Saturday, December 02, 2006

Certain Death


When we were kids we used to bomb hills catamaran style, or if you really wanted to ensure injury, trimaran pictured above.

The best (and by best I mean most horrific) run we ever had was bombing a big hill near my friend's house in Escondido. The road was not smooth, had lots of gravel and rock, and T-ed at the bottom, which required near miraculous luck to pull off a successful turn when you were riding solo. In any case, my friend and I decided this was the perfect location for a catamaran run. An additional consideration is that with solo runs you can move much more freely and through turns control speed at least a bit more effectively, when catamaraning your turning ability is much reduced and you have the added bonus of absolutely no effective method of slowing down.

We began our run slowly with long, smooth swinging turns that grew longer and less smooth as our speed increased. At about midway down the hill we were laughing and having a good time and pretty much hauling ass down the middle of the road with no turning involved. Unfortunately, we had made little effort to plan our approach to the bottom of the hill and it was rapidly approaching. Also unfortunate, was our tendency to want to do the opposite of whatever the other wanted to do.

"Let's turn right!", I yelled, since this would entail my leaning backward rather than forward and was a far safer prospect...for me.
He shook his head and replied, "Left!".
"No way! Right!" I yelled back at him obstinately.
This went on only briefly as the bottom of the hill was imminent and it was decision time.

Since we were unable to come to an agreement, we both leaned backwards while clutching at the others feet trying to force the other to go our way. We separated much too late for either of us to make a successful turn. I was able turn somewhat, and flew into the brush along the side of the side of the road at a slight angle, all the while balanced precariously on my ass with the two ends of my body sticking out at 45 degree angles. I came out of it with some cuts and scratches, but nothing too far beyond typical skate injuries.

My buddy fared less well. He was unable to turn at all and pretty much hurtled off the end of the road into the brush. As I limped up to him and our other friends came running down the hill laughing at us, I asked him "Are you OK?" He was kind of moaning, "I think so...but I need help, I'm stuck on something in here". Our friends came up, offering all the requisite comments our performance deserved. Finally, we turned to the task at hand, getting Paul out of the tangle of brush he was stuck in. We waded in and grabbed onto him and pulled. "Stop!", he yelled, "Something's poking me". I leaned over and looked. He had hurtled full force into a barbed wire fence and was punctured from his shoulder to his ass. I told him what he was stuck on and asked what he wanted to do. "Just yank me out of here I guess", he answered. We did...pop! pop! pop! pop! those barbs came out of him each one elicited a yelp of pain. Once he stood on the road rubbing his ass, he said to me accusingly, "You should have gone left, you asshole!"


Anonymous said...


Making a skate right now since all mine are broken and old and retired.

Fat and long and mellow it will be.

Cool story Doc

nmm said...

Love it! We used to plant a lookout at the bottom of the hill on the turn (my parent's driveway). They'd yell go! ....then hope no cars came. My parents driveway was (and still is) gravel. If you missed the were picking rocks out of your ass and back for days.

Great post, doc. Brings back great memories.