my way to the car garage and recovered my car, its back in the driveway and it feels good to be with a mode of transport again.
It's amazing how easily you get used to luxuries, a car, ipod, laptop etc. My laptop also broke last week (motherboard) so it is also being repaired...or if the PC World Insurance policy is any good...replaced. But just as you feel lost without your item you very quickly get used to coping without it.
Humans were not meant to be reliant on mobile phones, google or xbox360, we were meant to be outside, working hard or inside thinking hard. Happily, most of my days consist of quite a few hours outside (and in a pool) working hard with an equal number inside thinking. Very often my brain struggles with the thoughts, some are too complex and require more understanding, others just struggle due to long days. Even more often my body struggles with the hard work of training, some sessions are testing, pushing new limits and building new fitness. Others though are just tough because I'm tired, mentally and physically.
Being tired though is an amazing feeling, it makes everything seem better. Warm water, clean clothes, food, bedtime or just 5 minutes to relax all seem better when you are worn out.
If you look at the news these days, read the papers or even just listen in on peoples conversations at work, on the bus or in the shops it seems as if maybe people need to get back to basics and appreciate the simple things once more. Something that tests you physically or mentally WILL tire you out, it maybe wont be fun at first but the simple rewards in day to day life it might bring about are worth it a million times over.
Humans are meant for hard work and challenge, so we might as well try it out.
Personally I'm wrecked after all those insane bike tricks today!