Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hungry Covered Bridge Snaps At Jimmy, Jimmy Bites Back

It was dinner time.  Just coming out of hibernation of a relatively cyclist free winter, the bridge was hungry that day my friend.  Like the foul breath of a sleeping monster, you could feel the warm wet wind rush through.  Lying in wait for the perfect prey, the bridge let four pass its jaws before it set its starved eyes on Jimmy, the young meaty looking one.  Right away, the bridge could tell that Jimmy was different.  Obvious from the hundred yard approach, Jimmy’s shorts were black with no logos.  Jimmy's jersey was grey and baggy, making him appear plumper and juicier.  Oblivious to the hunger pangs of the bridge, Jimmy was marked before his rubber met the wood.  Doomed.

Jimmy wasn’t a newbie by definition.  Jimmy raced cyclocross last season.  Jimmy’s been mountain biking, but Jimmy still had to master a few odd ball trappings of the road, one being The Hungry Covered Bridge.  The four that passed knew the carnage that the covered bridge was capable of delivering.  At one time or another all had dabbed upon crossing, and although it’s never been confessed, I hear one had lost a wheel to the bridge.  The first four respected the bridge and its foot-wide deck boards separated by a wheel grabbing inch and a half gap from each other.  In turn, the bridge respected their skills.  Each rider no doubt could ride on top of a roadside curb for 75 feet without turning into the grass or dropping onto the street.  A foot wide deck plank was no trouble anymore.  Not for Jimmy.

The bridge could see that Jimmy’s handlebars weren’t quite as steady as the others on the approach.  Jimmy had a new bike, a beautiful Trek Madone.  Having ridden it for only a few weeks, Jimmy was still getting used to the racy feel, the Madone being more twitchy than a steady cyclocross our mountain bike.  Jimmy saw the first four enter the bridge on the right.  Probably guessing he should give the others some room, he stuck left.  Jimmy knew the bridge had gaps between the planks, but Jimmy didn’t know what the others took for common knowledge.  Probably being hand-built, the plank widths weren’t uniform.  The widest deck planks were about three feet right of center.  The bridge drew another foul breath and opened its jaws.

Jimmy entered the uphill appoach which placed him on a 10 inch wide plank.  Like a skilled rider, Jimmy knew the bike will follow the eyes.  Concentrating, Jimmy looked ahead down the bridge.  However, since he was entering on a hill, he had not seen the first few feet of the bridge's deck.  Jimmy’s mountain biking logic betrayed him.  Jimmy didn’t see that the plank he had entered on was thinner than the others, broken and narrowed to only 6 inches at the other end.  With an unsteady twitch of the new Madone’s front end, he veered toward the abyss, a five to six inch gap in the bridge deck.  Jimmy’s wheel dipped.  Jimmy’s bike flipped.  Jimmy nearly s*&%, but Jimmy bit back.  Literally.  With a big bone shattering chomp that echoed through the gaping mouth of the covered bridge, Jimmy bit that bridge with enough force to break his front tooth.  (Look closely at photo.  That's Jimmy's blurry tongue poking between his front teef)

Jimmy quickly got up and dusted himself off.  We inspected Jimmy’s bike.  Jimmy’s bike was still rideable.  Jimmy was shaken, but aside from the tooth, unbroken.  Jimmy picked up his tooth (seen in photo), stuffed it in his jersey pocket, mounted up and rode remarkably strong and in good spirits with the group the twenty or so miles home.

 Before he made a call to the dentist this morning Jimmy sent me an email to thank us for making sure he was okay the whole way home.  Jimmy added kiddingly, and I quote, “next time I cross that bridge I am bringing matches.”

For more history on the Hungry Covered Bridge read this previous entry titled "When It's Okay To Bail Mid-Ride"

4 comments:

Chris said...

Oh my. Next time, wait a while. Don't go for a ride at TOOTH HURTY!

James Billiter said...

Thanks BioDudes!
They helped me collect myself (literally) on the bridge and get back on the bike.

I owe you guys!

Sincerely,
Jimmy Road Rash with 32 teeth again

cincycling said...

When in doubt, DAB!

Joe Biker said...

No problem James. The happy ending is that Jimmy went to the dentist the next morning and they were able to glue the tooth back together. Amazing. The molar of the story: pick up your broken toof! Or dab. :)