The Bikin' Fools



Brothers again


As I tried to pass Shawn, I wobbled slightly and made light contact. I had waited patiently to pass and finally saw an opportunity. Little did I know it would not be a normal pass. The touch turned to a rumble, then into an earthquake. It would shake the foundation of a long and solid friendship.

Shawn, Jim and I have a long history of riding mt. bikes together. We have always ridden extreme rides. We have ripped and shredded through most of the rideable country around Calistoga. We have gone on several camping trips. However the years seem to take their toll on things staying the same. A beautiful babe came into Shawn’s life, Jim became busy raising his gorgeous girls and I found myself doing the single pops thing for my almost-adult son. We don’t get to ride often together anymore.

The Kinetic Sculpture race became an opportunity for Shawn and I to spend some quality adventure time together, along with "Lightning" Waddell. However some tension was evident during the building process. We tried our best to work around our differences, yet there persisted an undercurrent of testy feelings. Other relationships in our sphere of influence conspired to keep matters uncertain.

It was late in the moonride. We were climbing the last long hill before several miles on the pavement. Although Shawn is a very strong rider and overall faster than I am, I can usually out climb him on a long haul. When I brushed against him I wasn’t surprised that he reacted. What totally surprised me was the level of his reaction. Perhaps he thought I was Jim. At any rate he retaliated so hard it knocked me off my bike and into the path of Mike. Shawn also crashed. As I got up the adrenaline took over, I got pinwheel eyeballs, a feeling that I was the Incredible Hulk and proceeded to knock Shawn off the road and down the steep hill. Unfortunately for me, Shawn is stronger than I and streetwise when it comes to fighting. He grabbed me as I pushed him and we both tumbled down the step bank for twenty feet or so. The last thing I heard was Mike shouting, as if at children; "HEY, HEY, HEY!!!"

Reason, logic and good sense went out the window. For the first time in my life since the sixth grade, I found myself in a physical confrontation. It happened instantly, lasted just a few seconds and then ended, sort of. I got back on my bike and with the additional adrenaline pedaled furiously to the pavement. Without stopping I shredded with all my might for the last five miles to the cars. My mind whirred with negative thoughts and feelings that the whole world was against me. My heretofore peaceful nature had been momentarily shattered.

For several days nothing was said, but the situation smoldered uncomfortably in my mind. Finally I was able to go to Shawn’s and apologize, even though I felt he was to blame. But I knew there was plenty of blame to go around. What mattered was that we managed to see that our friendship was greater than whatever elements caused the fracas. It was obvious that many other factors were at play in the incident.

It was a moonride ‘first’; a fight. It was hopefully the last. Somehow moonrides create new and interesting scenarios. This one, though painful, created a platform for a deeper and ultimately greater friendship. We still have our differences, but we now have a better ability to accept each other without the fisticuffs.