Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Riding my cx bike on Duke Forest trails this weekend, I was forced to slow-up after a tree branch of reasonable size fell about 20 feet in front of me. It was probably about 3" in diameter at the largest point and maybe 7 or 8 feet long--not so big that it would have crushed me, but big enough that it probably would have caused me to crash. Which got me to thinkin', if I had been riding slightly faster I could have been struck. On the other hand, if I had been going slower, I may not have even noticed it (although I could have been attacked by a rabid turtle). This kind of pontification about fate and foliage is really an exercise in futility (especially I spend most of my days fixated on thinking about trees), so I decided to forget about it.

The other thing that occurred to me is that I should have taken a picture of it, so I could share this experience with others. But thinking about all of the pictures I should be taking, and all of the pictures I've missed taking, is another exercise in futility. It reminded me of this documentary photography class I took in college in which I wandered looking for events to document photographically. The problem, though, was this led me to always think about pictures I should be taking and feeling regret about not having a camera. It got to the point where I felt that I was unable to enjoy things I saw because I was missing out on photographing them. I soon abandoned my ambitions of becoming yet another famous documentary photographer and regained my ability to enjoy things "in the moment", which sounds like another cliche, but is probably fairly accurate.

In any event, the tree branch incident was followed up with a snake encounter on a road ride with Ali yesterday. So this snake was plesantly chillin' in the middle of the lane on Plesant Green Road. I slowed down because I wasn't sure if it was going to dart off into the grass, dart under my tire, remain perfectly still, or springforth and snakebite my tire or face. In the end, it kinda wiggled around, but didn't really get out of the way so we were forced to swerve around it. I immediately regretted the fact that I did not try to bunnyhop it (a feat that would have become all the more legendary if it had been photographed). However, much as Fonzie's jumping of the shark signaled the ultimate demise of "Happy Days", an attempt to "jump the snake" would have probably led to my immediate demise because the snake would have totally wiggled around and I'd try to make some ill-fated mid-air adjustment, crash, get bitten by the snake, and finally get laughed at by dudes passing in a pickup truck. This disaster would be followed up by Ali photographically documenting my wreck, posting it up on this blog, and coining the term "jump the snake". So, in the end, my regret was replaced by reassurance. Besides, I don't want to be one of those guys who spends their life thinking back and regretting all of the things he should have bunnyhopped.

Upon returning to town, the West Duke building was happy to see me. But don't just take my word for it, here's the photographic documentation:


DukePirate said...

If a biker is hit by a falling tree branch in the forest and no one is there to photograph it, does it really happen?

There was a trail that I used to ride in Tucson (Fantasy Island) that would see a rattlesnake on almost every time I rode it. They would usually be stretched out across the trail in such a way that made it impossible to avoid them, so I quickly decided to learn the skill of bunnyhopping. I don't like snakes.

DukePirate said...

West Duke's, um, 'love' of you reminds me of a certain tree in New Light: http://bullcitycycling.blogspot.com/2008/02/things-seen-on-trail-at-new-light.html.