Tim, Steve and myself headed north to meet Jon and Dom at Ray's for a night of riding. I saw a quote somewhere that stated "He who flies with balls skimming ground, not fall very far". Because I want to get back into BMX for a little while I felt like going up to Ray's a few more times this winter would help me get my wings back.
I rented the same exact bike as the last time, a 21" Gary Fisher Mullet. The crank was still bent but the layout feels neutral and fits me well. The hard part isn't jumping as much as getting your timing down and last night my timing was so far off we weren't even in the same zip code. My balance was in another county and I was getting frustrated so I headed over to the BMX style track leaving the pole riding to someone else to fall off. It took a half dozen runs around the track along with a few runs down the expert stunt sections to get comfortable again and I started to raise the pace in an attempt to actually get a little more air under my tires.
My friend Jon was smoking me through the initials turns which are critical to helping you get a good launch off the jumps. The harder I pushed the Gary Fisher Mullet the worse thing became. The tires were full knobbies unlike Jons tires that were a fine road tread that hooked up well on the plywood track. Every time I pushed hard the tires would try to roll of the rims so I put more air in. All that did was cause the over inflated tires to lose grip on the plywood. When I did have grip, there was enough flex to allow both tires to grind on the frame and fork.
The one thing about Ray's is the spectator friendliness off the place as all the dividers are only about 36" between the sections. It allows you to see who coming where trails merge and keeps the place feeling open. It didn't take long before things got out of hand and after pushing the envelope too many times, the seam tore along with the possibility of a few ligaments and tendons. In the very 1st turn of that particular track I pushed hard enough to drift all the way to the wall.
Not only did I make it too the wall, I tried to move it out of the way with my body. First the tire hit, then the lower fork leg followed by my leg then a few other parts of my torso. I found it very difficult to steer a bike when you are in a full panic with the right fork leg trying to bust its way through plywood and your butt is sliding down the wall and not sitting on your seat. The tire wedged itself between the jump and the wall finishing off what little chances I had of ever saving it, the bike stopped, I didn't. Somewhere in all the co-motion of my impending face plant I made a valiant attempt to catch myself only to roll my ankle and rag doll myself down the track. That hurt!!
After a few moments of assessing which body parts were detached or relocated I hobbled back on the bike in an attempt to loosen up the ankle on the way to the water fountain. A quick assessment showed lots of tan paint on the forks and a bent front wheel and all body parts accounted for except the right ankle. An hours more riding didn't help matters any as the more I rode, the weaker it got until I could barely even keep the foot planted on the pedals anymore. I gathered up the posse and we headed to McDonald's for some fat food.
By the time we got home the joint was so sore I could barely push the brakes. This morning things were better and I was able to walk without a grimace. I doubt anything is broke but the thing is so stiff that I can't walk without a noticeable limp. Looks like Moto and I will match for a while. I wonder who will heal first?