I'm not very good at biking. I know that sounds weird, but I've never been great at it. I'm fairly athletic, but biking and throwing things have never been my jam. Once, I had a job where I had to ride a bike. Often, I would come home dirty and covered in blood because I'd have biffed it or whatever. And I had to wear a uniform in that job, so people paid more attention to me when I fell down.
But I digress.
When I was nineteen, one of my buddies was about the same height as me, and he lent me his mountain bike so I could join our friends in biking down a mountain. I figured it wouldn't be that hard, and then spent the better part of a day going over the handle bars. I have no idea how I didn't break my collarbone, probably being fairly young, and let's be honest, not making any land speed records played a part.
But my constant meetings with the ground caused me to be slower than the rest of my friends, and eventually I was left behind. I wasn't particularly worried by this, really what worried me was the fact the mountain just kept going.
Finally, I reached the base of the mountain. It was a glorious summer afternoon which was rapidly sliding into sunset. The temperature was perfect, the plants were in full bloom, and the light shimmered, turning the air hazy, making the waving grass at the mountain's bottom to turn a warm shade of amber.
I was covered in dirt and blood. I'd messed up my friend's bike, the wheel wobbled and complained, and I was trying to make up time, hoping I hadn't kept my friends waiting too long, so I didn't think much of the beat up truck parked just off the dirt road.
I rode toward the truck and saw a man stood next to it. He was shirtless, and his skin glowed, and let's be honest, he was certainly holding my attention.
Then I realized something was wrong with his face. He was foaming at the mouth, no, he was... shampooing his beard. And then I could see his whole body, having just ridden past his truck.
He was butt naked, standing in a meadow of grass, soap in his beard, and other areas, not a speck of water in sight. We locked eyes, the only sound the squeaking of my bike's misaligned tires.
Finally, he slowly, tentatively, lifted a sudsy hand and gave a wave. I hesitated, not sure if I could take a hand off the bike and not crash, but I decided to risk it because what was one more impact at this point? I waved back, didn't crash, and continued past him.
I've not been mountain biking since. I'm not sure there's a need to.