It was just a tiny moment out of time; an instant, really. But for that instant, I was convinced I was in real trouble. That probably explains why the people at the top of Mount Telemark heard me screaming “DON’T DIE! DON’T DIE!” as I sped down the hill in front of them.
I was three hours into my fourth off-road ride *ever* and things were pretty good. In fact, the only problem I was having was my left hand cramping from pulling the front brake lever so much. There’s a simple solution to that, though: Don’t use the front brake.
I was letting the bike roll down the top of Mt. Telemark at a pretty good clip when I swept around a curve in the trail and saw my doom: the trail was washed out in three spots in close succession like “whoops” on a motorcross course. I hit the first pothole, bounced into the air, and started to contemplate my rapidly changing place in the universe.
By which I mean to say I screamed. And not a manly scream of macho excitement, either. This was a high-pitched, balls-in-my-throat, how-am-I-going-to-afford-these-medical-bills kind of scream.
And then God, or Dog, or physics or karma or whom/whatever finished laughing at me and nudged me to the side of the trail just far enough that I didn’t, in fact, die.