Monday, September 29, 2008

Charlie Brown - Mountain Biker Extraordinaire

You know Charlie Brown, he's a good kid. Okay, he's a bit of a blockhead sometimes, but he's kind hearted, determined and plucky. Despite his good qualities, things usually don't work out in ole' Chuck's favor - whether its pitching baseballs, flying kites or kicking footballs.

Charlie and I are kindred; we're homies. If he rides mountain bikes, I guarantee Chuck rides just like me.

After the debacle that was last week (friend's bike blows off the back of my car) I was feeling the need to purge that bad biking experience with a trip to Seven Oaks in Boone. You know, Charlie just keeps trying to fly those kites, despite the presence of a kite eating tree.

While waiting for Corey in the parking lot I decided to try a little adjusting on my rear derailleur because the hill climbing gears were not shifting well and you n-e-e-d those gears at 7 Oaks. Well, as usual, I made things worse. My 21 speed (old skool) was reduced to about 3 speeds. Struggling with it in the parking lot I said, "I hope this isn't a bad omen" Oh, if I only knew, but Charlie never knows Lucy is gonna pull that ball away, does he?

Adding to the mix, I was trying out some different biking shoes. About 2 miles into the first 7 mile loop I started feeling blisters forming on both my big toes. That's okay though, I don't need my big toes anyway. I was also having trouble clipping and unclipping. This caused a few minor introductions to the Boone dirt.

When we got to the top of the ski hill, about 5 miles into the first loop, I went to get a power bar out of my seatpack. I found the zipper open about an inch. Luckily everything was still there, everything - that is - except my car key. You need that to unlock, start and drive your car. Well, that's inconvenient.

I couldn't figure out how the key which was under my phone, a powerbar and a multi-tool could pop out of a space this (_______________) wide.

Charlie can't figure out why his baseball team sucks so bad.

We thought it could be on the ground back in the parking lot since I turned my bike over to (un)adjust the derailuer. So, we headed back with fingers crossed.

No luck.

I went up the beginning of the trail to another spot we stopped to readjust my derail unadjustment.

No luck there either.

So, I made one of the most super fun phone calls I've made in quite awhile. "Uh, Honey.....hope you weren't doing anything for the next couple of hours because I need you to drive up to Boone with my spare key and bail us out.............smooches." I'm paraphrasing because I don't really remember what I said. It, like a lot of things, is in a fog. She said it was pure joy to be married to such a well-prepared and self-sufficient person and she would be glad to set aside her plans for the day in order to assist me in my time of need......or something like that.

So, the plan was that I would continue to ride the trail again looking for the key amongst the leaves, sticks, roots, dirt etc and she would start driving. I planned to call her if I found it so she could turn around.

About 2-3 miles into our key search loop we came to a spot known as Rick's Drop. Before Saturday I didn't know what Rick did to get a drop named after him, but now I think I have an idea. It comes up fast, after a nice stretch of flowing downhill. Its not a huge drop, 2-3 foot probably, but it turns somewhat sharply at the bottom in some loose BLACK gravely coal like dirt. I was going pretty fast, but not too fast, and my front tire dug in the loose dirt, I heard a POP like the tire exploded and I was down, taking all the fall on my thigh, knee and inside right forearm. My arm was BLACK on the inside with a couple of bright RED spots showing through. It felt swell. I took a few minutes to shake it off, test out the bike and used my water bottle to wash it off as best I could. All-in-all it was a highly unsatisfactory mountain biking experience.

From here on out I would be much slower, standing to climb on my newly converted 3 speed wasn't as easy with a Charlie horse in my thigh. As we progressed I noticed the front of the bike getting more and more squirrely so I stopped to check the pressure and it was really low. I pumped it up, but I had the sense it wasn't going to hold air well. Since these are tubeless tires, and I didn't have a tube with me, I was pretty much stuck with it. I reserved myself to continue poking along. Nearing the spot where I noticed the key missing I came to another little drop-plus-turn spot, when I rode over it my front tire again dug in and let out a big POP.

I flew ass over tea kettle.

Corey said it was a "great save" which I didn't get since I somersaulted in the air and rolled off my shoulder. The worst of it was I now had a matching hamburger spot on my left arm. This time the tire was completely flat and so was my desire to bike.

I decided to walk to the top of the ski hill (remember, I had blistered big toes) and then take the bailout back to the parking lot. About 10 feet up the trail there was my key, laying perfectly in the middle of the trail, if we had turned around when we first noticed it missing we would've found it in less than 10 minutes.


I immediately called Jackie. She was only about 10-15 miles from Boone. I told her I found the key so she could turn around. She said I am the light of her life and everyday with me is a blessing.....hmmmmmmmm, that might not be exactly right either. Anyway, I don't like to ride bikes anymore. I'm going to take up cribbage.

Despite the obvious disaster, the were some good points. Corey and I both tamed the gravity cavity, that was cool. Riding the hardtail helped fo shizzle.

Stupid flat tire. This is the second crash-and-burn this season because of low psi up front.

Dear Low PSI:

You are the Enemy.


Brian and Charlie


Ryan said...

Keep it up, Chuck! ;)

Taco Ride will make it all better!

Squirrel said...

Hell yeah Taco ride....uhm I want to ride behind you for the next show:)


Brian said...

Nice empathy fellas. Tell me, does Chuck ever get to kick that football? Man, I hope so.

Buckshot77 said...

Dude, I feel your pain! I remember crashing on the pave trail before even hitting Denman's this spring and cracking my helmet. I'm starting to wind down at work so hopefully I'll get a chance to come out for a run with you guys sometime. Except, I'm going to hook my bike on the rack myself...

Anonymous said...

Brian, I worry about you.

Anonymous said...

Brian, do you have my Christmas gift yet? Oh, yeah, I worry about you too.