No, I’m not talking about a Deliverance type of situation.I’m talking about one of those moments that stay with you in your life. The ones that you have imprinted in your brain and can hit rewind at any time, because the feeling of embarrassment or laughter was so strong you unconsciously clicked “save” in your head. Whether it’s being “pantsed” in front of the entire summer camp, at Kendrick Park, getting Icy Hot smeared in your eyes while you’re asleep, adding half a bottle of Kick Ass Hot Sauce to refried beans for a starving friend, super gluing someone’s skateboard bearings to the truck before they drop in on the vert ramp, placing tacks on a seat before I sit down, or smearing brown pudding on the back of your new white shorts at the mall, they will like it or not be a part of you forever. Side note: All these things were either done by me or done to me. I thought these moments were behind me. I’m an adult now and it takes a lot to make me turn red, but this week’s occurrence brought me back to reality. Mountain biking in the woods of Connecticut has become common place for me in the warmer months. You get use to the trees, trails, dirt, and being alone out there. I don’t seem to come in contact with many others. Sure, the occasional hiker or bike rider gives a wave, but it’s not as common as you would think.
My ride this week in Wallingford, at Tyler’s Mill, started off sketchy. I made a few wrong decisions pedaling up a climb and my headphones kept popping out of my ears. Regardless, I looked past it and kept on with the ride. Things started feeling better, until Pandora decided to add "Who Let the Dogs Out?", by the Baha Men, to my classic hip hop station. So, I fumbled to get that crap the hell out of my head. Just as I start jerking my hand in my pants to switch the station, I see two cute girls on mountain bikes, 20 yards ahead of me, waving to pass them. Let me interject here. This is rare. I’ve seen squirrels, deer, chipmunks, even large snakes, but never have I come across two attractive women my age waving at me on a trail. Sure, I have a lovely girlfriend, but still. At this point, I take my hand out of my pants and give them a wave and a cheerful smile, even though the Baha Men are screaming about “letting the dogs out,” full blast, in my brain. Annoyed, but graciously appreciative of their gesture, I hold the wave while I pedal past them not noticing the sharp turn ahead of me. The turn, noticing me, places a small tree stump in front of my front tire, causing it to jerk to the right, violently, thus, forcing me to an immediate stop. What comes next, I had no control over. The speed and immediate stop on the stump cause me to blast out of the seat, over the bars, with my bike following annoyingly behind me. Because it rained this week, the ground in front of me had turned into a mashed potato with gravy mixture. A second later, I was mashed face first into a mud puddle frosted with dirt bombs. My first realization about this random chain of events was that the Baha Men weren’t screaming about dogs in my ears anymore. Instead, the headphone jack had been popped out of my iPhone and was now playing “Who Let the Dogs Out” full blast, from my crotch. I stayed put for a minute, trying to decide which angle I would play. Realizing I had no angle, I lifted my face out of the mud and sat on my ass in the middle of the puddle, Baha Men blaring, staring straight at these two girls. “Don’t worry. We didn’t see a thing.”
- Tyler Mill lot before "the incident."