Over the years I have collected a good number of scars and markings on my body that all have a story to tell. I was reminded of these as someone was smacking my hand as I was picking the scab off of a recent futbol injury received from playing on artificial turf. That one will definitely change the color of my upper outside left shin. Who doesn’t love picking scabs. I especially love getting a really thick one and leaving it on my friends desks or inside their shoes to find later. So I wanted to highlight some of the war wounds I have received and due to the quantity, I am going ahead and calling this part 1 since I know I could not get all of them into one post.
MUST WATCH: A year ago or more, the friends and I revived our love for mountain biking by going somewhere we did
not have to ride up the mountain and could take a gondola to the top, Mammoth Mountain in California. Normally a winter excursion, the summer removes the snow and unveils some of the best trails and downhilling I have ever seen. From the top of the gondola you can ride for over an hour and still not be to the bottom, of course you could also be down in 15 minutes depending on your route. Well on the last run of the day (typical) I got a flat just above this really large jump we could see form the gondola. I fixed my flat while the rest of the crew went down by the jump to watch myself and Kamran risk certain injury. Kamran was
itching to go but was waiting for me to fix the flat. Had I not received the flat, this might have not happened but during that time I had a moment to calm my nerves and reflect on how easy this should be. Without warning other than a yell to Johan to start filming what you see above, I went for it. Peddled hard but was not in a big enough gear however in these moments you dont like to fluff about with gears. Hit the jump, pulled up hard, and landed with both tires just on the other side of the landing but still well short. For a moment I thought I was alright, buut the rear tire just kept floating up and I slowly tumbled over my front handle bars down the extremely rocky landing area and sent my bike tumbling. I felt instant pain all over and was sure I had done some serious injury. I stood up immediately and let out a painful and somewhat humiliating “OWWWW” and felt even better with Johan’s laughter and Justin saying that I had done good. Kamran bitched out and did not even do the jump after that.
As a little person I would spend my summers in England. My parents would put me in the hands of some very attractive stewardess’ prior to the equal employment laws and all that rubbish, and find me in the same spot at the airport three months later. While in England the rest of my family had to figure out things for me to do so they did the logical thing and sent me to camp so other people can deal with my antics. I went to a variety of camps, mostly futbol camps, but there were a few times I went to go for a week of random misadventures in some large mansion where we would play games in the forest, climb walls, do acting skits, and have to eat like the kids in harry potter. One day at the Woodrow house, the activity was random obstacle course the counselors had obviously strewn together earlier that morning. One of the “obstacles” was a tarp layed on the ground covered in soapy water and two counselors would pick us little persons up by the arms and legs and throw us across the tarp. Not until college did I grow so I must have weighted 5 stone at the time. (14 pounds to the stone, stupid english) They gave me a good heave and I was zooming on down, they threw me a little to the side and I collided with the corner but no issues, or so I thought. At the next stage, another kid asked what was wrong with my leg and I looked down and almost my entire shin was a bright white. They had thrown me into the tent peg that looks like an upside down J and my shin opened up for the world to see. I had my first experience with an English hospital that day which I thought was OK except they did not give me nearly enough anesthetic for the 9 stitches I needed. This is maybe my best scar.
After quitting the UCI collegiate team after two years, I could not give up soccer entirely. I enjoyed getting a kick about in with the UCI club level team. One game I received an absolutely brutal elbow to the left eye brow which exploded with blood which could be seen from 60 yards away in a gruesome display of red. My cousin somewhat english cousin Jak had the opportunity then to see the USA healthcare system and was shocked when we had too go find a different hospital since the first one we went to turned me away. I believe this scar gives me an even MORE prominent brow line if that was possible. So prominent, it is just below that of a cro magnon man.
My life was a little disheveled at this point and people were beginning to wonder if I had gone crazy. I had just quit my lucrative job at IBM, I did not have a mobile phone, I chose to ride my bike everywhere, and rarely people knew where I was or what country I was in. One night in Santa Monica, the boys and I had a late night drinking. Thanks to good ol’ Pat, we were drinking some heavy beer with 10% alcohol in it. We had all chose to ride our bikes to the bar and locked them together out front. When the time came to leave, I must have done the usual sprint back into the bar to do something, and when I came back out everyone was gone, and my $2000 bike was just laying on the bush in the front not locked up. So I mounted the bike and did a few laps in front of the bar trying to get my bearings and heckling people around the bar as I fell down several times trying to make tight circles. At one point, I swear to you, I failed to remember what country I was in myself and only when I saw the street sign that said Venice, I remembered. I had just returned from England and Spain and had been in SF and Portland and the cities were blurring together. Although my pops lives in Santa Monica, I decided it would be a better idea to ride back to Orange County. On a good day with all my gear on and a proper route, this would probably take me 3 hours. It was now 2:30am and I had shorts, sandals, no phone, and a one dollar bill with no cards. So I decided I would skirt past LAX to the north and then come back down through redondo, find a board walk, and just head south, seemed easy enough. After about 1.5 hours, I was getting frustrated and I was surrounded by huge warehouses with big empty streets and no one around. I started to ride harder and faster to get things over with sooner but this only made me fall in the gutter pretty hard as I went over some bumpy part of the road. I got up real quick as to not allow anyone to see me which didn’t matter since there was no one around El Segundo at this time of the morning. I started screaming as a primitive animal at the huge canyon walls around me. It reminded me of the end of Bloodsport the movie when Van Damme had the magic powder thrown in his eyes and he was standing in the middle of the ring screaming and waving his hands around. I finally decided to abort the mission and found a 711 convenient store. I walked inside to get change from my one dollar. The man looked at me funny and said you have to buy something. I argued that I needed all my change and he said I would have to wait until someone bought something so the cash drawer could be opened. I looked around, no one around at 4:15am. So I stood there and stared at him, half shaking from adrenaline and exhaustion. Finally someone came, he gave me my quarters, and I called my escape number, B. Although it was a Thursday and she had to work the next day, she drove the one hour to pick me up. She found me with my head asleep on my bike seat as I was sitting on a pile of firewood. I got home safe but my friends in Santa Monica did not hear from me for several days and considered me a gonner. So the point is that from this ride and the crash, I got a really jelly like scar on my elbow in the poor picture, and my left pinky cannot straighten out anymore. Good reminders to not ride around drunk.