One day, my friends Leland and Tom came over to my house to hang out. We decided to ride our bikes down to this little place behind some abandoned tennis courts. This is where I would have a crash I'd never forget.
It was a bright, sunny day as the three of us set off, riding down the street my house stood by, taking the road that went left of it about 200 meters down, and then following this road until it led down to a sidewalk that went directly to the courts. A small track encircled the courts and had been there ever since I'd first seen the place. The track, surrounded by trees and tall grass on all sides, was very skinny, just a little wider than a bike wheel, and was fun to ride on. My friends and I sped around this track a few times and then took a dirt ramp leading off the track and into the place I was telling you about. It was a huge square patch of pavement with small bunches of grass sticking out here and there. It also had a couple of dirt mounds that my friends and I rode over for fun. Most of these just had ramps leading up to humps we liked to ride over. But one of the mounds, looking like a miniature mesa, had about two foot-long ramps on each side of it and a three-to-four foot tabletop. This is the jump I would have my crash on.
As we arrived at the place, we began to ride over the mounds. Soon afterwards we started jumping the big jump, slow at first and then faster as we became more confident. After a while our speed was almost enough to clear the tabletop and part of the ramp on the other side. My confidence had been steadily rising, and I was starting to clear the tabletop and part of the ramp on the other side continuously, so I decided to go for it. I was going to try and clear the whole jump, ramp and all. This was not a very smart decision.
I decided that I would start about 100 meters off the jump and gain as much speed as I could. As I got 100 meters off, I stopped my bike and turned it toward the jump. I stood up on my pedals and pushed down hard. The air whipped my face as I sped toward the jump. But only then, a couple seconds before hitting the jump, did I realize how insanely fast I was going. I was going faster than I had ever gone before on this jump, and I went off the ramp full speed. As I left the ramp, I flew -- one, two, three -- feet above the jump! I seemed to linger there for a moment, just like a cartoon character running off a cliff.
And then I dropped.
I landed hard with my handlebars pointed to the left, going almost as fast as I was when I left the ramp. I began to swerve uncontrollably as I hit the brakes to slow down. As I hit the brakes my back wheel whipped out from under me, and I began to skid sideways. Skidding, I slowed down very quickly and my rear-end slipped off the seat. Unfortunately, as I slipped off the seat, my groin and left shin hit my bike's frame. After completely stopping, I lay there for a few minutes, thinking about what had just happened. Pain surged through my groin and shin. As I looked down, I could see that a bruise was beginning to form on my left leg. I then stood up and walked around, gingerly putting pressure on my leg. Nothing felt broken, but my shin hurt when I applied pressure. My friends, seeing this whole thing unfold from a little way off, ran over to see if I was okay. I told them I was fine. I then picked up my bike and began to ride it. We rode over the mounds a little more (slower of course) and then we headed home. This was a day I won't forget.