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Bike Rides 105
World's Dumbest Mountain Biker
I’m a victim of Facebook bullying.
Last winter I posted a video of myself
riding my bike over the glazed ice covering East Side Lake. Even
with studded tires it was a challenge to keep upright. I pushed
it pretty hard; drifting into some nice 180’s but never
did go down for the camera.
It wasn’t long before the usual loyal
Facebook friends posted their encouraging comments.
“Nice Dan” said one. “Cool!” said another,
along with a couple of generous “likes”.
And then there was this from Mathew Anderson,
a high school acquaintance whom I haven’t seen in 10 years
and likely wouldn’t even know these days if not for social
“I don’t want to see any more videos that don’t
include face plants etc.” Mr. Anderson appealed.
Normally I take teasing pretty well, but in this case I got a
little ruffled, probably because there was some truth to the jester’s
snide comments; the video after all was pretty lame. So, in the
back of my mind I’ve always wanted to redeem myself for
the wimpy Iced Side Lake ride.
One of my favorite places to burn aggression
while staying in Mankato is 7 Mile Creek Park just five miles
north of the city, halfway to St. Peter. It’s full of up
and down hill challenges, a gravelly trail winding through prime
At a couple different intersections where
trail meets creek, you get the option of riding through the rolling
water or taking the wimpy way across, over the bridge.
Of course, we’ve had a lot of rain
this summer and consequently the creek was much higher than usual.
Soon the notion of blasting through the nearly raging cold stream
in the hot July sun was beginning to override common sense and
I was determined to give it a run.
Besides that I had my camera with me and
just like Opie Taylor in that episode where he finally stood up
to the Mayberry bully; I had a score to settle. So I flagged down
a couple of fellow riders, introduced myself and asked for their
“All right,” one said unenthusiastically,
fumbling with the camera while slapping a mosquito.
I rode the incline up the trail about 50 feet, turned back and
studied my target.
“I don’t want to see any more
videos…” the bully’s words played over again
in my head.
So I backed up another 50 feet.
“Ready?” I had to practically
yell down the trail.
“Yep” I heard in the distance,
and I tore down the hill with twice the speed as I figured necessary
to push through the flowing water, and with all the determination
of a really pissed off Opie Taylor I hammered it.
As soon as I hit the full current of the
swift creek the bike stopped and I flew over the handle bars with
a level of grace befitting an Olympic diver.
But three feet of water is no where near
enough cushion to sustain a head first kamikaze mission of this
magnitude, and in order to absorb the crash as I entered the water
like a fallen trapeze artist minus a safety net, putting my hands
out to save my head. I piled my left hand into the rocks, spraining
my wrist and bruising my palm, but I still managed to break the
After body slamming the creek bottom I
emerged from the water only to see my Raleigh bobbing downstream
now already 10 feet from my grip. Without hesitation I made three
lunging strides through the water and dove in again after my bike,
securing it with my good hand before it got too far out of reach.
Rising to my feet, with one hand I hoisted the wayward mountain
bike over my back, turned to the camera scowling and yelled loudly
from the middle of the creek bed:
“That was for YOU, Matt Anderson!”
“Hardcore!” the cameraman exclaimed
with new found respect, as I stepped out of the water, my dripping
bike still slung over my shoulder.
“Yeah, it was fun too.” I cocked
off a little, completely concealing the pain now consuming my
The one-handed ride back to the car was
a blur. I only remember having visions of Danny Bonaduce and Tonya
Harding ridiculing me as they analyzed every aspect of my crash
while replaying it over and over again on truTV.
Back at the car I checked the camera and
there was no video to be found whatsoever. Not even a frame. Nothing.
The epic crash was lost forever except
to the memory of two perfect strangers who, for whatever reason,
failed to record it correctly. To be perfectly honest I felt like
going back and taking it out on them; 7 mile creek would be a
good place to hide a body. But the pain in my wrist was daunting
enough to momentarily eclipse the intoxicating summer sun and
reintroduce my mind to reason, so I left the park without further
However, if you should happen to come across
my Facebook “friend” Mr. Mathew Anderson, tell him
Opie has a little score to settle with him near a seven mile stream,
five miles north of Mankato, Minnesota.
Traffic Tip: The faster
you ride the further out you must focus your attention and the
further back you should slide on your saddle.
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